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Concern rasied over dust pollution from demolition waste at Cork site

Environment Green News Ireland

'August 15th, 2019 Concerns have been raised about dustpollution arising from a vast rubble mound left after the demolition of aformer tax office in the heart of Cork City last summer.The former Revenue Commissioners office on Sullivan’s Quay was demolished by BAM Property Ltd last summer to make way for a 220-bed hotel and office development.The building housed an art studio in recent years until its demolition after which a large rubble pile was left surpassing the height of the fences around the site.Cork residents living or working on Drinan Street that is adjacent to the site have accused BAM Ireland of jeopardising their health by ignoring their wishes to remove the debris.Earlier this year, the delay inremoving the pile of debris drew strong criticism fromthe then-Lord Mayor Mick Finn who called on the company to finish up itsoperation.In May, BAM announced that works to remove the debris was underway.However, several locals have told The Green News that workers only flattened the rubble mound so that it would be below the height of the fence surrounding the site.Not ideal for locals Jim O’Sullivan, owner of River’sEdge Fitness Centre that is located beside the BAM site, said that this is not an“ideal” solution for residents and businesses on the street.Mr O’Sullivan told The Green News that the rubble mound causes dust pollution during windy days, calling on BAM to clean up or cover the debris. “They have just levelled the dirt so that people can’t see it.But, essentially, it’s there.” Mr O’Sullivan added that the demolition process damaged the front door to his fitness centre but that attempts to communicate with BAM had invariably failed. “They just don’t care, especiallyabout the people on this street, I think a little bit of public relation goes along way, but they just ignore us,” he said.Forough Shariati, another resident of Drinan Street, said that she is loath to open her windows during windy days so as “not to let the dust inside”. Cork environmental activist Noreen Murphy also warned about the hazardous nature of the rubble mound for human health and the environment. “Given the age of the [previous] building, we can safely assume that the rubble contains lead paint, fibreboard, particles, glue as well as cement,” she said. “Failure by the Council to instruct the owners of the site to remove the rubble points once again to Cork City Council’s disregard for public health and the environment,” she continued. “[The Council] needs to stop brushing these issues under the carpet.” Former revenue office on Sullivan’s Quay Photo: Shamim Malekmian EPA Guidelines Green Party Councillor Lorna Bogue told The Green News that she has been contacted the relevant authorities since last summer to no avail. “I contacted the Health and Safety Authority about the dust pile last August, I have sent an email to follow up with them and will follow up within the Council next week,” she said.BAM Ireland did not respond to requests for comment as to why the material has yet to be removed from the site.A document submitted to the Council in April on behalf of BAM by the consultancy firm HW Planning states that BAM intends to resue the crushed concrete as engineered fill on other construction sites.Crushed concrete is classified as a waste product and as such its reuse as engineered fill is prohibited at present.BAM argues that it would be more sustainable to re-use the material at other sites in Cork as the nearest licensed facility to process the waste material is in Waterford.Removing the material andtransporting it to Waterford may violate “the principles of sustainabledevelopment from a transport and waste management perspective”, the documentstates.The document states that this is a “complex issue facing the entire construction industry” and that BAM was awaiting the release of new guidelines from the EPA on crushed concrete by-products.The Construction Industry Federation (CIF) has recently called on the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to reclassify crushed concrete for recycling and reuse.An updated Guidance on Soil and Stone By-products was released in June and is used by the EPA as a guide in determining if a soil and stone material can be considered a by-product on a case-by-case basis.It does not mention or list crush concrete as a possible by-product.Earlier this summer, the EPA decided in a specific case brought by Integrated Materials Solutions Limited Partnership (IMS) that demolition concrete from the site in question will cease to be a waste material if the company complies with strict end-of-waste criteria set out by the watchdog.This ruling is valid solely for this specific project.The document send on BAM’s behalf to the Council states that the company is waiting for the EPA to issue a national draft guidance document on crushed concrete by-products.Pending further developments, the document states that BAM would undertake levelling of the crushed concrete fill, which took place in May.About the Author Shamim Malekmian Shamim is a Senior Reporter at The Green News and a contributing writer to the Irish Examiner, Cork Evening Echo and the Dublin Inquirer. . The post Concern rasied over dust pollution from demolition waste at Cork site appeared first on Green News Ireland .'

