Wednesday, 6 November 2019
Wildlife (Amendment) Bill 2016: Report Stage (Resumed) and Final Stage
This amendment goes in the same direction as amendment No. 42, which has previously been withdrawn by Senator Ruane. I thank her for withdrawing that in support of our amendment. We feel this is more specific and addresses the issues of a just transition and the communities and workers that have been impacted in a more detailed manner. I hope it can be supported by all sides of the House. The amendment is fully in line with the commitments made in March 2019 by the Joint Committee on Climate Action. It makes reference to climate justice and a just transition to a low-carbon economy in the specific context of turf cutting and peat extraction.
It is important that an equitable approach, rooted in social justice and early engagement with communities, is taken to the movement away from peat extraction and turf cutting. We cannot have a situation where impacted regions are left at risk of major disruption as is currently the case in the midlands. Protective measures need to be put in place first. These amendments, therefore, call for a necessary analysis in this regard to be made by the Minister. We also need clarity on how and whether emissions are being saved and what steps can be taken to further rehabilitate and restore peatlands in light of our climate and environmental obligations.