The Agency carried out this site visit to review the PCAS works undertaken at Clooniff bog and to review the surface water monitoring data for discharges from the bog to receiving waters.
The rehabilitation works undertaken at Clooniff were reviewed during this site visit. The discharges from the site to the Ballydangan have been noted to be a significant pressure on the waterbody which is under pressure from peat extraction.
The licensee stated that the rehabilitation works, undertaken as part of the PCAS scheme, are nearly completed. The results of the rehabilitation works undertaken to date can be seen in Photographs 1 -5.
Action Required The licensee shall submit, via return on the Eden portal, the monitoring data for discharges from the bog to receiving waterbodies including trends of the results and commentary on these trends by 23/11/2022
Bord na Móna p.l.c. hereby confirms and undertakes that the accounts of Bord na Móna Biomass Limited are and will be for the Financial Year ending on the 30 March 2022 consolidated into the Group Accounts of Bord na Móna p.l.c. and that the fact of Bord na Móna Biomass Limited availing of the concession under Section 357 of the Companies Act 2014 shall be noted on the said accounts
In 2021 there were 160 farmer in the WAN results-based agri-environment payment scheme (RBPS) and this increased to over 800 farmers in the in 2022 covering 65,000ha in 8 SACs.
The target area for 2023 is to survey a maximum of 5 of the 11 project sites within the WAN target area. This accounts for c.63,000 ha of blanket bog and associated habitats. The remaining project sites (c.73,000 ha) will be surveyed over 2024 and 2025
The impact of drainage, burning and grazing will also be reported;
This assessment will also report on the restoration potential of the blanket bog and associated habitats.
EPA site visit was undertaken to investigate the drain network and discharge points in the northeastern area of the Glenlough bog and the potential connection between Bord na Móna’s drains and a drain on a neighbouring peat extraction site.
Connections between Bord na Móna’s drains, and the neighbouring operator’s boundary drain were noted.
In the context of the rehabilitation plan and the need to reduce the loss of water from the bog, the licensee shall state whether and how they will cease discharges from their site to the neighbouring peat extraction site drainage network.
Any ongoing discharges that cannot immediately cease (pending rehabilitation works) shall be monitored in Q4 2022 at their point of entry into the drain to establish compliance with licence limit values and/or trigger levels. Confirmation of such shall be submitted to the EPA upon completion.
A bridge was observed to have been constructed over the boundary drain connecting the BnM site and the neighbouring peat extraction site. Tyre tracks were noted in the peat in the area across the bridge over the boundary drain. The licensee did not explain the function of the bridge.
Neighboring site is a large Klasmann Deilmann peat extraction operation.
Under the AIE Regs to request details of any site inspections and/or enforcement actions in relation to unlicenced peat extraction at Bord na Mona site known as Rochfortbridge
Rochfortbridge operation is above 50Ha and is extracting and stockpiling peat as a part of the quarrying process. Site is owned by BnM and leased to CRH as principal operators. Peat is currently excavated to access sand and gravel sub-layers. Excavated peat is currently being stockpiled onsite. Rochfortbridge is divided into two sub-sites, both above the licenseable 50Ha: Derryarkin 165-hectares and Drumman 71-hectares”
Due to the complex challenges surrounding the peat industry, such as ownership, turbary rights, peat quality, etc., no suitable sub 30-hectare peat sites were located.
The addition of the current climate, which has nurtured untrusting stances by all parties, meant that there was a lack of engagement by peat extraction and domestic horticulture industry stakeholders and therefore it was not possible to obtain figures on the number of current actively harvested peat sites, the quantity of stockpiled materials, and material suitability or site locations.
The industry has not been forthcoming in supplying information relating to the volume of peat currently stockpiled and the location of these stockpiles. The industry has also withheld information on the provenance of peat currently being supplied to stakeholders, the number and scale of peat sites they own, the level of degradation on sites, and any other information requested.
Regarding the professional grade peat bogs, BnM did disclose that one was rehabilitated in 2021, two are in the progress of being rehabilitated in 2022, two are approved for rehabilitation in 2023 and four others are being retained for an alternative use. No information was given regarding the size and location of these sites and no additional information was provided on what “alternative use” meant for the four sites.
Question: how is the Rochfortbridge operation exempt from EPA licence as it’s above 50Ha and is extracting and stockpiling peat as a part of the quarrying process?