An Taisce confirms objection to ‘revised licence’ for Lough Ree power station

Environment Agriland.ie

Plans by ESB to re-open the Lough Ree power station in Lanesboro have been curbed this week after An Taisce indicated its intention to object to the licence determination that was issued in recent days by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in
'Plans by ESB to re-open the Lough Ree power station in Lanesboro have been curbed this week after An Taisce indicated its intention to object to the licence determination that was issued in recent days by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in respect of the plant.Close to 150  Bord na Móna jobs came under threat after the power station in Lanesboro, Co.Longford was closed on Friday, July 5, by ESB when the EPA initiated legal proceedings because it deemed the temperature of cooling water – being discharged from the facility into the River Shannon – to be too high.In the meantime, Bord na Móna announced that as a direct result of the shutdown it was being forced to lay off a large number of workers, including 78 seasonal workers and 72 permanent staff.Towards the end of July over 300 people participated in a protest over the job losses.The event saw the workers, their families and members of the south Longford community march through the main street of Lanesboro, where Bord na Móna has been a fixture for over 60 years.Also Read: EPA proposes guidelines that may lift suspension on Lough Ree Power Station Last week the EPA indicated that a licence would be revised if there were no objections lodged in respect of the matter.In a statement to AgriLand , Ian Lumley of An Taisce said the existing permission for peat burning expires in December 2020.The EPA Licence determination does not address the lack of environmental impact assessment for the continuing extraction of peat.He continued: “There are serious issues also raised by the warm water discharge from the plant , particularly at a period when river flow levels are low, as occurred with the early summer 2018 drought.” Meanwhile, ESB said it would “reflect” on the developments.ESB notes the decision by the EPA with regard to Lough Ree power station.A spokesperson for the ESB added: “We will now take time to reflect on the decision and its associated conditions; we will make no further comment on the matter at this time.” . The post An Taisce confirms objection to ‘revised licence’ for Lough Ree power station appeared first on Agriland.ie .'

EPA proposes guidelines that may lift suspension on Lough Ree Power Station

Environment Agriland.ie

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has proposed guidelines on a revised licence to the ESB which, if approved, could reopen operations at its peat-fired Lough Ree power plant in Lanesborough, Co.Longford.
'The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has proposed guidelines on a revised licence to the ESB which, if approved, could reopen operations at its peat-fired Lough Ree power plant in Lanesborough, Co.Longford.The EPA’s “proposed determination” – which is currently being considered by the ESB – contains 112 individual conditions relating to the environmental management, operation, control and monitoring of the plant.Some of the proposed conditions include: controls on thermal discharge of cooling waters to the River Shannon, which the EPA states will “minimise impact on fish migration”; controls on emissions to air; and specific requirements on combustion efficiency in accordance with EU standards.The proposal also provides for an increase in the tonnage of ash that can be accepted at the plant’s ash disposal facility from 550,000t to 680,000t of peat ash.Under its licence review, the ESB sought to increase the tonnage of ash permitted at its disposal facility – located 10km away at Derraghan, Co.Longford.The proposed determination has been sent to ESB and all third parties that made a submission on the application; a 28-day period will now commence whereby individuals can submit an objection and request an oral hearing.Also Read: Up to 200 Bord na Móna workers to be laid off because of Lanesboro plant shutdown As this is the first step in a statutory licensing process, the EPA has stated that all potential objections and submissions will be carefully considered before the EPA board makes a final decision.In the event that no objection is taken against the proposed decision, the EPA has stated that a decision can then be made to grant the licence “as soon as possible” thereafter.In a statement, the ESB said it noted the decision by the EPA and will now “take time to reflect on the decision and its associated conditions” – the company said it will not make any further comment at this time.The move follows weeks of uncertainty for Bord na Móna (BNM) workers that were temporarily laid off due to the suspension of operations at the Lough Ree plant, following legal proceedings taken by the EPA relating to hot water discharges from the plant being released into the River Shannon.The EPA said the plant was in breach of its environmental licence conditions – these conditions were changed at EU level in 2014.Also Read: Hundreds march in opposition to Bord na Móna job losses With no requirement to supply peat to the plant, BNM initially moved to temporarily lay off 150 temporary and permanent employees that work in peat supply, bog operations and maintenance at its nearby Mount Dillon facility which supplies peat to the electricity plant in Lanesborough.However, after a ferocious backlash from workers and unions, and meetings with BNM, it was agreed that BNM would reverse plans to lay off more than 50 permanent staff – as alternative arrangements were found for this cohort – yet management said it would go ahead with plans to temporarily lay off the remaining 18 permanent staff members.In the heat of the dispute, trade union SIPTU accused Bord na Móna of wanting to send out a stark message to its employees that it can be “ruthless” when it comes to laying off workers at short notice, as it moves forward with plans to cease peat harvesting by 2025 as part of its decarbonisation agenda.Last month, hundreds of BNM workers, their families, local businesses and local politicians took to the streets of Lanesborough in protest against the temporary suspension of the plant – which has lead to knock-on economic consequences for businesses in the catchment area.Meanwhile, the possible reopening of the Lough Ree plant coincides with An Bord Pleanála’s decision a couple of weeks ago to reject planning permission to redevelop an ESB power plant in Shannonbridge, Co.Offaly.The plant looked for permission to seek an extension to its peat burning operations from 2020 to 2027 while it moved to transition to co-firing with biomass (woodchip) during this period.An Bord Pleanala also raised concerns over the sustainability of depending on the importation of biomass to co-fire at the power plant over the coming years as currently there is no long-term domestic supply of biomass available in Ireland. . The post EPA proposes guidelines that may lift suspension on Lough Ree Power Station appeared first on Agriland.ie .'

