Minister Madigan Announces Publication of the National Raised Bog Special Areas of Conservation Management Plan 2017-2022

Date Released: Friday, December 22, 2017

This is the first national plan for Ireland’s raised bog SAC network and together with the National Peatlands Strategy (2015) and the Review of Raised Bog Natural Heritage Area Network (2014) form the Government’s approach to the management of Ireland’s peatlands.

Speaking at the launch, Minister Madigan said:

“Ireland has the privileged position of having examples of raised bogs that are deemed be of importance not only nationally, but also on a European and global level. This Plan sets out a roadmap for how our protected raised bogs will be managed, conserved and restored into the future.

The cessation of turf cutting necessary for the protection of our designated raised bogs has had an impact on people’s lives. This Plan strikes an appropriate balance between Ireland’s legal obligation to protect certain raised bogs and the needs of turf cutters, landowners and other stakeholders within these sites”. 

The Plan outlines that, where domestic turf cutting has had to cease, financial compensation is being provided and feasible alternatives have been and are being sought. The Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht has provided in the region of €28.7million in compensation to those impacted by the cessation of turf cutting on protected raised bogs and is advancing its efforts to relocate turf cutters to suitable non-designated bogs.

The Plan sets out how the raised bog SAC network will be restored and rejuvenated in a series of phases in the coming years and that the recreational, amenity and educational potential of a number of sites will be explored in conjunction with local communities."

Minister Madigan continued, “It is my hope that the potential of raised bogs as places of wild natural beauty and biodiversity for communities to come together will be realised.

I wish to thank those involved in the finalisation of this Plan for their efforts. Turf cutters and their representatives, non-governmental organisations, the Peatlands Council and State bodies such as Bord na Móna and Coillte have worked with my Department in making considerable progress in finding solutions to meet Ireland’s obligations under the Habitats Directive and to the turf cutting issue.”

The Minister also announced the publication of Irish Wildlife Manual No. 99: Best practice in raised bog restoration in Ireland. Its publication is one of the commitments of the National Raised Bog Special Areas of Conservation (SACs) Management Plan 2017-2022. It has been prepared in consultation with groups and individuals that have been involved in carrying out restoration on raised bogs in the past.  It is intended that this document will provide sound practical guidance to anyone interested in the restoration and management of raised bogs such as landowners and land users, community groups, environmental NGOs and any practitioners involved in undertaking restoration measures.

The plan is available on the publications page.