NPWS Peatland Issues and Land Designation
National Parks and Wildlife Service – Peatland Issues and Land Designation – Functions and Services
- Administrating site protection for designated sites.
- Administrating the raised bog Cessation of Turf Cutting Compensation Scheme.
- Provision of central support in the context of the relocation of turf-cutters to non-designated bogs under the Cessation of Turf Cutting Compensation Scheme.
- Acquisition of lands under the Voluntary Bog Purchase Scheme (scheme now closed to new applicants).
- Implementation of an appeals mechanism and the provision of compensation arising from refusal of consent for the carrying out of certain activities in designated sites.
- Operation of a permit scheme for turf cutting on Raised Bog Natural Heritage Areas where cessation of turf cutting is scheduled to come into effect on 31 December 2016
- Designation of areas for nature conservation i.e. Special Protection Areas and Special Areas of Conservation under the EU Birds and Habitats Directive and Natural Heritage Areas under the Wildlife Acts.
- Peatlands policy and management.
National Parks and Wildlife Service – Peatland Issues and Land Designation – Accessing our Services
The Designations Unit deals with written and telephone requests from the public and the commercial sector with regard to the designation of land as Special Protection Areas (SPAs), Special Areas of Conservation (SACs) or Natural Heritage Areas (NHAs). The unit deals with written and telephone requests primarily from public authorities and entities within the planning and development sectors in relation to relevant legislation and appropriate assessment. No schemes are delivered directly to the public by the Unit.
Site Protection Unit operates a permitting scheme for turf cutting on designated Raised Bog Natural Heritage Areas where cessation of turf cutting is scheduled to come into effect on 31 December 2016. Applicants apply using an application form available on request from the Unit.
Administrative functions relating to other site protection issues as they arise in respect of Designated Sites.
National Parks and Wildlife Service – Peatland Issues and Land Designation – Classes of Records Held
The Designations Unit holds:
- Records of landowners notified at the time of designation;
- Records of information issued to landowners (i.e. site packs);
- Maps of nature conservation designations;
- Records relating to policy, legislative, financial and administrative matters concerning the functions of the unit, including correspondence, court case details, EU correspondence and copies of Legislation, Guidance, Statutory Instruments and Circulars issued.
- SPA, SAC and NHA designation information – including site descriptions, qualifying interests, landowner information, activities requiring consent, maps and objections;
- Boundary amendments to sites.
The Site Protection Unit holds:
Files/Records on the administration of the Cessation of Turf Cutting Compensation Scheme including legal advice, Raised Bog Natural Heritage Area Permitting Scheme, The Voluntary Bog Purchase Scheme and Commercial Compensation Scheme. These files contain details of how the various schemes are operated and the documentation used in the administration of the schemes. Files are also kept of all the relocation sites which are in operation as part of the CTCCS and also the potential relocation sites which have been assessed by or on behalf of the Department.
Applicant files of those who apply under the various schemes, these contain application forms, details of claims, land title information, inheritance information and personal financial details.
Files arising from the administration of site protection for designated sites. These files contain detailed reports on reported damage or deterioration of designated sites, warning letters and related correspondence to address these issues including Restoration Orders.
Files relating to the implementation of the appeals mechanism and compensation scheme arising from refusal of consent for the carrying out of certain activities/works on SACs, SPA and NHAs. These files contain consent applications, consent decisions, appeal papers and details of arbitration cases and legal cases being taken against the Minister.
Peatlands Management Unit holds:
- Records relating to policy, legislative, scientific, financial and administrative matters concerning the functions of the unit and including EU correspondence.
- Records relating to ownership of designated peatlands areas
- Files relating to the operation and administration of the Peatlands Council
- Records in relation to certain EU Life projects including EU correspondence, scientific information, financial, administrative, guidance, regulations, GIS data and maps.
Files related to FOI , AIE and Ombudsman requests for information and records, details of requests and the decisions including the relevant records.
National Parks and Wildlife Service – Peatland Issues and Land Designation – Grant or Funding Schemes
Cessation of Turf Cutting Compensation Scheme (CTCCS)
The Site Protection Unit also operates the Cessation of Turf Cutting Compensation Scheme (CTCCS). The purpose of the scheme is to compensate active turf cutters arising from the cessation of turf cutting on raised bog Special Areas of Conservation and Natural Heritage Areas. Active turf cutters with land rights in Special Areas of Conservation and Natural Heritage Areas are eligible to apply under this scheme.
The eligibility criteria are as follows:
- The applicant must have a legal interest in the bog plot in question – ownership or a turbary right
- The applicant must have had sole and exclusive right to cut and remove turf from the property on 25 May 2010;
- That the applicant has been cutting turf on the lands in question during the relevant five year qualifying period prior to the implementation of the cessation of turf cutting on the site and that the turbary right/turf resource has not been exhausted;
- That no turf cutting or associated activity is ongoing on the property or has occurred since the relevant date of the the cessation of turf cutting for that site;
- Lands must be in a designated ;Special Area of Conservation or Natural Heritage Area on which the cessation of turf cutting applies; and
Applicants apply using a standard application form by post of email – there is no on line application process. The CTCCS is comprised of a payment of €1,500 per annum, index-linked, for 15 years or relocation to a non-designated bog where feasible, together with a once-off incentive payment of €500. Those applicants who have expressed an interest in relocation are able to opt for the €1,500 payment or the delivery of 15 tonnes of cut turf per annum while awaiting relocation.
There is a CTCCS Appeals Procedure. Applicants may request an internal review of the decision made by the Department in writing. An internal review involves a reconsideration of the matter by a more senior member of the staff of the Department.
In the event that the decision is upheld after internal review, applicants may appeal against the decision in writing to the Peatlands Council. The Peatlands Council is an independently chaired body established by the Government to assist the Government and stakeholders regarding certain issues relating to the management of Ireland’s peatlands.
Further information can be found on the website of the National Parks and Wildlife Service by clicking on the link below:
The Peatlands Management Unit is responsible for the implementation of measures to facilitate effective management and restoration of peatlands sites designated for protection. This includes overseeing an EU LIFE funded project for the restoration of sites in the raised bog SAC network, the development and implementation of a management plan for the Raised Bog SAC Network and promoting community engagement in the restoration and management of designated peatlands. The unit is the designated contact within the Department for the Peatlands Council. Contact details for the unit are available on www.npws.ie
National Parks and Wildlife Service – Peatland Issues and Land Designation – Major Policy Proposals and Public Consultations
It is expected that on a phased basis public consultation will shortly be undertaken on restoration plans developed for peatland sites within the Raised Bog SAC Network.