Not reseeding…what about over-sowing clover?

Environment Agriland.ie

As the pressure on farmers to do their bit for the environment grows, clover is becoming more of an attractive option in trying to reduce the amount of chemical fertiliser applied on farms.
'As the pressure on farmers to do their bit for the environment grows, clover is becoming more of an attractive option in trying to reduce the amount of chemical fertiliser applied on farms.Clover not only reduces the amount of chemical fertiliser needed, but a study in Clonakilty – over the course of four years – showed a grass-clover sward which delivered an additional 1.2t DM/ha, 597kg/cow and 48kg of MS/cow compared to a grass-only sward.For this reason, clover should not be overlooked on farms, particularly when carrying out reseeding as this is the best time to introduce it to a paddock.Over-sowing Another option to consider is over-sowing or broadcasting it onto an existing pasture.This is a cheaper method which is not always successful, but the management post-sowing is the key to success.This can be carried out on paddocks which do not contain any clover or where it has not persisted in the sward.For best results, the optimum level of clover in a sward is 20-25%. If thinking of over-sowing, do so after cutting a paddock for silage; however, it must be cut very low to slow down regrowths.When sowing, it is advised to sow at a rate of 2kg/ac mixed with 0-7-30, 0-10-20 or another suitable compound fertiliser.After sowing, watery slurry should be applied.Finally, the paddock should be grazed frequently, at a cover of less than 1,000kg of DM/ha and grazed tightly thereafter to allow light to reach the plant. . The post Not reseeding…what about over-sowing clover? appeared first on Agriland.ie .'

