Legal challenge to Bord na Móna use of turf stockpiles

Scores of jobs at remaining Bord na Móna services throughout the midlands might be misplaced if a brand new authorized problem to the corporate’s remaining turf operations is profitable.

The harvesting of peat by Bord na Móna was completely ceased in January 2021 as the corporate moved in the direction of its “brown to green” bathroom rehabilitation and new inexperienced vitality marketing strategy.

The cessation of harvesting additionally adopted a High Court ruling in 2019 that large-scale peat extraction, which requires an environmental affect evaluation (EIA), additionally requires planning permission.

Since then, Bord na Móna has been utilizing stockpiles of peat to provide the skilled horticulture trade, to make briquettes and to gasoline remaining energy stations which proceed to burn peat.

However, solicitors for environmental group Friends of the Irish Environment, which took the 2019 case, have warned Bord na Móna that planning permission, together with a interval of public session, is required earlier than the stockpiles needs to be used.

The solicitors claimed the peat was extracted with out the required planning permission, and with out an EIA or applicable evaluation. “Bord na Móna now seeks to profit from this unauthorised development by using the material unlawfully extracted. The excavation and removal of peat stockpiles amounts to ‘works’ within the Planning and Development Act 2000 that itself require planning permission and may also require EIA and/or appropriate assessment,” the group mentioned.


It mentioned its motion had been prompted by a revelation that Bord na Móna had 950,000 tonnes of peat stockpiled. If the corporate didn’t consent to in search of planning permission, the organisation would search a High Court order compelling motion of stockpiles to cease, a spokesman mentioned.

Bord na Móna has already shut down its two main peat-burning energy crops within the midlands, at Lanesborough, Co Longford, and Shannonbridge, Co Offaly. It has additionally closed a briquette manufacturing unit in Co Tipperary.

The firm nonetheless provides stockpiled peat to the Edenderry energy plant in Co Offaly, the place it’s burned with biomass. Bord na Móna beforehand mentioned it might stop supplying peat to Edenderry in 2023. The plant will then run on biomass alone. The plant employs about 60 individuals and is price €15 million yearly to the midlands economic system.

Bord na Móna’s final remaining peat briquette manufacturing unit, at Derrinlough, Co Offaly, is scheduled to proceed till 2024. It additionally employs about 60 individuals.

Stockpiled peat can also be used on the Bord na Móna plant at Kilberry, Co Kildare, the place fertilisers, limes and vitamins are added to peat to make premium compost.

Further stockpiles are earmarked for a brand new enterprise by worldwide composting firm ICL, based mostly at Cúil na Móna in Co Laois. ICL has leased the premises for an preliminary three years, to supply “growing media” for the skilled horticultural trade. Bord na Móna will provide peat from its stockpiles to be used within the course of.

In an announcement to The Irish Times, Bord na Móna mentioned it had been suggested that the motion of milled peat stockpiles didn’t require planning permission. The firm mentioned it operated underneath Environmental Protection Agency licences that regulate peat stockpile administration, together with climate safety, loading and removing from its lands.

A spokesman for commerce union Siptu mentioned information of the authorized problem to the usage of stockpiles was “the first we have heard of it”. He mentioned such a transfer can be a explanation for concern.

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