Cribbin calls for BNM meeting over extraction ban

Bord na Mona has been notifying turf cutters in Offaly of the end of turf cutting arrangements on Bord na Mona bogs.

Fine Gael councillor Noel Cribbin said he has been contacted by several people and former Bord na Mona staff on the issue and is seeking a meeting with the company.

He said there was deep upset among lifelong turf savers on the issue.

In the correspondence, Bord na Mona says it was writing to people who were previously granted a licence to extract peat on Bord na Mona bogs to notify them that the company will not be able to grant any further licences for the purpose of peat extraction.

Recently, Bord na Móna reminded the public that in 2019, the High Court ruled that peat extraction operations on bogs over 30 hectares required planning permission.

“Following the company’s decision to cease peat extraction, we are communicating to interested parties to confirm the current position.” it said in a public statement recently.

It, however, said people with turbary rights on Bord na Móna lands continue to enjoy the same property rights as before the High Court ruling.

As before, it remains the responsibility of turbary rights holders to ensure that their activities are not in contravention of any current planning and/or environmental regulations.

“Since the 2019 High Court ruling, Bord na Móna has not issued licences to commercial contractors or other licenced turf cutters. This remains the situation. Unauthorised turf cutting on Bord na Móna lands has always been and remains an illegal activity,” it said.

Cllr Cribbin said that some of the people who contacted him “received letters last week from BNM that they are not allowed to cut turf on what BNM claim as their bogs”.

He said some of those affected are up to 80 years saving turf for the family home.

He said the very least Bord na Mona could offer “is a reasonable time frame” for the families to transition away from burning turf and to change to other forms of home heating.

He said he is hosting a Covid-complaint meeting on the Broken Bottles bog, Derries, Edenderry on April 7 at 6.30pm to discuss the situation.

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