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Peat agency flags up plans for big changes in land use

Words: Roger Milne

Bord na Móna, the part state-owned agency whose central business is harvesting peat for burning in power stations has announced what it calls the biggest change of use involving Irish land in modern history.

Some 125,000 acres of bogland - mainly in the Midlands - currently used to provide energy peat for three power stations will transition to new uses by 2030. 

The agency says the industrial-scale exploitation of Ireland’s bogs will be over within 15 years.

It plans a move into new sustainable businesses located across its bogs and landholding. This will involve the rehabilitation of tens of thousands of acres of Irish bogs, providing new biodiverse habitats that can also support new eco-tourism and community amenity resources.

Controversially, the company says it plans to revamp itself into an alternative energy company to significant increase its investment in wind and solar farms.

The company controls about 200,000 acres of land in total, includes 130 bogs, and plans to develop a wind farm every year until 2022 with business partners.

Last year, its Mountlucas and Bruckana wind farms started operations.

Bord na Mona has stressed there is "potential" for communities to take an equity stake in the projects.