An Taisce’s submission against the Bord na Móna application for proposed horticulture facility, Naas, Co. Kildare
An Taisce’s submission on a proposed horticulture facility by Bord na Móna, Naas, Co Kildare, states that the scope of the project includes the sourcing of the horticultural peat from the Bord na Móna owned Allen Bog complex and that the environmental and social impacts in their totality have not been assessed .
There are direct parallels between the High Court ruling on Bord na Mona’s Edenderry Power Plant , in October 2015, regarding An Bord Pleanála's failure to fully assess the environmental impacts of the peat extraction which fuels the plant .
Less than two years later the same issue has arisen regarding the current application. The reports provided by Bord na Móna are failing to adequately address the full direct and indirect impacts of this project.
An Taisce notes that this development will only result in the recruitment of 6 new fulltime positions over the life time of the facility, the benefits of which would be countered by the many negative impacts.
Impacts of the development
The argument made in the application that “the horticultural processing is not the driver behind the peat extraction, rather market demand is the driver” has no basis. Contrary to what is indicated in the application, the proposed harvesting and processing of horticultural peat is not sustainable nor is it regarded as a renewable energy source.
The multiple climate impacts of destroying such an area and degrading the total peat resource of within the site have not been addressed. Based on the figured presented by the applicant this development will result in the removal of 3,625,000 m³ over a 20 year period, about half of the total peat resource available within the bog (6,612,327 m³).
The Flood Risk Assessment (FRA) of the application has failed to adequately assess the implications of degrading such a vast area of peatland, particularly in light of increasing likelihood of future flooding events due to climate change. Unsustainable utilisation of peatlands has undermined vital functions of storing carbon and water, filtering supplies and reducing risk of flooding and potentially millions of Euros worth of damage.
The application has not addressed impacts from the loss and degradation on the ecosystem services, sediment loss, impacts on drinking water quality (through presence of trihalomethanes-THMs), fish reproduction and damage to habitats and species such as the freshwater pearl mussel and salmonids.
Direct habitat impacts on site
It is of particular concern to An Taisce that no reference to Section 40 of the Wildlife Act has been made in relation to the destruction of habitat, particularly in relation Bog Woodland (Betula pubescens), a very distinctive priority habitat, before or during the construction of the proposed development.
“Neither past nor current management of peatlands in Ireland has been sustainable” according to the EPAs BOGLAND report.
The unsuitability of the horticultural peat industry led the EPAs BOGLAND report to recommend that “The Government should engage in a review of the use of peat in the horticultural industry and actively promote the use of peat-free horticultural growing medium in the retail market on the basis that these are sustainable products.”
The need for such a review has been recognised and has been adopted as an action in Ireland’s National Peatland Strategy.
An Taisce believe that such a review is long overdue, which should conclude with great certainty that the industry is virtually unparalleled in its destructive nature and must be wound down as soon as is feasibly possible.
Fintan Kelly, Natural Environment Officer, An Taisce. Tel: +353 1 707 7063
Charles Stanley-Smith, Communications, An Taisce. Tel: +353 87 241 1995
An Taisce The National Trust for Ireland
 Judge White held that there was "functional interdependence" between the power plant and the Bord na Mona bogs in the planning application and that the source of the fuel should have been considered as part of the application for the continued operation of the power plant.
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.