Bord na Móna have been licensed by the Environmental Protection Agency since 2000, under Integrated Pollution Control Licences. Bord na Móna is the only peat extraction operator in Ireland who is fully regulated and these licences govern emission to air, water and land, with strict emission limits values and procedures for managing peat extraction. They contain 14 conditions that govern operations, monitoring, reporting, and an Annual Environmental Report which is available each year at www.epa.ie.
The main condition that mandates and regulates what happens to a bog once production ceases is Condition 10 of each licence, which requires the bog to be decommissioned and rehabilitated.
The key water quality success criteria associated with this enhanced rehabilitation are as follows:
- That there is a stabilising or improving concentration of suspended solids and ammonia in discharges from Bord No Móna sites, associated with the measures undertaken to stabilise the peat surface by the blocking of the internal drainage system and the maximised rewetting of the peat surface.
- Receiving water bodies have been classified under the River Basin Management Plan and this classification includes waters that are 'at risk' from peatlands and peat extraction. The success criteria will be that the 'at risk' classification will be removed from these water bodies or if remaining 'at risk', that there is an improving trajectory.
A robust monitoring programme is proposed to track and verify any changes in baseline water quality conditions before and after decommissioning and rehabilitation so that the success or otherwise can be tracked and verified for the Environmental Protection Agency amongst a range of stakeholders.