Higher-rated cows ‘producing the goods’ under BEEP

Environment Agriland.ie

Initial analysis from the recently introduced Beef Environmental Efficiency Pilot (BEEP) scheme shows that higher rated cows are producing the goods.
'Initial analysis from the recently introduced Beef Environmental Efficiency Pilot (BEEP) scheme shows that higher rated cows are producing the goods.Speaking on the latest episode of FarmLand , Chris Daly, of the Irish Cattle Breeding Federation (ICBF), outlined that with weights for an estimated 70,000 cow/calf pairs now recorded early indications look “very promising”. “About 70,000 cow/calf pairs have been weighed and that is increasing weekly – we are coming into peak season now with a lot of spring cows and calves being weighed. “The early picture is very, very positive, so we’ve done some initial analysis on the first 40,000 cow/calf weights that came in. “What it’s showing – bearing in mind that this is before any of the weight data has flown into the indexes of these cows – is that the 5-star cows are coming in on an average 27kg lighter, but they are producing a calf, at an adjusted 200 day weight, of 17kg heavier,” said Daly.This is resulting in a 5% higher cow/calf weaning percentage than that of 1-star cows, Daly explained. “There is a new concept for a lot of suckler farmers out there which is a cow/calf weaning percentage – that means you get the calf’s weight at 200 days and you express that as a percentage of the cow’s mature weight. “These 5-star cows have a 5% higher cow/calf weaning percentage, which is hugely significant because what the index is trying to do is breed a more efficient animal and the target of the sector in general is that per kilogram of beef produced, that we try to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions as much as possible,” he said.Below is the performance of cows based on BEEP data.There are approx. 29,000 cow/calf pairs included in the analysis where calves were weighed between 150-300 days.Cow/calf weaning percentage is the calf’s 200-day weight as a percentage of the cow’s weight.Source: ICBF Launched by the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Michael Creed, late last January, a fund of €20 million has been made available for the pilot, which aims to increase the economic and environmental efficiency of Ireland’s suckler herd.All suckler calves born from July 1, 2018, through to June 30 2019, and their dams, are eligible for the scheme which aims to get approximately 500,000 cow/calf pairs weighed over a 12-month period – an estimated 20,000 farmers had applied for the scheme by its closing date at the end of last February.All cows and calves must be weighed on-farm – before they are weaned and with cows and calves being weighed on the same day – using a weighing scales and an indicator.Within seven days of the weighing, the weights must be submitted to the ICBF database within the set time-frame of March 1, 2019, to November 1, 2019.Once these terms and conditions have been adhered to, all participants will receive a payment of €40/calf in December 2019.Daly focused in on the environmental benefits of breeding more efficient cows. “By weighing animals you’re able to identify the most efficient ones. “We currently have just under one million suckler cows in the country.It’s hard to see where those numbers are going, but what we need to ensure is that for every suckler cow she is producing a calf – so that is part of BDGP (Beef Data Genomics Programme) and producing a more fertile animal and identifying them through €uro-Star Indexes. “But, we also need to be collecting weight data to identify cows that are moderately-sized.We don’t want tiny little cows or we don’t want very large cows; [we want] a moderately sized cow that is giving a good weanling so that she – from a farmer’s point of view – is financially paying her way, but also – from an environmental point of view – she is justifying her own existence on farm as well,” he said.Currently, Ireland’s average calves/cow/year figure stands at approximately 0.82. “This means there is about one in five suckler cows not producing a calf in a year and that is a big blot in the copybook from the point of view of that one cow. “She still has to be fed, she is still producing methane; but she is not producing a calf for it – so that is quite significant.So, we need to increase the efficiencies in the herd and weighing animals is a huge step forward in doing that,” he said.Lighter cows also require much less maintenance, while heavier calves drive output in terms of more liveweight to sell and/or achieving required live weights for slaughter at an earlier age.In terms of the actual weighing of the animals, Daly says feedback has been very satisfactory there too. “We have had very few farmers come to us to say weighing calves is a very onerous task – the payment per cow/calf pair is €40 – so it’s quite a significant payment when you consider the workload involved in weighing a cow and calf – provided obviously that facilitates are pretty good. “Every farmer is required to have adequate facilities to carry out TB testing using a cattle crush; it’s the same facilities being used for weighing so very few farmers have come to us and said it’s a difficult thing to do. “If you think about weighing cows and calves – and particular cows and you mentioned heavy cows – throughout a cow’s lifetime they go through a crush to be TB tested, if they are sick and need to be dosed or examined by a vet, or maybe they are being AI’ed – they are all quite invasive procedures. “But, if you think about weighing, all the animal is doing is walking through the crush onto a platform and out again so, of all the reasons that a cow would go through a crush, it’s probably the most stress free. “Now, I completely accept that it’s another task for the farmer to do in the year but that’s why the department has put in place the €40 payment to weigh the cow and calf to offset any increased labour or challenges that farmers might have,” said Daly.The average suckler herd size involved in the BEEP scheme is approximately 20 cows, meaning the average payment received is €800/herd. “It’s not hugely significant; but at the same time it is a relatively significant payment for not a huge amount of work when you think about it at the end of the day. “It’s by no means going to solve any huge financial challenges in the sector, but from the department’s point of view, for the amount of work that is involved in getting hugely significant data into the ICBF database, to try to make the national herd more efficient, it is a significant payment in that regard,” concluded Daly.Watch the latest episode of FarmLand in full via the video below: . The post Higher-rated cows ‘producing the goods’ under BEEP appeared first on Agriland.ie .'

