Bord na Móna welcomes the content and policies outlined in Chapter 2 which sets out Kilkenny County Councils commitment with respect to Climate Change, Decarbonisation and transitioning to a low carbon and climate resilient County.
We welcome the Councils strategic objectives with respect to climate change, in particular:
2A: To support and encourage sustainable compact growth and settlement patterns, integrate land use and transportation, and maximise opportunities through development form, layout and design to secure climate resilience and reduce carbon emissions.
2B: To support the implementation of the National Climate Action Plan and the National Climate Action Charter for Local Authorities, and to facilitate measures which seek to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases by embedding appropriate policies within the Development Plan.
2C: To promote, support and direct effective climate action policies and objectives that seek to improve climate outcomes across the settlement areas and communities of County Kilkenny helping to successfully contribute and deliver on the obligations of the State to transition to low carbon and climate resilient society.
Bord na Móna has supported the above objectives in relation to climate change with its lands in Co. Kilkenny (Templetouhy, Derryville and Baunmore Bogs).
- Bruckana Windfarm was developed on cutaway at Templetouhy, which is partially in Co. Kilkenny. This is an example of sustainable land-use that supports the National Climate Action Plan. Bruckana Windfarm is an excellent example of how renewable energy infrastructure can be integrated into a cutaway landscape. While renewable energy infrastructure does require drainage, re-wetting is still feasible and there are several examples of re-wetted areas adjacent to renewable energy infrastructure at Bruckana.
- Bord na Móna carried out a rehabilitation programme across its Littleton properties in 2018-2020. Cutaway in Co. Kilkenny including at Templetouhy, Derryville and Baunmore bogs has been re-wetted and rehabilitated. These sites are now revegetating and in time will develop naturally. Templetouhy is an excellent example of the new cutaway peatlands landscape that will develop in the future, which will be a mosaic of bog woodland, re-wetted peatland habitats and renewable energy infrastructure. Re-wetting residual peat reduces carbon emissions from these areas. These bogs are not expected to develop as carbon sinks in the short-term and will develop as reduced carbon sources. There are indications that carbon sinks could develop at Templetouhy (development of small amounts of Sphagnum-rich vegetation).
- Bord na Móna are working with Coillte on a native woodland project that could be applied to those areas of cutaway that cannot be re-wetted, or where it is not appropriate to re-wet (marginal lands and headlands). The key objective of this project is to establish and accelerate the development of native woodland that would have climate action benefits. The Bord na Móna/Coillte Native Woodland Project is currently carrying out native woodland establishment trials in Baunmore bog and it is planned to expand the native woodland footprint at this site in the future.
Many of the strategic objectives are very closely aligned with the objectives of the aforementioned ‘Strategic Framework for the Future Use of Peatlands’ document and previous commitments made by Bord na Mona in the National Peatlands Strategy and other national policy and strategy documents, and our ongoing transition to diversify into new sustainable business areas in order to strengthen the company and support jobs in the midlands into the future.
Central to this sustainable transition is the use of our land bank for a range of beneficial commercial, environmental and social uses such as renewable energy, industrial uses (including but not limited to data centres), biomass cultivation, aquaculture, herb cultivation, ecosystem services and biodiversity as well as recreation and tourism. In many cases these uses can be co-located thereby providing enhanced benefits to the areas in which such developments are located.