Turf-cutters could face prosecution

Thu, May 31, 2012, 01:00

Turf cutters could be prosecuted in the coming weeks for ignoring laws preventing them from harvesting turf in protected environments. The National Parks and Wildlife Service has been liaising with gardaí in response to a number of incidents of turf- cutting detected on protected raised bogs.

A spokesman for the Department of Arts, Heritage and Gaeltacht Affairs said it had made it clear to turf cutters that they faced prosecution for illegal activities on protected boglands.

“We have made it abundantly clear that there are penalties where the law in relation to environmental special areas of conservation is broken, as is the case with any law,” the spokesman added. “Files are now being prepared for the DPP and prosecutions will be happening in the coming weeks.”

The Environmental Protection Agency is also investigating the alleged breaches under environmental liability regulations, which allows for remediation costs to be recovered for damage to the environment.

Forty-one landowners and contractors have been written to where environmental damage is suspected, advising them of the steps which may be taken against them. These include prosecution, the impounding of machinery and the cost of restoring protected bogs where damage has been done.

Illegal cutting of turf risks single farm and other payments.