FIE’s 6 year campaign to bring widespread unauthorised industrial peat extraction on Ireland’s raised bog under the planning laws is being met with an attempt to change the law retrospectively to allow the ongoing environmental destruction.
The President of the High Court, The Hon. Mr. Justice Nicholas Kearns, accepted that changes in the legislation were ‘imminent’ in granting an adjournment to the Judicial Review brought by industrial peat extractors challenging An Bord Pleanala’s 2013 ruling that their operations required planning permission.
‘More than five years of work to enforce the planning laws is being met with an attempt to change the law retrospectively to allow ongoing environmental destruction - including the ongoing destruction of a Bronze Age bog road by Westlands at Mayne in County Westmeath.
‘Is this what Minister Kelly is taking to the Climate Change conference in Paris next week – the news that Ireland is removing peat extraction from planning controls just as Mary Robinson has called for major fossil fuel reserves to be left in the ground?’
FIE’s 28 page appeal against the expansion of the Norwegian Multinational Marine Harvest’s salmon farm in Bantry Bay. It addresses the scientific inaccuracies and omission in the Environmental Impact Statement and demonstrates that by failing to cooperate with the authorities during Departmental annual audits as required by their licence the company is not a ‘fit person’ to hold a further licence.
The appeal concludes: ‘If Ireland is serious about feeding people, farmed salmon are not a sustainable food source as the fish required to feed them could and should go directly to feeding human beings’.
Release ordered of Bantry Bay salmon farm accident report
The Department of Agriculture, Food, and Fisheries’ refusal to release the accident report on the loss of 230,000 salmon in a February 2014 storm has been annulled by the Information Commission, Peter Tyndal.
Minister for Agriculture Simon Coveney’s Department had refused to release the report on the grounds that it was an 'internal communication' and that the public ‘interest would not be served by the disclosure’.
As to the public interest, the Commissioner wrote that ‘it is not enough to interpret AIE by national law alone but must be interpreted in the light of the Directive and indirectly the Aaarhus Convention.’
A previous Report on the loss of 80,000 salmon in Clew Bay in 2010 blamed the disaster on Simon Coveney’s Department’s failure to enforce licensing conditions.
The Report stated ‘if a more rigorous/frequent mooring inspections programme had been in place it is possible – even likely - there would have been earlier detection which would therefore have avoided the November 2010 failures.’
A note by an Assistant Secretary on the Report states: ‘This Report clearly points to the fact that adequate systems in relation to certification, maintenance, inspection, repairs and records need to be in place for this type of installation’.
FIE has extended its campiagn to end the extraction of peat in Ireland to the semi-state Bord na Mona.
Friends of the Irish Environment have written to Offaly County Council stating that ‘unauthorised development has been, is being and may continue to be carried out near Derrinboy, Co. Offaly, comprising the drainage of peatland and extraction of peat without planning permission or environmental impact assessment.’
The 200 hectare site north of Birr was previously an Area of Scientific Interest and a proposed Natural Heritage Area.
Read the letter which lays out the planning and scientific arguments in simple terms.
A study of the annual inspection records of Irish salmon farms by the Department of Agriculture, Food and Fisheries between 2012 and 2014 has shown a complete breakdown of the salmon farm licensing system.
Instructions to operators to repair lights, to ensure that operations are contained within the allocated area, have been ignored f’foir many years’.
Marine Harvest, the largest global producer of farmed salmon, has been overstocking its sites for more than three years and in 2014 refused to give the Department’s Inspectors the stocking figures.
No provisions is being made for ensuring inspections of the critical mooring components that have led to previous disasters in spite of repeated recommendations by the Minister’s officials in accident reports and undertaking given to the European Commission to satisfy a European Court of Justice Judgment against Ireland.