Bord na Móna (BNM) has moved to ease fears from farm organisations and local politicians over its peatland rehabilitation and restoration plans.
The plans will see the rewetting of peatlands under the auspices of BNM. However, farm organisations and local TDs had been concerned over the potential impact this would have on adjacent farmland, with fears of farmland flooding being raised.
In a new statement, BNM has said that it will “fulfil all of our obligations as a land-owner and a good neighbour through demonstration of exemplar design, stewardship and stakeholder engagement”.
“We are providing this statement to our stakeholders as evidence of our firm intent regarding these matters.”
BNM (which describes itself in the statement as a ‘climate solutions company’ ) said that it will use its land and assets to realise climate objectives, and that it will “continue to manage and maintain its landholding in a proper and responsible way”.
The company said that a hydrological risk assessment will be undertaken for each bog unit which assesses the potential impact of rehabilitation on the local drainage network and the potential risk of flooding of adjoining lands.
BNM said that its intention is that, where any flooding risks are identified, the rehabilitation measures will be adjusted to minimise any such additional risks.
“Like all landowners, Bord na Móna has statutory obligations to manage our land bank into the future, including not to obstruct watercourses which flow through or past our lands and not to cause damage to neighbouring lands.”
The statement noted: “In addition, the vast majority of Bord na Móna’s landbank is the subject of Integrated Pollution Control Licences issued by the EPA [Environmental Protection Agency].
“These licences bring with them additional statutory obligations including the obligation to undertake and complete the decommissioning and rehabilitation of the licensed bogs [and] to submit the rehabilitation plans to the EPA for approval,” it added.
BNM highlighted that it has in place and “intends to maintain” a care and maintenance team that will be responsible for boundary management on the company’s landbank.
The boundary management process will, BNM explained, include an ongoing programme of inspection of boundary drains.
The company says that, where an inspection identifies deterioration in the structural characteristics of a boundary drain, which is affecting water levels and/or drainage on adjoining lands, and which is emanating from Bord na Móna lands, appropriate maintenance measures will be taken “at the next opportunity”.
However, this will be dependent on statutory limitations on certain types of work at certain times of year.
Bord na Móna has set up an email address that landowners can use to raise queries on its management of boundary drains. This can be found on the BNM website.