Local TD Denis Naughten has welcomed confirmation that the publication of a notice for planning application for the use of biomass in Shannonbridge power station in County Offaly will be placed this week.
It is expected that a formal planning application will be submitted to An Bord Pleanála for the West Offaly power plant while an application to Longford County Council for the Lough Ree power plant in Lanesboro is expected in the coming weeks.
“This is a significant development to ensure the long term viability of jobs not just in the ESB but also in Bord Na Móna and is something which I worked on as Minister for Energy over the last 2.5 years,” stated Denis Naughten.
“The approval of these planning applications is vital to allow Bord na Móna to transition away from its dependence on peat and to support local farmers who wish to grow biomass to supplement their income.
“This will also create long term sustainable jobs locally when these crops have to be harvested to supply the three power stations in the midlands.”
Denis Naughten added: “When the bio-energy division of Bord na Móna was established by me, as Minister, I ensured that the company must give priority to locally grown biomass crops. I now expect Bord na Móna, not only to grow crops on its own bogs but to assist farmers with the planting, growing and harvesting of biomass crops.
“I would urge all those who want to see an orderly transition away from the burning of peat to long term sustainable and green jobs in the region to support these applications and I would call on those who would consider objecting to these applications to work with local communities instead of decimating the local economic fabric of our region. This is just the first step in this process but it is a very significant first step and we must all now work to ensure that this becomes a reality,” concluded Denis Naughten.