17/05/13

17/05/13: New pilot programme being rolled out as part of turf cutting compensation scheme – Deenihan

• Pilot programme will offer free advice to turf cutters in compensation scheme on four SAC raised bogs
• €3.6 million paid to date in compensation under the Cessation of Turf Cutting Compensation Scheme

Friday, May 17th – Jimmy Deenihan TD, Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, has launched a new programme on a pilot basis – the Energy Efficiency and Transition Programme – as a new element of the Cessation of Turf Cutting Compensation Scheme (CTCCS).

The Energy Efficiency and Transition Programme will offer advice to turf cutters on how to maximize the energy efficiency of their homes and on renewable energy measures that may be suitable. The introduction of the programme has been recommended by the Peatlands Council, established by Government in 2011.

Minister Deenihan commented:

“I am glad to be able to bring forward a new element to the compensation scheme for turf cutters. The idea for this programme was conceived by the Peatlands Council, and I am happy to support it as it has significant potential to help people reduce their home energy costs.

“As Minister I have made it my priority to enhance the compensation scheme for affected turf cutters. Under this scheme we are making financial payments, providing turf to homes, sourcing relocation bogs, and now also progressing the payment of the €500 bonus which is provided for under the scheme. We’re making progress on each of these points, and the pilot Energy Efficiency and Transition Programme is another element to the scheme which I am happy to introduce.”

Four raised bog Special Areas of Conservation (SACs) have been selected to be part of the pilot programme. They are:

• Moneybeg and Clareisland Bogs, Co. Westmeath
• Mouds Bog, Co. Kildare
• River Moy Bog, Co. Mayo
• Monivea Bog, Co. Galway

Participation in the pilot programme is free to turf cutters who, on the basis of self-certification, meet the qualifying criteria of the  Cessation of Turf Cutting Compensation Scheme. The programme will give advice on the energy efficiency of the home, options for upgrading heating systems and insulation within the home, and renewable energy solutions which may be considered.  The pilot programme is being managed by RPS Consulting Engineers on behalf of the Department.

By providing this information, expertise and advice, the Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht hopes to work with turf cutters who want to use some of the financial compensation they receive under the Cessation of Turf Cutting Compensation Scheme to improve the energy performance of their homes.

Over the coming days the Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht will be writing to offer turf cutters from these four bogs the opportunity to participate in the pilot programme. This pilot programme will cover approximately 60 homes. If the programme is oversubscribed then the households chosen to participate will be those which are felt to be a representative selection of the overall group of applicants.

Ends/

Note to Editors:

Compensation: Nationally, approximately 2,668 applications for compensation have been received, in the region of 2,200 payments have issued and more than 200 deliveries of turf have been made to date. The total expenditure on the compensation package to date is approximately €3.6 million.

Relocation to Alternatives Bogs: The Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht and Bord na Móna have established a working group to advance the provision of relocation solutions. Of the total number of raised bog SACs, arrangements have been made or are at an advanced stage for turf cutters from four bogs to transfer to relocation bogs where they can continue to cut turf legally.

One group commenced turf cutting in the relocation site last year and further cutting has taken place there this year. Of the remaining 49 raised bog SACs, potential relocation sites have been identified for 32 bogs. These sites are being assessed for their suitability. Relocation is unlikely to be required, or will be small in scale, for 16 SACs due, for example, to the small number of turf cutters who have been active on these sites.

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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