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Environmental group in peat bog court fight

A landmark High Court challenge against the State over new regulations that allow for the industrial extraction of peat from bogs has opened before the High Court.

The action has been taken by Friends of the Irish Environment (FIE), which claims regulations introduced last January mean large-scale peat extraction does not require planning permission, and instead must be licensed by the Environmental Protection Agency.

FIE claims the effect of the new regulations will create a retention mechanism for the unauthorised industrial extraction of peat, and allow it to continue for many years, both unassessed and unregulated. The group argues that the regulations fail to comply with several EU directives on the protection of the environment.

The action is against the Minister for Communication, Climate Action and Environment, the Minister for Housing, Planning, and Local Government, as well as Ireland and the Attorney General.  The defendants, represented by Niamh Hyland SC, oppose the action and reject the group’s claims.

The case is seen as important due to the implications the court’s findings may have on large-scale peat production in Ireland.  FIE seeks orders including quashing the regulations made by both ministers in January of this year.

Source – Irish Independent

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