This objective underpins all of the other objectives outlined in the Bord na Móna Biodiversity Action Plan. Bord na Móna is a diverse company and in relation to the environment, there are a number of legislative regulatory mechanisms that Bord na Móna adheres to.
The primary regulation mechanism relating to the environment and in particular peat harvesting activities is Integrated Pollution Control (IPC) licensing. IPC licensing is granted, implemented and monitored for compliance by the EPA. It is noted however that at the time of writing (March 2016) the regulation of peat harvesting activities is under review by the Department of Environment and Local Government.
There are also a number of areas regulated under Waste Licensing (such as Srahmore Peat Deposition Area and Associated facilities, Drehid Landfill, Kilberry Composting Facility) and conditions related to planning under the Planning and Development Act (such as Mountlucas and Bruckana Wind Farms). Compliance with regulatory mechanisms is reviewed and monitored by the EPA and the relevant planning authorities.
In the period 2010-2015 a number of research projects that focused on developing best practice for management and regulation of activities on peatlands were completed. This included the EPA BOGLAND project (results published in 2011) and a suite of Greenhouse Gas monitoring projects. These projects informed the development of policy documents relating to peatlands. One of the more significant developments in the area of policy has been the development of the National Peatlands Strategy. Another area which has grown is the integration of the concepts of Natural Capital and Ecosystem Goods and Services. Bord na Móna participated in and contributed to all of these projects and policy documents and initiatives and will continue to contribute to their implementation
Some of the key performance indicators in the period 2010-2015 were:
Building on this work the following actions can be outlined for the period 2016-2021. Note: New Actions to the Biodiversity Action Plan 2016-2021 plan period are highlighted in green shading throughout.
Natural capital is the world’s stocks of physical and biological resources, including air, water, minerals, soils, fossil fuels and all living things. These stocks work together to deliver ecosystem goods and services that in turn provide benefits to society. These benefits include harvestable products like food, materials and fuel, clean water for people to drink and for industry to use, purified air to breathe, the natural decomposition of wastes, the conservation and recycling of essential nutrients like nitrogen and phosphorus, medicine, pest control, pollination, flood and drought regulation and beautiful places to visit. These services matter to people because they give us things we need. But because they are ‘free’, we don’t value them in the same way we value things we have to pay for.
A rapidly-evolving method for addressing the economic invisibility of nature is ‘natural capital accounting’. This involves attributing a measurable value to our natural capital in economic terms (such as euros or dollars) and/or in ecological terms (such as the number of species in an area). Natural capital accounting is something that all EU member States have to do by 2020 (Source: EU Biodiversity Strategy to 2020), and in Ireland the process is already underway through the Mapping and Assessment of Ecosystem Services (MAES) project.
The Irish Forum on Natural Capital (IFNC) brings together a diverse range of organisations and individuals from academic, public, private and NGO sectors who are interested in the development and application of the natural capital agenda in Ireland. The Forum is structured as a broad representative group, led by a Steering Committee and administered by a Secretariat.
The IFNC emerged through the work of the Natural Capital Committee, a voluntary group that came together to organise Ireland’s Hidden Wealth – the first national conference on natural capital, held at the National Botanic Gardens, Dublin, in April 2014. Further meetings and workshops were held in 2015 for members to input to the work plan for the forum.
The IFNC vision is “for an Ireland in which natural capital and ecosystem goods and services are valued, protected and restored”.
The IFNC mission is, “through the collaboration and leadership of our diverse members, to help to value, protect and restore Ireland’s natural capital and ecosystem services. We will do this by supporting the adoption of natural capital concepts in public policy and corporate strategy, promoting informed public and private sector decision-making and assisting in the establishment of a national natural capital accounting standard”.
Bord na Móna is one of the founding members of the Natural Capital movement in Ireland and sits on the steering committee of the IFNC. The key actions
relating to Natural Capital listed in this plan are: