Peat extraction firm says it faces closure if EPA gets injunctions
A peat extraction company has told the High Court its business faces closure if the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) gets injunctions aimed at halting the firm's wet peat extraction activities in the midlands.
Harte Peat says 50 jobs depend on its business continuing and the injunctions would also seriously impact on the mushroom industry here as the firm provides much of the wet peat used for mushroom casings.
The EPA wants the injunctions pending a full hearing of issues between the sides.
It says the matter is urgent because it learned in September 2018 the company was engaged in extraction of wet peat up to five metres deep at an unlicensed site at Derrycrave in Co Westmeath.
The EPA’s concern is the depth at which the extraction is occurring.
It claims a 2012 water discharge licence application by the company related to the activity only covered a depth of two metres.
Peat harvesting companies are required to obtain an Integrated Pollution Prevention Control licence where peat extraction is carried out in an area of land exceeding 50 hectares.
The Derrycrave site is one of several on which the EPA argues Harte Peat is carrying out unregulated peat harvesting activities above the 50ha threshold.