We use cookies to collect and analyse information on site performance and usage to improve and customise your experience, where applicable. View our Cookies Policy. Click Accept and continue to use our website or Manage to review and update your preferences.

EU tells Ireland to comply with bogs directive
Pic: RollingNews.iw

30 Sep 2022 / eu Print

EU tells Ireland to comply with bogs directive

The European Commission has warned that it may take Ireland to the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) if it does not act to stop the cutting of peat in Special Areas of Conservation (SACs).

After what it described as “a long dialogue” with the Irish authorities, the EU body yesterday (29 September) issued a second reasoned opinion on the issue, to which Ireland has two months to respond.

A reasoned opinion explains why the commission believes a country is in breach of EU law, and acts as a formal request to comply.

The measure on peat-cutting is contained in the Habitats Directive, which designated SACs to conserve raised bogs and blanket bogs.

Enforcement action ‘stalled’

The EU believes that protecting and restoring peat bogs will help Ireland to meet its climate-change goals by keeping peat in the ground, and by avoiding the carbon and other emissions caused when peat is burnt as a fuel.

The commission said that, while the Irish authorities had taken action to stop cutting – including by compensating peat and turf cutters – cutting activities had continued, and enforcement action “appears to have stalled”.

The EU body added that restoration activities had begun on some raised bogs in SACs, but it described this as “too slow, given the importance of this priority habitat and its precarious state”.

First letter in 2011

“With regard to blanket bogs SACs, there appears to be no regime controlling ongoing cutting, with the cutting for domestic use exempt from control,” the commission said.

The EU body had sent Ireland a letter of formal notice in January 2011, followed by a reasoned opinion in June 2011.

New regulations being proposed by the Government would ban the large-scale commercial sale of turf, but would allow people to cut turf for their own use, and sell it under certain conditions.

Gazette Desk
Gazette.ie is the daily legal news site of the Law Society of Ireland