Turf cutting on designated bogs to stop next year

2008 could be the last year for turf cutting in County Roscommon after the Minister for the Environment informed local TD Denis Naughten that he intends to stop all turf cutting on designated bogs next year.             The change will have serious repercussions for householders in County Roscommon, as a huge number of houses in the county rely on solid fuel such as turf, for heat.             Denis Naughten raised the issue in the Dáil seeking an extension to the ten-year derogation obtained by turf cutters in West Roscommon. ‘This derogation allows owners of turf banks on SAC designated bogs to cut turf for their own use. This type of turf cutting, done properly, has no negative impact on the environment and there is no reason why it should not continue.             ‘The Minister for the Environment however seems determined to stop this tradition in many parts of the West of Ireland,’ concluded Deputy Naughten.             On Thursday last, the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government, John Gormley of the Green Party, responded to a question from Deputy Naughten about the possibility of an extension to the ten-year derogation. The reply stated, ‘Given the importance of Ireland’s bogs in European terms and recent evidence that cutting for domestic purposes and related activities is damaging remaining bogs, I have no proposals to extend the derogation beyond 2008 for Special Areas of Conservation and 2014 for Natural Heritage Areas.’