Coillte has defended its decision to fell part of one of the last woodlands on the shores of Connemara's Lough Corrib. The forestry company has been licensed to remove 440 trees from Annagh wood, location of a children's cemetery and public right of way. The mature woodland is on a peninsula bounded by two bays on the lake's western banks, several miles from Oughterard, Co Galway.
Locals have expressed concern about the impact on the landscape, following similar tree felling on Inchagoill island south-west of Cong several years ago. They have questioned why no environmental impact assessment (EIA) has been carried out.
The Forest Service has confirmed that Coillte applied for a general felling licence, under the Forestry Act 1946, and it was granted "following consultation with National Parks and Wildlife Service, the county council, the relevant fisheries board and a site inspection by a Forest Service inspector". Coillte also says that every precaution will be taken to ensure that the children's cemetery is not affected by the felling, which will be "115 to 120 meters away at the closest point".
The licensed area comprises 3.8 hectares of conifer trees within 11.5 hectares of woodland, the Forest Service says.
"The management objective is to convert the woodland from a mixed conifer/broadleaf to mixed broadleaf woodland while retaining some Scots Pine that is the only native conifer tree." The area will be "replanted with a mixture of broadleaf trees", it says, and there is no requirement for an EIA. This is only mandatory for deforestation and conversion where the area is greater than 10 hectares of natural woodland or 70 hectares of conifer forest, the Forest Service says. "Should a particular felling operation require an assessment this can be requested, on a discretionary basis, by the Forest Service," it says, but in practice the consultation allows for approval if the service is "happy that no environmental threat is posed".
Brian O'Donnell, who lives at Gortdrishagh close to Annagh wood, said he was shocked at the decision. "For the sake of an estimated â¬40,000 which Coillte will get for these trees, it will remove the last significant wood in Lough Corrib,"he said.
Coillte says that local consultation took place on June 8th, 2006, but Mr O'Donnell said that he had not been contacted, in spite of the fact that he had been in touch with the company beforehand.
Â© 2007 The Irish Times 7.10.07
2.3 Agency questions State's forestry policy
The effectiveness of the State's tree-planting schemes to combat greenhouse gas emissions has been questioned by the European Environment Agency (EEA). According to the National Council for Forest Research and Development, Irish forests have a key role in reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
The council is supported by the Department of Finance which said Irish forestry is worth more in reducing greenhouse gas emissions than it is for the timber value. But the EEA has claimed that up to 84 per cent of Irish forests between 1990 and 2000 were developed on peatland - a feature which releases substantial carbon and greenhouse gases which had already been sequestered in the peat.
The council, which was yesterday holding a one-day conference in Co Wicklow on the impact of forestry on climate change, acknowledged that forests on peatland released previously sequestered carbon. But chief executive Dr Eugene Hendrick rejected the EEA figures, insisting that just 28 to 29 per cent of Irish forestry in the years in question had been developed on peatland and the amount of forestry being established on peatland was being reduced.
Asked if he could explain the wide difference in assessments of the amount of peatland-based forestry, Dr Hendrick said the European figures were incorrect. Irish figures were superior because they were "national figures compiled on the ground" with the aid of site visits. EEA figures were compiled at a distance, he said.
But Jean Louise Weber, of the Spatial Analysis Group in the EEA, said the EEA figures were checked twice for his report, Revision of the Assessment of Forest Creation and Afforestation in Ireland. Mr Weber said afforestation on peat bogs ranged up to 84 per cent of the total afforestation for the period 1990-2000.
Â© Irish Times 20.09.07
The "Phoenix Magazine" is always provocative and usually first with the new shit before the fan is switched on.This delightful "stealth " scam to prepare bogland for building is a stroke worthy of Bertie himself.January edition 2005;
"Matt Dempsey, the editor and ceo of the Irish Farmers Journal (IFJ), who is a real mover and shaker in the agricultural establishment, has been having planning problems of late in relation to lands adjoining his magnificent country pile at Griffinrath in Celbridge, Co Kildare. Last year An Taisce complained to Kildare County Council, claiming that a 20-acre site owned by the IFJ editor was being used as a wastedisposal facility. However, Dempsey, who is also chairman of the RDS management committee and is a director of Kildare Hunt Club Ltd, gave short shrift to all of these allegations. An Taisce claimed that construction, landfill and hazardous waste was being the past four years for which proper planning permission and a waste licence were required. They also claimed that Dempsey has farmed out the alleged landfill operation to a contractor. An Taisce referred the matter to Kildare County Council under Section 5 of the Planning and Development Act and requested that the !
local authority should determine whether the filling on site constitutes development or is an exempt development. The County Council decided last May that it was not an exempt development and that it required planning permission. Dempsey appealed this decision to An Bord Pleanla, denying all of An Taisces allegations. The RDS chairman claimed in his appeal that bona fide land reclamation works were being carried out on the lands and, while he accepted that builders waste, rubbish and debris had been deposited on the lands, he said that the material was for the purpose of land reclamation. He also claimed that at no stage has any landfill been undertaken to warrant it being a commercial activity. He obtained a licence for the purpose of land reclamation from Kildare County Council and he claimed that the filling on the site was in accordance with the permit. that all of this infilling was for the purpose of transforming boggy lands into good arable land, interest!
ingly Kildare County Councils executive planners report concluded that;
it is doubtful that agricultural or forestry reclamation is the primary object in this case. It also noted that the developer does not appear to be the person dumping the waste and there is no evidence that those dumping the waste are land reclamation contractors.
An Bord Pleanla ruled before Christmas that the deposition of material on the land constitutes a material change of use by reason of the materials deposited and that therefore it was not an exempted development. Matt Dempsey is not giving up. The IFJ editor told Goldhawk that he intended to submit a formal planning application to Kildare County Council for land reclamation in the coming weeks."
Building on more bogs in Laois: Fianna Fail & Fine Gael, lining one anothers pockets agains the will of the people who elected them.Can Gormley reign in the greed of councillors and their farming friends and developer cronies.?
INDEPENDENT councillor Michael Moloney has this week (January 2008)pointed to the extensive flooding of areas in Portarlington last week as vindication for his position that councillors who voted to rezone flood plains in the town were reckless.
He accused other councillors from all parties in Laois of engaging in reckless behaviour when they voted last October to allow developments on some of the town's flood plains.
He said they had disregarded concerns from the OPW and from the Minister for the Environment John Gormley about voting to allow developments on these areas.
He went as far as saying the other councillors who voted in favour of the move were out of touch with the feeling of local people on the issue.
"In the context of the extensive flooding of the flood plains in Portarlington last week I have to insist that my comments last week regarding Minister Gormley's move to curb councillors' powers in zoning lands must now be apparent to anyone that might have been skeptical of my position.
"Flood plains are a natural holding area in time of extensive rainfall that holds back waters from destroying homes and businesses. When councillors ignore professional guidance from the highest levels and zone such areas they allow themselves to be viewed in a very poor, if not cynical light.
"When one looks at the context in which the zoning of these flood plains last October by Laois councillors took place, one can see that in a very short period of time the population of Portarlington has exploded from 4,000 to over 6,000 and that this will rise towards 7,000 by the time all the developments now being built are complete. This being the case no excuse can be made for such actions by my fellow councillors. With 23 councillors in the council chamber on the day not one councillor seconded my objection to zone the flood plains.
"Dealing with such disregard to proper planning Minister Gormley is left with little option but to impose new guidelines on councillors and in the process curtail our remit in land zonings."
Laoise Nationalist 18.01.08
BnM gets $150m loan to expand waste unit.
BORD na Mona has raised $150m in the United States to cover the cost of a major investment programme which will expand its interests in the energy and waste management industries.
The decision to go to the US for the funding was based on the reaction it received from institutions during an investment roadshow undertaken earlier this year.
Bord na Mona's director of finance Michael Barry said that while there had been a positive reaction in the UK, the US offered better value.
The funds were immediately swapped from dollars into117m worth of fixed rate euro loans with an interest rate of 4.4pc.,a lot more than joe Nobody gets for his savings in the local bank or credit union.!
Mr Barry said the funding is key to the implementation of Bord na Mona's Government approved strategy for future development, through business expansion and diversification. "It enables the company to fund the first stage of its planned investment in renewable energy, power generation and waste management projects," he said. Mr Barry said the issue had been heavily oversubscribed, a fact which will allow the company to return for further funding when needed - probably in a little over two years if all goes well.
With regard to its investment plans, the Bord has already secured planning permission for a 320MW wind station in Mayo as well as planning for a new land fill waste management site at Drehid in Co Kildare.
Apart .from landfill, Bord na Mona will engage in waste collection, recovery and recycling at the site.
The decision to seek private funding is a clear signal that the privatisation of the company is not on the agenda, at least in the short term. It is also a sign of the commercial health of the business that the issue was snapped up so quickly, with a clear appetite for more from the financial institutions involved, drawn mainly from the insurance and pensions sectors.
The loan notes carry no state guarantee,but the fact that a semi state company is borrowing is security enough in itself.
The funding has three separate maturity dates, comprised of seven, 10 and 12 year Senior Notes, meaning the notes are repayable in full in 2013, 2016 and 2018.