Theresa Villiers appointed as new Defra secretary

Environment Agriland.ie

The Rt.Hon.Theresa Villiers has been appointed Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) as predecessor Michael Gove will instead to take charge of the Cabinet.
'The Rt.Hon.Theresa Villiers has been appointed Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) as predecessor Michael Gove will instead to take charge of the Cabinet.As Secretary of State, Villiers will have overall responsibility for the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra). Her specific responsibilities include d epartmental administration, handling e mergencies, i nternational relations, and o versight of Brexit work and post-EU policy programme.Meanwhile, Michael Gove will now be responsible for overseeing the workings of the Cabinet – including its preparations for a ‘No-deal’ Brexit – in his new role as the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster.Track record Theresa Villiers served as Secretary of State for Northern Ireland from September 2012 until July 2016.Previously she served as Minister of State for Transport from May 2010 until September 2012.Her other political career highlights include: MP for Chipping Barnet from 2005; MEP for London from 1999-2005; Shadow Chief Secretary to the Treasury from 2005-2007; Shadow Secretary of State for Transport from 2007-2010.Theresa was born in 1968 and grew up in St John’s Wood, north London.She lives in Arkley in Barnet.She was educated at Francis Holland School in London before studying law at the University of Bristol and Jesus College, Oxford.After university, Theresa worked as a barrister and as a lecturer in law at Kings College, London.Villiers was elected the Conservative MP for Chipping Barnet in 2005. . The post Theresa Villiers appointed as new Defra secretary appeared first on Agriland.ie .'

