Thursday, 1 February 2018

Questions (353)

Michael Healy-Rae


353. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht the status of Moanveanlagh bog (details supplied) County Kerry; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [5138/18]

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Written answers (Question to Culture)

The National Raised Bog Special Areas of Conservation Management Plan 2017-2022, published in December 2017, sets out how the raised bog special areas of conservation are to be managed, conserved and restored and how the needs of turf cutters are to be addressed, including exploring the options in terms of certain provisions of article 6 of the Habitats Directive.

In certain areas where there is a difficulty in finding relocation solutions for turf cutters, the Department, in consultation with turf cutter interests and within the framework of the National Plan, is considering whether the provisions of article 6.3 of the Habitats Directive could be utilised to provide for cutting within areas of a number of special areas of conservation. Under article 6.3 of the Directive, consent could only be given to cut turf on a raised bog special area of conservation where it can be shown by rigorous scientific investigations that such cutting will not have an adverse effect on the integrity of the site.

If it can demonstrated that turf cutting within a proposed location in a special area of conservation would not impact on the integrity of a European site, the appropriate consent would then be required from the relevant public authority.

As set out in the National Plan, Moanveanlagh Bog Special Area of Conservation is one of the sites being examined as regards the potential for domestic turf cutting on the site in accordance with the provisions of the Directive. Initial scientific investigations have been carried out on the site and the scientific investigations will be concluded as soon as possible.