Bord na Mona headquarters in Newbridge. Photo: Tony Keane
An Taisce has claimed Bord na Móna’s plans for a horticultural facility at Blacktrench have not been properly environmentally assessed.
The environmental body has lodged a submission on the planning file, which is currently before Kildare County Council.
In a joint venture with Dutch company, Legro, Bord na Mona plans to make soil casings for mushroom cultivation and export them to the UK and mainland Europe on the 2.7 hectare site adjoining the existing peat loading facility.
In December, Bord na Móna sought permission for a 3,380m2 horticulture facility, 5,000m2 outdoor storage area and administration office at Lattensbog or Blacktrench, Caragh.
The Protect Caragh Group, which is made up of 58 residents living on the Thomastown to Caragh road, has also expressed fears about the increase in HGV traffic.
Adding its voice of concern, the Irish Peatland Conservation Council (IPPC) has called on the council to axe the plans due to peat extraction element of the project.
A decision is due tomorrow, Wednesday February 22.
An Taisce believes the environmental and social impacts of sourcing horticultural peat from the Bord na Móna owned Allen Bog complex have not been assessed adequately.
“There are direct parallels between the High Court ruling on Bord na Mona’s Edenderry Power Plant, in October 2015, regarding An Bord Pleanála's failure to fully assess the environmental impacts of the peat extraction which fuels the plant,” it said.
“Less than two years later the same issue has arisen regarding the current application. The reports provided by Bord na Móna are failing to adequately address the full direct and indirect impacts of this project.”
An Taisce pointed out the development would only create six new full time jobs.
“The argument made in the application that “the horticultural processing is not the driver behind the peat extraction, rather market demand is the driver” has no basis. Contrary to what is indicated in the application, the proposed harvesting and processing of horticultural peat is not sustainable nor is it regarded as a renewable energy source,” it said.
In a 186 page technical report, filed by Bord na Mona as part of the planning permission, it said the development was in line with its Sustainability 2030 report.