Wednesday, 19 January 2022
Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment
125. To ask the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment if he plans to compensate turf-cutters who are being prevented from cutting turf on their privately-owned bogs for commercial purposes given they require a licence to do so (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [63484/21]
I take it that the Question refers to industrial scale peat extraction on sites over 50 hectares, carried out by commercial operators. I have no role in providing any supports for such extraction.
Industrial scale peat extraction is subject to a dual consent process requiring planning permission and, for sites over 50 hectares, an Integrated Pollution Control (IPC) licence from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). There has been a history of widespread non-compliance with this dual consent process, with many operators in the sector lacking planning permission and / or an IPC licence.
Following a 2019 High Court judgment which re-affirmed, inter alia, that industrial peat extraction absent planning permission constitutes unauthorised development, the onus has been on operators to first regularise their activities via the planning system and then secure the necessary licenses before any recommencement can take place.