14/11/11

14/11/2011 National Peatlands Strategy – Minister Deenihan and Peatlands Council Invite Public Views

Jimmy Deenihan, T.D. Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, today (14th November 2011) announced the commencement of a public consultation period on the content and formulation of a National Peatlands Strategy. The consultation will be carried out in collaboration with the independently chaired Peatlands Council.

Peatlands make up about 20% of the State’s land mass. The Strategy will deal with long-term issues relating to the future management of Ireland’s peatlands, in compliance with EU environmental obligations. The social and economic value of existing peatlands use, including domestic and commercial turf cutting and peat extraction will also be considered as part of the Strategy.

Other uses of peatlands including forestry, agriculture, windfarm development, carbon storage and sequestration, tourism and the role of bogs in flooding/drought management will also be considered.

Speaking about the need for broad input to the Strategy, Minister Deenihan stated “the Strategy must reflect the voice of all peatlands users. They are the people who have the most direct stake in how we use our peatlands and are well placed to advise on how best to manage this important private and national asset into the future”.

“Turf-cutters, other peatlands users and the public as a whole should be involved in the formulation of a Strategy to bring clarity on how and where these activities will continue.” Mr Conor Skehan, Chairman of the Peatlands Council added.

“This Strategic approach is required to give clarity to everyone on how Ireland’s peatlands will be used in the future. The current difficulties we are having regarding turf-cutting on the small number of bogs where this activity must cease has arisen from a lack of engagement between relevant parties and a resultant lack of clarity on this issue over the past fifteen years or so.” Minister Deenihan said.

Stakeholders and other interested parties are now invited to make written submissions, views, observations and/or ideas to the Peatlands Council to be considered as part of the development of the National Strategy. Details of the public consultation process is to be advertised in local and national newspapers over the coming week and guidance documents and the terms of reference of the Strategy are available on www.npws.ie / www.peatlandscouncil.ie

The closing date for submissions on the National Peatlands Strategy is Friday, 16th December 2011.

ENDS

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Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, 23 Kildare Street, Dublin , D02 TD30. Tel: 01 631 3800 / LoCall: 1890 383 000

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