Bord na Móna permanently ends all peat harvesting

Bord na Móna has confirmed that it has permanently ended all peat harvesting on its land.

In an update to staff last night (Thursday, January 14) it said that the decision “illustrates the steep fall in the company’s use and dependence on peat during the past two years”.

However, Bord na Móna confirmed to AgriLand this morning that it still has reserves for briquettes up to 2024 and horticultural peat customers will have supply up until the summer at least.

Tom Donnellan, chief executive, said that the Brown to Green strategy has involved the “transformation of Bord na Móna from a traditional peat business into a climate solutions company”.

‘Cease any remaining harvesting preparations’

“The progress made over the past two years means we are now fully focused on renewable energy generation, recycling and the development of other low carbon enterprises,” he said.

“While there are many advantages to the changes we have made, the key benefits include the high value, sustainable employment we are providing and the significant support we are delivering to Ireland’s objective, to become carbon neutral by 2050.

“As we have put our new climate focused business in place, we have also completely stopped a number of high carbon operations and transitioned others to a more sustainable model. 

“During this period, peat harvesting has already been wound down and stopped. The company’s last full peat harvest took place in 2018, followed by a partial harvest in 2019 and a full suspension of harvesting operations last year.

The company has 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.”

The future

By 2030, Bord na Móna plans to have developed wind, solar and other assets capable of supplying in the region of one-third of all Irish homes with renewable energy.

It also plans to be the “leading collection and recycling business in Ireland by 2030, supporting national circular economy objectives”.

Bord na Móna also recently launched a Peatland Restoration Plan. The plan, which involves an investment of €115 million, will harness the natural power of peatlands to secure a store of over 100 million tonnes of carbon in perpetuity, cut emissions and capture millions of tonnes more in the coming years.

Bord na Móna said that the plan also secures employment for 350 employees previously engaged in peat harvesting activities.