Legal challenge to Offaly power plant

An Taisce was given leave by the High Court for a judicial review

An Bord Pleaná

la’s decision to permit a peat and biomass- fuelled power station in Co Offaly to continue operating for another 10 years is being legally challenged on the basis that the board may have “acted against the national interest”.

An Taisce was given leave by the High Court for a judicial review of the decision to grant planning permission to Edenderry Power Ltd and Bord na Móna to keep burning peat and biomass at the power station in Ballykilleen, Clonbullogue.

The trust's case is that, contrary to EU law, the wider environmental impacts of extracting peat to be burned at the plant were not properly assessed before the appeals board made its decision last November "or at any point previously". It also cited a report from the Environmental Protection Agency in 2011 on the sustainable management of peatlands which found "the continued carbon emissions from peat-burning are contrary to the national interest".

According to An Taisce, 1.2 millon tonnes of peat is burned annually by Edenderry Power, contributing to a total of some 11 million tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions from the degradation and exploitation of peatlands. It said the board's decision "fails to quantify or even refer to the emissions of up to 1 million tonnes of CO2 per annum". There was also "no scientific basis" for its view that this "would not be prejudicial to public health".


An Taisce policy director James Nix said Edenderry was "a clear case where the environmental impact must be assessed before a green light can validly be given".

Frank McDonald

Frank McDonald

Frank McDonald, a contributor to The Irish Times, is the newspaper's former environment editor