The Review of Raised Bog Natural Heritage Area Network, published in January 2014, provides detail on arrangements regarding turf cutting on each of the 75 raised bog natural heritage areas. The review concluded that Ireland could more effectively achieve conservation of threatened raised bog habitat through focused protection and restoration of a reconfigured network. This reconfigured network entails:
1. The cessation of turf-cutting on 36 existing natural heritage areas, which will remain designated - this includes 7 sites to be divided, with part to be conserved and part de-designated;
2. The de-designation of 46 natural heritage areas - including the relevant areas of the 7 sites to be divided - where it has been judged that their conservation potential is expected to be marginal and/or that restoration would be prohibitively expensive for the conservation benefits achieved; and
3. The designation as natural heritage areas of 25 currently undesignated raised bogs, which are in public ownership or where there is reduced turf cutting pressure. These sites are to be proposed for designation to make up for the loss of habitat within the natural heritage area sites where turf cutting is to continue.
The Wildlife (Amendment) Bill 2016, aims to give legal effect to the proposed reconfiguration of the raised bog natural heritage area network arising from the 2014 review and provides for a review(s) of blanket bog natural heritage areas. The Bill has been presented to and passed by Dáil Éireann and has passed all stages in Seanad Éireann. A number of amendments to the Bill have been made in the Seanad and these amendments are now for consideration by the Dáil.