Bord na Móna to end peat harvesting operations in Ireland from 2024
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Bord na Móna to end peat harvesting operations in Ireland from 2024

BORD na Móna will no longer produce peat briquettes from 2024 as part of a 'Brown to Green' plan, it's been revealed.

Though the company's country-wide peat harvesting activities were formally brought to an end yesterday, some manufacturing of raw peat will continue over the next three years.

The Derrinlough briquette factory in Co. Offaly and Kilberry horticulture facility in Co. Kildare will continue their operations using existing reserves.

Edenderry power station (EPL) in Offaly, on the other hand, will continue with a transition to running residual and sustainable biomass that is already underway.

Bord na Móna is becoming a 'climate solutions company' and is reorienting its operations around renewable energy sources, said Chief Executive Tom Donnellan.

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He said: "The Brown to Green strategy has involved the transformation of Bord na Móna from a traditional peat business into a climate solutions company.

"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.

"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."

After collecting its last full peat harvest in 2018, Bord na Móna petered down to a "partial harvest" in 2019.

The suspension of its peat harvesting activities came in the wake of a High Court decision in 2019 ruling that permission must be granted in order to harvest peat on bogs over 30 hectares.

Donnellan went on to say: "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.

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"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 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."

Bord na Móna has so far pledged €115million investment to its Peatland Restoration Plan.

The project is forecast to reduce emissions, capture over 100m tonnes of carbon indefinitely, and prevent the emission millions more tonnes in the future.

On top of its environmental benefits, it will provide 350 stable jobs to employees previously involved in the company’s peat harvesting activities.

Bord na Móna has been in business for over 80 years and was originally established to harness the country’s peat resources "for the economic benefit of Ireland".

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Peat was a popular and quintessentially Irish source of fuel for electricity over the last century. As a staple product for many towns and villages, it also served as the lifeblood to numerous rural communities.

The company's output is now 70% renewable and they are responsible for powering over 250,000 Irish homes.