Thursday, 16 September 2021

Questions (54)

Denis Naughten


54. Deputy Denis Naughten asked the Minister for the Environment, Climate and Communications the progress to date of Bord na Móna’s large-scale peatlands restoration project; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [42536/21]

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Written answers (Question to Environment)

The Government is committed to a just transition in the Midlands region and has dedicated significant funding to supporting workers, companies and communities affected by the closure of the peat-fired power stations and the end of peat harvesting by Bord na Móna. The Government approved funding of €108 million for Bord na Móna’s large-scale peatlands restoration project to rehabilitate 33,000 hectares of peatlands under the Enhanced Decommissioning, Rehabilitation and Restoration Scheme. The Scheme has resulted in Bord na Móna reassigning employees from peat harvesting activities into rehabilitation operations, while supporting the natural environment and biodiversity of the peatlands. It is estimated that over the period to 2050, 3.2 million tonnes of CO2 emissions will be avoided (including an amount of future carbon sequestration), in comparison to a standard rehabilitation scenario.

To date across counties Galway, Meath, Kildare, Westmeath, Offaly, Roscommon, Laois and Longford, my Department has been advised that 220 jobs have been assigned. All 19 individual bog plan packages that have been submitted to the NPWS for approval have been approved for works. Of these approved bog plan packages, equipment has been mobilised and rehabilitation measures have commenced on 16 bogs. Monitoring and verification of the impact of the works is also progressing, in particular with relation to  surface water monitoring. Plans for the 2022 programme of works on a further 21 bogs in the Midlands region are being advanced.