An Taisce and Bord na Mona agree before the High Court that Edenderry power plant must regularise its planning status or cease power production by 25 February 2017

18th October 2016
Press Release

In October 2015 An Taisce won its legal action regarding An Bord Pleanála's failure to assess the environmental impacts of the peat extraction which fuels Edenderry power station. Over the past year the High Court has placed a series of stays on the order An Taisce obtained to quash the defective planning permission granted by An Bord Pleanála. These stays were granted to allow Bord na Móna the opportunity to regularise the planning status of Edenderry power station.

In the High Court on Friday 14 October 2016 Bord na Móna and An Taisce agreed to a final stay on the effect of the court's order. This agreement allows Edenderry power station to continue operating until 31 December 2016, at which point in time a decommissioning plan must be put into operation which will see power production cease by 25 February 2017 if An Bord Pleanála has not granted a fresh planning permission in the meantime.

Fintan Kelly, Natural Environment Officer with An Taisce, commented "This brings to an end the long-running uncertainty over the operation of Edenderry power plant following the judgment which An Taisce successfully obtained from the High Court more than a year ago. Our agreement with Bord na Móna will mean that Bord na Móna will have had a full calendar year within which to regularise Edenderry's planning status. More in fact, since Bord na Móna applied for fresh planning permission in June 2015, in anticipation that it might lose this case. If An Bord Pleanála does not take a decision by 25 February 2017 or if it refuses permission for the continued operation of the power plant, then the plant will have to cease power production by 25 February 2017 (or 8 weeks after a refusal of permission, whichever is earlier) further to the agreement between Bord na Móna and An Taisce."

Kelly continued: "An Taisce is satisfied that this case has now finally been brought to a conclusion, given that the plant has been operating for the best part of 10 months[1] under a permission that the High Court has held is in breach of EU and Irish law. An Taisce is not insensitive to the situation of the employees at the power plant. An Taisce understands that Bord na Móna reported a net profit of some €52m for 2014 and €33m for 2015 and that it therefore has the wherewithal to mitigate any adverse effects on its employees which any cessation of power production (whether temporary or permanent) at Edenderry power station may entail. The onus is on Bord na Móna to provide a sustainable long-term strategy for jobs. Those jobs cannot be based on burning huge quantities of environmentally-destructive fossil fuels."

Kelly continued: "An Taisce has previously suggested that if the huge subsidies which are currently directed towards burning peat were instead invested in, for example, creating jobs in the retrofitting industry, 3000+ jobs could be created in the Midlands.[2] The Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment Denis Naughten has recently indicated that the number of homes being retrofitted next year will increase by 5,000 to 30,000.[3] Given that nationally more than a million homes are badly insulated, there is an urgent need for retrofitting to be ramped up further still."

ENDS

Fintan Kelly, Natural Environment Officer, An Taisce. Tel: +353 1 707 7063
Charles Stanley-Smith, Communications, An Taisce Tel: +353 87 241 1995
email: publicaffairs@antaisce.org
An Taisce The National Trust for Ireland
www.antaisce.org

Notes

[1] Since the original planning permission expired on 31 December 2015.
[2] http://www.antaisce.org/articles/money-to-burn-or-3000-sustainable-jobs-for-the-midlands
[3] http://www.independent.ie/business/budget/climate-change-some-30000-houses-to-be-retrofitted-next-year-35121763.html

About An Taisce

An Taisce is a charity that works to preserve and protect Ireland's natural and built heritage. We are an independent charitable voice for the environment and for heritage issues. We are not a government body, semi-state or agency. Founded in 1948, we are one of Ireland’s oldest and largest environmental organisations.