The campaign against the re-opening of a sewage processing plant in an area of outstanding natural beauty has been strengthened by a second local council voting unanimously to oppose the proposal.
Coleraine Borough Council has followed Limavady council's lead after it was revealed that the plant was processing 250 tonnes of sewage more than permitted by the Environment Agency.
A large number of complaints about offensive odours coming from the plant were lodged with Limavady Council and 192 letters objecting to the renewal of the license which was revoked in January this year.
A lobby group says the whole community can now breathe easier.
Danny Holmes from Roe Action Against Sludge Plant (RAASP) said: “It has come as a huge relief to us that Coleraine Council has followed Limavady Council in opposing unanimously the application to reopen the sludge processing plant.
“Their decision is very timely in that it comes before the time of year when this foul substance can be spread on the fields.
“Unless someone actually experiences how horrific this stench is there is no way to adequately describe it.
“People have been physically sick, washing cannot be put out on clothes-lines because the smell penetrates the fabric and the smell is so bad tourists are being put off visiting this extremely beautiful part of the Roe Valley.
“There was little point in sign- posting this area as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty if people cannot stop and get out of their car and admire the views.
“This latest vote of opposition means that 37 councillors representing two boroughs have now supported the residents in opposing this plant which we imagine will make the minister's decision easy given that he said this type of unanimous opposition would have a significant bearing on the planning office.
“It's not too often anything gets cross-party support in one council, never mind two, but it goes to show a stench is a stench no matter who is smelling it.”
DUP councillor Alan Robinson said he is hopeful this will mark the death knell for the plant.
A spokesman for Environment minister Alex Attwood said he still intends a site visit, adding: “Clearly the unanimous view of both councils should have a bearing, even a significant one, when considering the application.”