Wednesday, 6 November 2019
Wildlife (Amendment) Bill 2016: Report Stage (Resumed) and Final Stage
I thank the Senators for these amendments. My understanding is that they provide that the cutting of turf within sites whose designation as NHAs is reversed shall be subject to regulations set by the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht in consultation with various bodies. This regulation is to concern the machinery to be used, limitations on quantities to be extracted and limitations on commercial activities. Regulation of turf cutting outside of SACs and NHAs is not a matter for the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, whose focus is on the conservation, management and restoration of protected sites. I understand this falls to the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government in accordance with planning legislation. That Department has advised that the development of a new regulatory framework for smaller scale peat extraction will be initiated and progressed. I will write to the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government to request that his Department takes account of the issues raised in these amendments in the development of the framework. However I will not accept the amendments.