The Kilberry Bog Group IPC Licensed area is made up of five bog areas (Allen (Mouds), Gilltown, Kilberry,
Prosperous and Ummeras) most of which were in active milled peat production up to 2019. These bogs primarily supplied horticultural peat with some fuel peat.
The Ummeras site has an area of 45.4 hectares. The site is approx. 2.3km long in a north east to south west direction and approx. 1.1km wide at its widest point in the southern part of the site.
Remnant peat depths are generally over 2.5m; Ummeras is considered a deep peat cutover bog.
Ummeras Bog has a gravity drainage system and a significant part of the site has deeper residual peat that is suited to the development of Sphagnum-rich peatland habitats.
Horticultural peat moss has been harvested from this site although in recent years there was a switch to harvesting of milled fuel peat.
Original wind farm planning application: Ummeras Wind Farm Limited
File number: 2184 on Kildare CoCo planning search
5 No. wind turbines with a tip height of up to 169m and all associated foundations and hardstanding areas; 1 no. on-site electrical substation; 1 no. temporary construction compound; all associated underground electrical and communications cabling connecting the turbines to the proposed on-site electrical substation; provision of new site access tracks and associated drainage; erection of 1 no. permanent meteorological mast of up to 100m in height; and all associated site development works, ancillary works and equipment. Permission is sought for a period of 10 years and an operational life of 30 years from the date of commissioning of the entire wind farm. A concurrent planning application is being submitted to Offaly County Council in relation to the elements of the proposed development that are within County Offaly, which consist of road/junction accommodation works to facilitate the turbine deliveries associated with the proposed wind farm development in Co. Kildare. An Environmental Impact Assessment Report (EIAR) and a Natura Impact Statement (NIS) have been prepared in respect of the proposed development. All within the townlands
Ummeras Beg,Coolatogher, Mullaghroe Lower,Ummeras More and Coolsickin/Quinsborough,County Kildare.
An Bord Pleanala Appeal
Case reference: PL09.309953 Ummeras Beg , Coolatogher Mullaghroe Lower , Ummeras More and Coolsickin/Quinsborough, Co. Kildare. (2184)
‘Ummeras Wind Farm Environmental Impact Assessment Report’ (EIAR) dated January 2021 prepared by Tobin Consulting Engineers
‘Natura Impact Statement’ (NIS) dated January 2021 prepared by Tobin Consulting Engineers
Decision based on Department of Defence (aviation safety), and insufficient environmental information
Bord na Mona Cutaway Bog Decommissioning and Rehabilitation Plan 2020
Ummeras Bog was drained and developed for industrial peat production in 1973 and has been in active
peat production since 1980. Industrial peat production ceased in 2019. The majority of the former peat production footprint is bare peat (~75%) and contains active drainage channels. A small part of the former production area has developed pioneer cutaway habitats. Remnant peat depths are generally over 2.5m; Ummeras is considered a deep peat cutover bog.
Industrial peat production has now completely ceased at Ummeras Bog. The entire bog is not within the
ownership of Bord na Móna and domestic turf cutting is having an impact on the bog, both within and outside the BnM boundary.
Hydrology and Hydrogeology
Ummeras Bog has a gravity drainage regime. The site currently is relatively dry as field drains actively drain water towards the silt ponds and off site. Initial hydrological modelling indicates the bog has topographical basins that are expected to develop a mosaic of wetland habitats when rehabilitation and drain-blocking is carried out (Figure 8.4). Several of these sub-basins in the site (e.g. SE corner) are starting to re-wet naturally as drainage is more impeded.
Ummeras Bog is located in the River Barrow catchment. The Bord na Móna bog is drained through silt ponds into the Figile River (and its tributaries), which itself drains into the River Barrow which is just over 3km south of Ummeras Bog.
The north of the bog drains through a series of silt ponds into agricultural field drains which enter the Slate River c.250m from the boundary of the Bord na Móna bog. The Slate River itself drains into the Figile River a further 1.8km downstream. A silt pond on the western side of Ummeras Bog drains through 1km of agricultural field drains into the Figile River. Another silt pond in the south-west corner of Ummeras Bog drains through agricultural field drains into the Ummeras Stream, c. 700 downstream of the bog and onto the FIgile River a further 300m downstream. A separate silt pond in the south-east corner of Ummeras Bog also drains, through forestry and land drains into the Ummeras Stream, c. 500m downstream of the Bord na Móna boundary. This drain meets the Ummeras Stream c. 1.8km upstream from the Figile River.
Silt ponds are present at the edges of the bog where they drain in to the respective watercourses indicated above.
There are four locations where water flows exit at Ummeras Bog, with single silt ponds at three of these exits and a complex of three silt ponds at the northern exit.
Ummeras bog has 4 treated surface water outlets to the Slate River IE_SE_14S010300 and the Figile River
IE_SE_14F010600. Peat extraction was not identified as a pressure in both rivers in the second cycle of the river basin management plan but the Slate is indicated as being so in the third cycle, currently under preparation.
There are no EPA records of emissions of suspended solids or Ammonia from the bog to downstream watercourses exceeding IPC licence limits.
