26 May 2022

Laois Offaly TDs meet Bord na Móna on turf cutting court case implications

Bord na Móna invites TDs to briefing on the impact of 2019 High Court case on peat extraction

Laois Offaly TDs meet Bord na Móna on turf cutting court case implications

Turf cutting restrictions applies to some bogs

The Chief Executive of Bord na Móna Tom Donnellan briefed several midlands TDs on the impact of the 2019 High Court Case on peat extraction operations.

The company said the TDs were invited to the briefing by Bord na Móna to clarify a number of issues arising from the landmark case.

In 2019, the High Court ruled that peat extraction operations, on bogs over 30 hectares, requires planning permission. All peat extraction operations that contravene this ruling are illegal.

Bord na Móna outlined the key points in the briefing as follows:

  • The company’s own peat harvesting operations were halted this year. In parallel with this, Bord na Móna has migrated 350 employees from peat harvesting to the Peatlands Climate Action Scheme. This scheme will secure a 100million tonne carbon store, sequester millions more tonnes of carbon and develop the amenity potential of our lands.
  • The vast majority, 1600 people, who have cut turf on Bord na Móna lands are turbary rights holders. They continue to enjoy the same property rights as before the High Court ruling.
  • Following the High Court ruling it is illegal for the approximately 30 Industrial Peat Contractors to extract peat under licence on Bord na Móna lands as before.
  • The company is engaging with stakeholders on the particular issues arising from the High Court ruling.
  • The company is also taking the opportunity to discuss other aspects of its evolution into a climate solutions company.

The company said the TDs were given the opportunity to discuss Bord na Móna’s plans to create a new sustainable future for communities in the Midlands, the transformation of our operations and the company’s significant investment in renewable energy, recycling, peatland rehabilitation and other new low carbon business projects.

A statement said the deputies will also have the opportunity to discuss how the move away from peat related activities is being managed in a way that secures employment for impacted employees, supports communities and ensures Bord na Móna continues to be a major employer in the Midlands.

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