Home News Community Cessation of peat harvesting ‘a major loss to the Midlands’

Cessation of peat harvesting ‘a major loss to the Midlands’

Bord na Mona

Bord na Mona have formally ceased all peat harvesting on its lands.

Production had been halted from a High Court decision in 2019 which ruled that all peat harvesting on bogs over 30 hectares required planning permission.

Bord na Mona chief executive Tom Donnellan said that harvesting employees have already migrated into other roles – so this announcement would not impact on staff numbers.

He said: “The company has today decided to make this suspension permanent and cease any remaining harvesting preparations, including planning and substitute consent applications.

“Today marks the formal end to the company’s association with peat harvesting, as we move on to tackle the critical challenges concerning climate change, energy supply, biodiversity and the circular economy.”

Sinn Fein TD Brian Stanley, who is a former Bord na Mona employee, says the decision is a blow to those who fuel their homes using ‘solid fuel and peat’.

He has called on the government to speed up the retrofitting process and also allow domestic turf cutting to continue.

Mr Stanley said: “Today marks the end of an era of over 8 decades of peat extraction and a period when thousands of jobs were created from this in the Midlands.

“As a former employee of the company I know how important those jobs were for many families.

“There now needs to be a scaled up effort by Government and the semi state companies such as Bord na Mona and the ESB in terms of the diversification and moving to a Just Transition.

“Jobs in Retrofitting Homes, Bog Rehabilitation (re wetting bogs) and in Renewal Power Regeneration must be advanced.

“A lot of homes in the Midlands that depend on solid fuel and mainly peat are not retro fitted at the moment and won’t be in the short term.

“It is important therefore that domestic turf cutting for private homes is protected and this is allowed to continue.

“A renewed focus needs to put on finding an alternative purpose for the Bord na Mona plant at Togher Portlaoise.

“This is in an excellent location for a new employment project, and I have been raising this matter on a continuous basis with the Manager of Bord na Mona and will continue to do so.”

SEE ALSO – Laois man to the fore in bringing new cleaning products to Europe in fight against Covid-19