Environment in North Under Attack

Environment REBEL

Politics is supposed to be at an impasse in the North.
'Politics is supposed to be at an impasse in the North.But as Michael Collins shows, this has not stopped a number of environmentally destructive measures creeping into society here.Despite the growing consensus of the need to tackle global warming, a number of sinister proposals have surfaced in the North over recent years and months—including plans for mining, the extraction of petroleum and possible fracking—which could have devastating consequences for our environment.Not that this should come as much of a surprise, given Stormont’s record when it comes to our climate.RHI, after all, was supposedly intended to increase the usage of renewables; something it certainly did, as thousands of boilers needlessly burnt energy in a mad dash for profit, as at least £500 million of public monies went up in smoke.Which says nothing of the more recent scandal, dubbed “RHI on steroids”; a network of anaerobic digesters—often built without serious environmental checks and regulations—that accrue lucrative subsidies that could collectively net investors up to a billion pounds, in a dubious system of turning farm waste into energy, running the risk of serious environmental damage through high levels of ammonia and other harmful pollutants in farm waste.As the Friends of the Earth director James Orr bluntly put it ; “I believe this scandal will dwarf RHI in terms of the sums squandered and the environmental damage that ensues,” Mining & Petroleum One would think, then, that the collapse of Stormont might give our local climate some room to breathe.This is not the case, unfortunately, as environmental degradation continues apace.Consider the Sperrin Mountains, for example, where Canadian goldmining giant Dalradian has been met with fierce opposition from rural communities, passionate about protecting their local habitat.Officially designated as  An Area of Outstanding Natural Beaut y, the Sperrins face not just the threat of millions of tonnes of rock being bored out of its landscape, but campaigners fear cyanide used in the excavation process could have devastating and long lasting implications for the environment.This was the case in in 2000 in  Baia Mare , Romania, when 100 tonnes of cyanide was spilled into the Somes River in the North of the country during a mining operation.The event has been described as Europe’s worst environmental disaster since Chernobyl and campaigners in the Sperrins fear with good reason that using the same process of cyanide extraction could lead to a similar ecological disaster here.Activists have fought a valiant campaign to oppose the mining operation in the Sperrins, submitting over 10,000 submissions of objection to the consultation, and staging various protests.Despite this, the Department continues to grant the company permission to mine.The campaign continues and local residents groups are also pursuing a legal challenge to the project.On top of the abomination in the Sperrins, two extremely alarming consultations for companies to drill for fossil fuels have been extended in recent weeks, causing concern for environmentalists in the North.These applications involve extracting petroleum and natural gas: a prospect which flie s in the face of sustainable development.One application covers 600 square km in Fermanagh, where Tamboran LTD seek to extract an estimated £20 billion worth of shale gas by using the environmentally hazardous method of hydraulic fracturing (fracking). This involves pumping potentially harmful chemicals into the rock sediment to force the extraction of gas.Not only is gas a fossil fuel and an obvious contributor to global warming, but the process of fracking itself is highly controversial.There are countless examples around the world which show fracking can lead to earthquakes, most recently in Gaoshan, China,  wh ere 2 people were kille d, and around 1600 were displaced in February of this year, when a series of earthquakes struck a zone where a large number of hydraulic fracturing drills were being conducted.The Chinese government was forced to temporarily close 15 different fracking sites.Studies also suggest that living in close proximity to fracking wells can carry health risks, including a higher incidence of low birth weight among infants.Despite the obvious dangers, this is not the first time Tamboran has applied for an onshore fracking license in Fermanagh.Tamboran was granted a license to drill in 2011, but saw widespread community opposition to its plans.A brilliant campaign of protests, direct action and community opposition brought the project under intense public scrutiny.Tamboran’s contract expired in 2014, in the face of mounting opposition, and before it could complete the first phase of its work programme.The company is going for a second attempt at forcing this project through in Fermanagh, and campaigners are adamant that the gas company can be pushed back again.Concerted grassroots campaigns like this have been crucial for offering people a beacon of hope against the destructive environmental onslaught of these fossil fuel giants.It is not just in Fermanagh, however, that major oil and gas companies have set their sights.Another shocking license being considered by the Department for Economy is from EHA exploration, which seeks to extract petroleum from a 1000 square km zone stretching from the shores of Lough Neagh, to the housing estates of Belfast.Like the Tamboran application, the consultation closes on July 31 st . People Before Profit and environmental activists have busied themselves organising protests and rallying objection to this, with Belfast City Council also formally objecting to plans.The exploratory license could potentially pave the way for a 30 year period of extraction of petroleum from an area including Belfast, Lough Neagh and the Belfast Hills . It could have disastrous implications for the North’s long term environmental sustainability.And the risks associated with petroleum extraction are great, including the potential for oil spillages, water contamination and the destruction of natural habitat.The long term environmental consequences could be catastrophic if the license gets the go ahead.The notion that this is even being considered by the Department for Economy is an outrage in itself, but not unsurprising.The drive by government departments in the North to encourage fossil fuel companies to operate here is alarming.According to the Irish News, the Department for Economy has even been actively lobbying companies such as Australian owned Walkabout Resources to set up here.Walkabout Resources is in a joint venture agreement with Koza UK who were granted a licence to prospect for gold, silver, cobalt and copper some 14 miles away from the Dalradian site.While the actions of our senior civil servants leaves much to be desired, it can hardly be said that Stormont’s record of tackling carbon emissions, or safeguarding our environment, was ever any better.The Dalradian gold mine, the 2011 Fermanagh fracking application, and the fiasco of Mubouy dump all happened under the watch of previous DUP/Sinn Féin Executives.If we want to see real climate justice then we have to look beyond the confines of the established political parties, who have shown all too often they are willing to acquiesce to the demands of fossil fuel companies.Time Running Out And time for our planet is running out.Scientists now warn us we are at a tipping point, and unless we stave emissions by 2020 we will reap devastating consequences for our planet.Yet, with the current proposals out for consultation in the North, it seems the Department for Economy is intent on completely ignoring these mounting scientific warnings.Doing so could have cataclysmic consequences for our environment and for future generations.There is, therefore, an onus on us to rediscover the slogan of “think global, act local” and to get organised to voice our collective opposition to these environmentally damaging proposals.Governments across the world are beginning to acknowledge the need for action around climate change.But this newfound urgency has been forced on them from the pressure of the growing movements from below.An awareness has emerged worldwide that global warming is the single biggest issue facing our planet.And the politicians have had to sit up and listen But for the most part, government commitments to reduce CO2 emissions remain aspirational.The UK, for example, recently committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, while Scotland aim to reach “zero-net” emissions by 2045.Unsurprisingly, the North is left lagging, as the only of the devolved regions not to have its own set of regional targets for the reduction of CO2 emissions.Yet another embarrassment on Stormont’s watch.Moveover, two People Before Profit councillors, Shaun Harkin and Matt Collins have seen motions passed in Derry and Strabane, and Belfast City Councils respectively, yet the is little evidence of tangible action from the government.There is an urgent need for action in the here and now: not simply aspirations, especially those which will prove futile given scientific advice that says we need to cut carbon emissions much sooner than previously throught.We need serious divestment from fossil fuels, an urgent redirection way from factory farming, a publicly owned environmental protection agency, and legislation like the bill proposed by People Before Profit TD Bríd Smith in the South of Ireland— which would put a ban on any further extraction of oil or gas in Ireland—despite the undemocratic efforts by Leo Varadkar to scupper it.But even this progressive step would be critically undermined if we continue to allow fossil fuel companies to operate north of the border.We need a 32 county approach which begins to wrestle control away from the toxic fossil fuel companies, and seeks in earnest to deliver more sustainable and environmentally friendly means of energy production.This means a challenge to the profit-driven system itself, which puts the interests of a small minority of oil and gas companies ahead of the needs of the vast majority of ordinary people the world over.Time is against us.As the great socialist James Connolly once said: Our Demands most moderate are, we only want the Earth. . The post Environment in North Under Attack appeared first on REBEL .'

