Thursday, 30 May 2013

Questions (166)

Bernard Durkan

Question:

166. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht the extent to which settlement has been reached with the various turf cutters and-or bog owners throughout County Kildare who have been affected by EU generated special areas of conservation or nationally imposed restrictions; the extent to which relocation or other is imminent in respect of the remainder of cases; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [26506/13]

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Written answers (Question to Arts)

There are 2 raised bog special areas of conservation in County Kildare affected by the cessation of turf cutting - Ballynafagh Bog and Mouds Bog. 56 applications for compensation under the cessation of turf cutting compensation scheme have been received and acknowledged by my Department in respect of Ballynafagh Bog and 101 applications have been received and acknowledged by my Department in respect of Mouds Bog. 28 and 39 of these applicants respectively have expressed an interest in relocation to a non-designated bog. 42 payments and 8 deliveries of turf have been made in respect of the applications received from Ballynafagh Bog and 51 payments and 35 deliveries of turf have been made in respect of the applications received from Mouds Bog.

Progress has been made with a view to the relocation of qualifying turf cutters from Ballynafagh Bog to Timahoe North, County Kildare. Discussions have been ongoing with a view to turf cutters being able to commence cutting on the relocation site during this season.

Lattins Bog, also known as Mouds North Bog, in County Kildare has been identified as a potential relocation site for turf cutters from Mouds Bog. Bord na Móna has produced a preliminary suitability assessment report and stratigraphy assessment report for the relocation site, which my Department has provided to the Secretary of the Committee of the Kildare Turf Cutters Association. Officials from my Department met with representatives from the Kildare Turf Cutters Association earlier this month. Following this meeting, my Department has asked Bord na Móna to undertake a full assessment of this site.

There are also 2 natural heritage area raised bogs in County Kildare designated under national law in accordance with the provisions of the Wildlife Acts - Carbury Bog and Hodgestown Bog. In May 2010, the previous Government decided that turf-cutting should come to an end on all raised bog NHAs at the end of 2013. However, as set out in the Programme for Government, the current Government undertook to review the situation with regard to raised bog NHAs. This review is currently underway and the future of turf-cutting on such sites is being considered as part of that review. To assist in this task, my Department has engaged a team of scientific specialists to underpin this review. I hope that the review will be completed in the Autumn.