Thousands of tonnes of bog and trees have moved downstream at Meenbog, Co Donegal, following a bogslide in the area, which local action groups are attributing to work on a wind farm.
The Finn Valley Wind Action Group has said continuing work on the wind farm has triggered the peat slide and has resulted thousands of tonnes of peat and trees to slide into a burn known locally as the Shruhangarve burn (which separates counties Donegal and Tyrone) and into the Mournebeg river.
“The resulting suspended solids have caused the river to become saturated with peat,” the group has said.
The Gweebarra Conservation Group has said that the problem was “caused by the wrong trees in the wrong place” and “a road constructed through the trees and bog to get turbines into the bog”.
It said the bog slide began on Thursday evening and has said local water supplies and rivers are at risk as a result.
Peat and spoil plan
In the peat and spoil management plan for the Meenbog Wind Farm presented to An Bord Pleanála, it says that “it is not anticipated that a peat slide will occur on site”.
It said where there is the onset or actual detachment of peat (eg cracking, surface rippling) then the following shall be carried out:On alert of a peat slide incident, all activities (if any) in the area should cease and all available resources will be diverted to assist in the required mitigation procedures.Where considered possible, action will be taken to prevent a peat slide reaching any watercourse. This will take the form of the construction of check barrages on land. Due to the terrain and the inability to predict locations it may not be possible to implement any on-land prevention measures, in this case a watercourse check barrage will be implemented.For localised peat slides that do not represent a risk to a watercourse and have essentially come to rest the area will be stabilised initially by rock infill, if required. The failed area and surrounding area will then be assessed by the engineering staff and stabilisation procedures implemented. The area will be monitored, as appropriate, until such time as movements have ceased.
The Gweebarra Conservation Group has called for the planning system to change following the incident.
A spokesperson for Irish Water told the Irish Farmers Journal: "We have investigated the incident with our operations staff and there is no immediate concern for water services in the Finn Valley.
"The Mournebeg River flows away from Lough Mourne and may have more impact on the river downstream.
"Members of the public can search for supply alerts in their local areas on the Supply Updates section of the Irish Water website, www.water.ie, and updates are also posted on Twitter @IWCare."