Council warns farmers over silage effluent in Limerick

Environment Agriland.ie

Farmers and silage contractors have been urged to redouble their efforts to eliminate silage effluent spillages from crops amid a particularly bad year for pollution so far, according to Limerick City and County Council.
'Farmers and silage contractors have been urged to redouble their efforts to eliminate silage effluent spillages from crops amid a particularly bad year for pollution so far, according to Limerick City and County Council.The call from the council comes with second crop harvesting very much in full swing and a bumper crop anticipated due to strong growth over recent weeks.Agricultural scientist with Limerick City and County Council, Aidan Leonard called for extra vigilance on the matter.He said that silage effluent is over 200 times more polluting that raw sewage and one of the most potent of agricultural pollutants.Its impact on waters can be devastating, he stressed.Continuing, he said: “Every year, despite widespread awareness across the industry of the threat from silage effluent leakages, there are incidents of leakage which can cause immense damage to rivers and streams. “2019 has been a particularly bad year in this regard.During June 2019, eight cases of pollution resulting from silage effluent came to the attention of the Limerick City and Council. “One of these cases resulted in a serious fish kill, another caused serious pollution of a neighbouring well.Other cases gave rise to significant damage to the biology of the rivers and streams.” Among the reasons identified for these spillages, Leonard said, was wet-silage/over-filling of silage pit, effluent conduits damaged by machinery, inappropriate storage of baled silage and silage bases with cracks in them due to joints not being properly sealed.Leonard said that the public can help with identification of problems, not least by monitoring local streams and rivers.The presence of grey slime, called ‘sewage fungus’, in a waterbody indicates contamination from a range of organic pollutants, including silage effluent, he said.To minimise risk of contamination, the scientist advised: inspecting the pit before silage making to ensure there are no cracks or defects in the base, walls or channels; avoiding an overfill of pits; and usage of a 70mm land drainage pipe in channels, directed to the storage tank. “The silage harvesting season is a particularly busy time of year for farmers.Nevertheless, it is essential to regularly check that there is no silage effluent escaping from the facilities.All drains and watercourses downstream of the farmyard should also be checked regularly to ensure they are free from contamination.Leonard added that if silage is suspected to be escaping, it is important to act immediately. . The post Council warns farmers over silage effluent in Limerick appeared first on Agriland.ie .'

Bord na Móna job losses could result in industrial action, unions warn

Environment Irish Examiner Business

An impasse between the ESB and the Environmental Protection Agency that has led to the suspension of operations at a power plant in Longford could lead to industrial action by Bord na Móna employees, unions are warning.
'An impasse between the ESB and the Environmental Protection Agency that has led to the suspension of operations at a power plant in Longford could lead to industrial action by Bord na Móna employees, unions are warning.'

South Kerry Greenway: ‘There is a way forward despite what has happened’

Environment Agriland.ie

The fallout from the South Kerry Greenway proposals must be addressed through consultation with farmers and landowners.These were the sentiments expressed by Irish Farmers’ Association (IFA) environment committee member John O’Sullivan who also
'The fallout from the South Kerry Greenway proposals must be addressed through consultation with farmers and landowners.These were the sentiments expressed by Irish Farmers’ Association (IFA) environment committee member John O’Sullivan who also pointed to the code of practice for greenways.He was speaking in the aftermath of talks breaking down completely between farmers and Kerry County Council over the proposed greenway in south Kerry.O’Sullivan says that, while the greenway is welcomed by everyone, “it will never happen if agreement isn’t reached with landowners”. Meanwhile, the greenway proposal – from Glenbeigh to Cahersiveen – was first mooted in 2011 after the South Kerry Development Partnership recognised that the Great Southern and Western Rail Company’s west Kerry branch abandoned railway line, with its outstanding views, rail structures and varying landscapes, “could provide an exceptional walking and cycling route, and deliver a wide range of environmental, social and economic benefits”. It was to be a flagship project of the Ring of Kerry Cycle Route and part of the first phase of the Ring of Kerry off-road cycling and walking trail. ‘Conduct and code of practice’ O’Sullivan says there is huge upset over compulsory purchase order (CPO) notices that were issued to 130 farmers on the route.He also pointed to how four landowners subsequently ended up in court after Kerry County Council issued legal proceedings against them. “There is a code of practice for greenways and as part of that it was made very clear that CPOs would not be introduced,” added O’Sullivan. “All the farmers around here very much support the greenway but not with a CPO.So there needs to be more consultation with the landowners and an agreement reached between all parties so that this greenway can go ahead.” Meanwhile, he pointed to the benefits of the amenity to south Kerry.It will enhance the area and feed into the Wild Atlantic Way which is now proving to be a national tourist attraction. “It is interesting to note that money has been granted for the development of the north Kerry greenway and everything is ready to roll there; incidentally, landowners were treated very differently in north Kerry than those in south Kerry and through negotiation and consultation resolutions were reached there without any fallout.” Where there is a will there is a way Ken Jones, meanwhile, secretary of IFA’s county executive in Kerry, pointed to the seriousness of the CPO issue and how its impact cannot be emphasised enough. “This is because it hasn’t happened to landowners where other greenways have been built in Ireland; it is a very worrying development. “Who is to say that if this is allowed to happen in Kerry local authorities all over the country won’t start introducing CPOs on farmers or landowners whose land might be required to facilitate other amenities or developments? “It’s a huge issue for farmers in south Kerry and is the reason why talks have broken down completely between local landowners and Kerry County Council.” Jones, meanwhile, says there is a way forward…despite what has happened. “We all believe there is a way forward on this because we asked the council at one stage to withdraw CPOs and they approved that.But then they went and took four farmers to court and everything was ruined then,” he continued.It also showed us that Kerry County Council has no intention of backing down on the CPO issue and that has rankled everyone now.Under the code of practice CPOs are not advised and so if that happens in south Kerry then precedent is set; then what happens in the future? “We have met with the farmers in Waterford who were impacted by the greenway there.And while they had their arguments and disagreements with the local authority there, all sides sat down, trashed things out and they found solutions to the problems.The county now has a fantastic amenity and everyone is happy.” In a statement the local authority in Kerry said: “The planning application for the South Kerry Greenway is currently with An Bord Pleanála for decision and it would not be appropriate for Kerry County Council to make any further comments on the project until that decision is reached.” . The post South Kerry Greenway: ‘There is a way forward despite what has happened’ appeared first on Agriland.ie .'