Sinn Féin TD Brian Stanley says that attempts to prevent the movement of harvested peat off three Laois bogs ‘is illogical and will damage the environment’’.
The Laois TD made the comments after he says that Bord na Mona are being threatened with a court injunction by Friend of the Irish Environment.
The group are claiming that Bord na Mona requiring planning permission to move peat from bogs.
Deputy Stanley said: “The threats by an environmental group to challenge Bord na Mona’s right to have peat moved off Cashel, Coolnacart and Cúl na Mona bogs just does not make sense.
“No new peat harvesting is planned, and the peat being moved is stock piled on these 3 bogs, some for up to 5 years.
“Bord na Mona are being threatened with court injunction by Friends of the Irish Environment (FIE) who state they require planning permission to move the stockpiles of peat from the bogs.
“Bord na Mona have entered into a leasing agreement with an international company ICL to reopen the Cul na Mona plant and to use the existing stockpiles of peat over a three year period for horticultural use in Ireland.
“The plan is to transition to use other compostable sustainable raw material for the continuation of production.
“This provides an environmental solution to utilise harvested peat and will reduce the need for peat to be imported long distances from other countries which is causing a massive carbon footprint.”
Deputy Stanley outlined the potential environmental consequences of not removing the peat.
He said: “If the company is prevented from doing so, there are a number of environmental consequences.
“As the peat is in already in stockpiles for over 3 years, the polythene covering will begin to disintegrate and cause environmental pollution.
“The second problem is, that finely milled peat in the huge stockpiles will enter water courses on the bogs and in their vicinity causing water pollution.
“The third environment issue is that Bord na Mona plan to rewet these bogs so as to allow use for carbon sequestration.
“This is essential to reduce the amount of greenhouse emissions going into the atmosphere and causing global warming. This cannot happen if the stockpiles remain in place.
“Those behind the threat of court action need to explain what is to be done with the milled peat and the huge amount of polythene covering it.
“The reality is they are preventing a publicly owned company from providing environmental and climate solutions and are also preventing the creation of a small number of badly needed jobs in the area.
“I have written to the Minister for the Environment Eamon Ryan to have this matter addressed by Government.’’