Rehabilitation of cutaway peatland is closely linked with control of emissions. One of the criteria for successful
rehabilitation is stabilisation through re-vegetation, which will stabilise all substrates and in turn remove the need for further silt control measures. This site is already largely vegetated. Re-wetted peat also aid the primary objective of stabilizing peat, as when peat is re-wetted it is not vulnerable to wind erosion. Re-wetted peat and the development of wet peatland habitats can also act as sinks for silt and mobile peat, and increases additional retention time for solids, and the peatland vegetation can quickly stabilise this material within blocked drains on site (by acting like constructed wetlands).
Water quality of water discharges from restored peatlands normally improves as a result of bog restoration
measures and the restoration of natural peatland processes (Bonn et al., 20017). Bog restoration is also expected to improve water attenuation of the site as the drains are blocked, slowing water movement and water release from the site. Restored peatlands help slow the release of water and aid the natural regulation of floods downstream (Minayeva et al., 2017). The National River Basin Management Plan (NRBMP) 2018-2021 (DHPCLG, 2017) is the key national plan for Ireland to achieve the objectives of the Water Framework Directive (WFD). The NRBMP outlines how key actions such as the Bord na Móna rehabilitation is expected to have a positive impact on water quality and help the NWBMP deliver its objectives in relation to the WFD. Water will still discharge from designated emission points when rehabilitation at Ummeras has been completed. This discharge will have improving water quality and there will be increased wetland attenuation, meaning slower release of water. This is expected to have a positive impact on status of the key water body receptors.
EPA IPC Licence – Ref. P0506-01.
To minimise potential impacts on neighbouring land, some boundary drains around Ummeras Bog will be
left unblocked as blocking boundary drains could affect adjacent land
The Criteria for successful rehabilitation to meet Condition 10 of the IPC Licence have been defined as:
• Rewetting of residual peat in the former area of industrial peat production to slow water movement
across the site to retain silt, accelerating the development of vegetation cover via natural colonisation,
and reducing the area of bare exposed peat (IPC Licence validation) through the creation of further
wetland/peatland habitat. (IPC Licence validation).
• Stabilising or reduce key potential emissions to water (e.g. suspended solids) (IPC Licence validation).
• Reducing pressure from peat production on the local river catchment (WFD) (IPC Licence validation).
• Optimising the extent of suitable hydrological conditions to optimise climate action (Climate action
• Reduction in carbon emissions (Climate action verification).
• Setting the site on a trajectory towards establishment of a mosaic of compatible habitats including wetland, fen, Reed swamp, wet woodland, heath, embryonic Sphagnum-rich peat forming communities, scrub and Birch woodland communities, where conditions are suitable, and eventually towards a reduced Carbon source (Climate action verification). Some areas will naturally be dry and develop Birch woodland and other drier habitats. It will take some time for stable naturally functioning peatland habitats to fully develop at Ummeras Bog.
• Improvement in biodiversity and ecosystem services. (Climate action verification).
The below section is a summary of measures proposed for rehabilitation.
• Planning actions, including developing a detailed site plan and carrying out a hydrology and drainage
• Carry out an ecological appraisal of the potential impacts of the planned rehabilitation.
• Carry out proposed ground measures, which will be a combination of drain blocking, peat field reprofiling,
cell-bunding and fertiliser applications targeting headlands, high fields and other areas (where required).
• Phase 2 measures may include inoculation of Sphagnum in suitable areas.
• Silt ponds will continue to be maintained during rehabilitation and decommissioning.
• Evaluate success of short-term rehabilitation measures outlined above and remediate, where necessary.
• Decommissioning of silt-ponds will be assessed and carried out, where required.
• 2020-2021: Short-term planning actions.
• 2021: Short-term practical actions.
• 2021-2024: Any Long term practical actions; Evaluate success of short-term rehabilitation measures
outlined above and remediate, where necessary.
• 2024: Decommission silt-ponds, if necessary.
Monitoring, after-care and maintenance
The monitoring, after-care and maintenance programme for Ummeras Bog, as required to meet Condition 10 of the IPC Licence, is defined as:
• There will be initial quarterly monitoring assessments of the site to determine the general status of the site, the condition of the silt-ponds, assess the condition of the rehabilitation work, asses the progress of natural colonisation, monitoring of any potential impacts on neighbouring land and general land security. The number of site visits will reduce after 2 years to bi-annually. These site visits will assess the need to additional rehabilitation.
• Water quality monitoring will be established. Monitoring of key water quality parameters will include: Ammonia, Phosphorous, Suspended solids (silt) & pH..
• Where other uses are proposed for the site, these will be assessed by Bord na Móna in consultation with
interested parties. Other after-uses can be proposed for licensed areas and must go through the required
assessment and planning procedures.
Parts of Ummeras Bog (outside the areas owned and under the control of Bord na Móna) are currently used by domestic turf cutters to harvest peat. There has also been private commercial peat extraction adjacent to Ummeras Bog. These areas are ecologically and hydrologically linked to the area owned by Bord na Móna.
Note: there has been no significant encroachment by peat extraction operators onto the BNM lands, but BNM have been notified of the risk
Land Registry view of the bog