An Bord Pleanála acted against the national interest.

21st November 2013
Press Release

An Bord Pleanála acted against the national interest in granting permission to Edenderry power station to keep burning peat until 2023.

“A sad departure that An Bord Pleanála is now taking decisions contrary to the national interest”, says An Taisce, pointing to the 2011 Government report noting that "the continued carbon emissions from peat-burning are contrary to the national interest".

In the month after the publication of the summary of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s Fifth Assessment Report (October 2013), and while the Warsaw climate negotiations are in progress, An Bord Pleanála has granted permission to continue the highly climate-polluting burning of peat by Bord na Móna at its power station near Edenderry Co Offaly until 2023 (ref No 19.242226).

The members of this State appointed Board have shown a failure in both scientific and legal competence.

The Board had already made a clear statement of its anti-climate policies, and an apparent indifference to the scientific consensus on reducing global greenhouse gas emissions, in permitting large-scale expansions to the Kildare Village and Liffey Valley shopping centres.

The Board’s Edenderry decision fails to quantify or even refer to the emissions of up to 1 million tonnes of CO2 per annum which would be generated by continued peat and biomass burning at the plant.

As no carbon capture was incorporated in the proposal, the statement by the Board that the continued operation of the plant "would not be prejudicial to public health" has no scientific basis. The Board did not address how the greenhouse gas emission generated by the development could be either justified or mitigated, or show evidence of considering alternative investment in energy conservation which would obviate the need for the continued operation of the plant.

The decision was further legally deficient in the performance of the legally required Environmental Impact Assessment on the direct and indirect effects of the project. In granting permission to continue peat-burning, the Board failed entirely to address the legal basis of the extraction source of the peat from surrounding bogs. The Board also failed to address the sourcing, land-use impacts and emissions generated by imported materials, including palm kernels from South East Asia, a contributory factor to a highly-damaging trade across the region.

The role of the EPA deserves equal censure to An Bord Pleanála in this case, since the Board’s decision was, in part, justified on the basis of the continued EPA licensing of the plant and a submission made by the EPA.

The EPA ignored its own the scientific advice, namely its 2011 report on Irish peatlands (“BOGLAND: Sustainable Management of Peatlands in Ireland”). Produced by a research team of over 40 scientists, one of its main conclusions was that peat extraction and burning for electricity is the most "carbon intensive" and climate-polluting source of energy used in Ireland: "the continued carbon emissions from peat burning are contrary to the national interest", it said.

It is a sad departure that An Bord Pleanála is now taking decisions contrary to the national interest.

ENDS

For further information, please call:

James Nix, Policy Director, An Taisce Tel: +353 86 8394129

Charles Stanley-Smith, Communications, An Taisce +353 87 2411995

Email: publicaffairs@antaisce.org

An Taisce The National Trust for Ireland

www.antaisce.ie

Notes:

BOGLAND: Sustainable Management of Peatlands in Ireland-Final Report http://www.epa.ie/pubs/reports/research/land/strive75.html#.Uo4THSeHi3g