Fears expressed Donegal peat slippage will cause fish kill
THE Ulster Angling Federation (UAF) has called for the development of a Co Donegal windfarm be suspended pending an investigation into a huge landslide close to the facility.
Dramatic footage of trees, peat and other bog material being swept away near Meenbog Windfarm close to Ballybofey in Donegal and east Tyrone appeared on social media over the weekend.
Nearby Corgary Road was closed on the Donegal side of the border last night at the Meenablagh Road junction over "concerns about a potential landslide", with motorists asked to seek an alternative route.
Thousands of tonnes of material was swept away on Friday close to the windfarm which is owned by Invis Energy.
The landslide has had a major impact on rivers on both sides of the border. UAF chairman, Gary Houston said large amounts of peat, Sitka Spruce and other material had been swept into the Mourne Beg River which is a tributary of the River Derg and part of the Foyle system.
Mr Houston said there were fears that the slippage could lead to a major fish kill. The UAF chairman said there were particular concerns that the landslide could have been responsible for fish losses reported at a fish farm on the Mourne Beg River and the loss of a salmon on the River Derg.
He said anglers also feared the slippage was behind a change in water colour on the Derg over the weekend.
“There is a high risk that the Mourne Beg will have a very large fish kill. As regards the River Derg, the coming days will see what the extent of the fish kill will be as [angling] club members monitor the situation,” Mr Houston said.
Mr Houston described the land slippage as “one of the largest in the history” of Ireland, involving large acreages of bogland which would be difficult to re-instate. The UAF chairman called for an immediate halt to the development of the Meenbog project, pending an investigation as well as a halt to all windfarm construction on both sides of the border.
A spokeswoman for the Loughs Agency said its staff have been evaluating the environmental effect of the “peat slide” on the Mourne Beg River over the weekend.
“As the extent of the incident continues to be assessed, it is essential that any fish fatalities identified in the Mourne Beg or River Derg are reported to Loughs Agency fishery officers who will collect and evaluate them,” she said.
The spokeswoman said members of the public should not recover dead fish but report their location to Loughs Agency staff.
“This is to ensure that any evidence gathered meets the appropriate standard,” she said.
Invis Energy said it was working with relevant authorities after the slippage occurred on its site. A spokesman said there was no risk to public health.