Tuesday, 27 July 2021

Ceisteanna (592)

Carol Nolan

Ceist:

592. Deputy Carol Nolan asked the Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage if urgent concerns will be addressed from within the horticulture sector in relation to the lack of availability and access to peat as a growing media which is threatening the viability of thousands of jobs within the sector; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [39099/21]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Housing)

I have neither statutory nor Ministerial responsibility for the harvesting or supply of horticultural peat. To assist in addressing the question of horticultural peat for domestic purposes, I have established a working group under an independent chairman, Dr. Munoo Prasad, to examine the issues which had been identified during the Review of the use of Peat Moss in the Horticultural Industry.  It is comprised of representatives of the relevant Government Departments, State Bodies, and Environmental Non-Governmental Organisations and of various sectors within the horticultural industry.

The working group has already held a number of meetings. The legislative provisions in relation to horticultural peat extraction and the potential of alternatives to the use of peat moss in the horticultural industry has been discussed at these meetings.

An Interim Report with regard to the current shortage of peat in the Horticulture Industry has been received and a final report of the Working Group is expected by the end of September 2021. The final report aims to identify possible alternatives to peat and to outline the research required to produce commercially effective alternatives for use in the Horticulture sector.