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Ireland referred to ECJ over protection of bogs

The European Commission has referred Ireland to the EU Court of Justice for failing to halt the continued cutting of peat in areas designated to conserve raised and blanket bogs.

It says these sites continue to be degraded through drainage and turf cutting activities, and insufficient action is being taken to restore the sites.

In a statement, the commission said that bogs are biodiversity hotspots playing host to important insect and bird species, and as a result are categorised as “priority” habitats under the Habitats Directive.

The directive requires member states to protect designated habitats from harmful activities.

The commission said that “whilst some restoration work has been undertaken on raised bog sites, no action has been taken regarding blanket bog sites where Ireland has failed to put in place an effective regulatory regime to protect these unique bog sites”.

In 2022, Ireland was warned of a potential court referral unless action was taken to half the cutting of peat.

In the latest statement, the commission said “efforts by the Irish authorities have, to date, been insufficient and is therefore referring Ireland to the Court of Justice of the European Union”.

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