Wednesday, 6 November 2019
Wildlife (Amendment) Bill 2016: Report Stage (Resumed) and Final Stage
In terms of amendment No. 41, we propose that within 12 months of passing this Act that the Minister produce a report on guidelines and thresholds around the exercise of turbary rights for peat extraction and a definition of what would constitute "household use". We have throughout this debate said that the distinction needs to be drawn between turbary rights, which is the extraction of peat for personal and household use, and commercial peat harvesting which has far greater environmental impacts. We want to ensure and to promote responsible bog management and it has been clear that this is not at odds with turbary rights or traditional practices. The way turf is being extracted has changed. There are, for example, concerns about the increased use of machines and their impact. This amendment is one of several proposals seeking to give clarity to this area. I know the Minister of State has suggested that the regulation of commercial cutting practices and associated machinery falls within another Department and I contest that. However, there is no doubt that the turbary rights as a heritage issue fall directly within his remit. I, therefore, hope that he will accept amendment No. 41.