The Government has put in place a compensation scheme for those affected by the cessation of turf cutting on raised bog special areas of conservation. This cessation of turf cutting compensation scheme comprises a payment of €1,500 per year, index linked, for15 years or, where feasible, relocation of turf cutters to non-designated bogs where they can continue to cut turf. Those wishing to relocate can avail of the financial payment or the delivery of 15 tonnes of cut turf per annum while relocation sites are identified and prepared. The costs of acquiring and preparing relocation sites will be met by the State. An additional once-off payment of €500 for qualifying turf cutters will be provided where legal agreements are signed with the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht.
The qualifying criteria for the cessation of turf cutting compensation scheme are that:
- The claimant must have a legal interest in one of the 53 raised bog special areas of conservation – ownership or turbary right;
- The claimant must have been the owner or entitled to exercise turbary rights on the land in question on 25 May 2010;
- The turbary on the site must not be exhausted;
- The claimant must have been cutting turf on the land in question during the relevant five year period; and
- No turf cutting or associated activity is on-going on the property.
Applications under the cessation of turf cutting compensation scheme continue to be accepted by the Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht.
Payments and turf deliveries have been made on the basis that applicants have indicated in their application forms that they fulfil all the qualifying criteria of the cessation of turf cutting compensation scheme. This Department has been checking, and will be continuing to check, that all of the qualifying criteria of the scheme have been met in each case.
The latest figures on a bog by bog basis in relation to compensation under this scheme are now available: