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Stormont committee told river peat slide was ‘catastrophic’

A huge landslide into rivers in Donegal and Tyrone which started on the site of a new windfarm has been described as “catastrophic” by the Loughs’ Agency.

Thousands of tonnes of peat bog, trees and vegetation were swept into the Mourne Beg and Derg Rivers during the peat slide on November 13 last year. Damage was also caused to the Corgary trout farm.

It subsequently emerged that the peat slide originated on land which is being developed as a wind farm at Meenbog near Stranorlar in County Donegal in conjunction with global retail firm, Amazon. The incident attracted huge interest as footage of trees and vegetation floating down hill was widely shared on social media.

A multi-agency response to the peat slide, led by the Loughs’ Agency, was put together and a plan was drawn up to stabilise the land. It was also confirmed that legal action could be taken against any organisation found responsible for the incident by the Republic’s Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

The landslide has now been raised at a meeting of the Assembly’s Agriculture Committee. Loughs’ Agency representative, John McCartney told members it could be the spring of this year before the full impact of the incident was known.

Mr McCartney said the peat slide had been “catastrophic” and would impact on miles of the Mourne Beg River. While fish had the ability to “recolonise” a river, he expressed concern that the bed of the Mourne Beg River could be clogged with peat and sediment.