Kippy, I guess I work in bogs on a scientific level and probably see the impacts in a slightly different way but I can assure you turf cutting, domestically, is impacting the environment. Don't get me wrong there is far more than turf cutting causing damage to the environment but the run-off into drains, streams, ground water etc is extremely problematic. The cutting into the bogs also removes their ability to function flood attenuation bodies, this actually means the increase in risk of flooding as opposed to the commonly spread myth that drain blocking on bogs will lead to flooding.
Anyway if you are interested in finding out more on my perspective the EPA Boglands report I linked to earlier is a good one looking at it environmentally, socially and economically.
Thanks Joela, I'll have a read of it when I get a chance and yes, we are looking at this from different perspectives however I can appreciate yours and you seem to be able to see it from the turf cutters standpoint.
The Government (and the Previous Government) have made no promises in respect of a retro fit scheme. The Peatlands Council is looking at the potential of this and it is in that forum that any potentially viable project will be recommended to Government
The Political system has been the primary failure in this issue. There is absolutely no doubt. The 10 year derogation was a political moved that disregarded European Law and was ill conceived to the highest degree. However, there were compensation (purchase) schemes in place during that 10 year period.
You are right in respect of the TCCA and having cut extensively prior to June 2011, however, even from a political and standpoint view it was a significant move for the TCCA at that time.
Ming and the TCCA are slippery customers.. you have my full agreement on that.
The TCCA challenged FIE on the photos issue and the received a deafening silence in from FIE which tells a lot. Both sides of this argument (like any argument) do things that are not necessarily true and proper to emphasize the "correctness" of their position.
Hear that?....................The country drums are beating.
Great turn out tonight.
I was nearly deafened by the vuvuzelas.
What does it all mean,news reports are not giving detail and what the consequences actually are.
Whatever was decided, turf cutting cant happen in the 53 SACs
Have any studies been carried out which compare the environmental effects of hand won turf to the effects of machine harvesting?
Is there a case for arguing that hand winning turf should be allowed on a turbary basis? My unsupported guess is that hand cutting turf is probably an environmentally sustainable activity.
I have first hand experience of the effects from a watercourse point of view.
Rapid run-off and increased sedimentation really only began (outside BNM areas) in the '80s, when mechanised forms of extraction became more available and widespread.
Prior to this, I suspect that neither effect was a serious problem - certainly there is no evidence (from a fisheries point of view) to suggest that watercourses suffered when turf was cut by hand.
Perhaps it is coincidence, perhaps not, but the sea trout population began to decline in Connemara in the late '80s (of course there are other well documented issues).
My view is that this tradition is a vital part of our heritage.
There is a unique history associated with cutting turf by hand in this country. Unique tools, unique terms and unique lore.
Somehow, I don't think that the case for this aspect of turf cutting has been adequately explored.
It's only when it's gone that its true value will be considered.
Something sticks in my craw when I think of a governing power ordering the abolition of a member state's heritage.
To be fair, a tiny amount of bogs are affected by the Habitats Directive. It is not a nationwide wipe out of a member state's culture. Turf cutting can continue in over 95% of Ireland's bogs. Let's stick with as many facts as we can here.
In his speech the other Night Ming stated that turf cutting and the use of the hopper had a far less impact on the bog than slean cutting... would love to see his scientific evidence in support of that.
This is an invalid and disingenuous representation of what I said above.
OK. So can you provide support for this statement?
Likewise - already said so.
(Forgive me if I am a little off topic here, but I feel mention needs to be made of this.)
I am surprised that no mention has been made here of the effects of afforestation on bogs.
I worked on a paper on this many years ago (now lost, sadly).
The research was prompted by first hand experience of the effects of afforestation on a particular catchment in the West of Ireland.
The fishery in question was probably one of the most noted sea trout fisheries in the region but towards the end of the 1980s it had begun to suffer from the effects of coniferous forestry plantations.
From the aquatic environmental point of view, the processes of afforestation are pretty devastating.
The first step is ploughing/trenching (probably not the right terms) - apart from the obvious, immediate impact on the bog itself, this causes the deposition of massive amounts of sediment.
Sea trout and salmon depend on clean gravel for spawning.
The second step is the application of fertiliser. This stimulates abundant algal growth in the watercourses.
Again, the spawning gravels become choked.
This became so bad on one particular lake, that anglers' lines would end up covered in a green slime.
Once the algae and sediment become prevalent in the catchment, the penetration of light becomes limited - aquatic plants struggle to grow and daytime oxygen levels decrease as a consequence.
The third phase of the process is less obvious. After the initial dramatic effect of preparation and planting the plantations are fairly static until harvesting.
The impact during this period is less obvious but causes damage in a different way.
As the conifers grow, they continuously shed their needles each year and this causes an increase in the acidity of the water.
Then the crop is harvested, replanting gets under way and the whole cycle begins again.
See the last line of your previous post. You seem to suggest that the EU is trying to wipe out the turf cutting culture in Ireland when that is simply not the case.
The TCCA have also stated that 139 bogs are affected in total (including NHAs - which are under review in any case). There are 1,500 bogs in Ireland.
If the bogs re-generated at the same rate that they were being cut, then you might have a point.
Dude, I've been turf-cutting - don't try and tell me it's not hard work.
Never mentioned culture - I did mention heritage, though and I'll stick with my opinion.
Irrespective of the number of bogs involved - who is to say that there are not unique aspects of heritage in the ways and means of turf cutting there?
To put it another way, has the heritage associated with turf cutting in these 139 areas of bog been assessed?
That's a big area.
If there is a loss of one single tradition because of these directives, then that loss is national, or even international.
And the money to buy oil/gas/other fuel is earned from thin air?
People need to work to get fuel. whether that work is directly to get fuel or to earn money to pay for fuel, the time take is most likely similar. At least with turn the cost of saving it hasnt increased, while you will need to work more to earn more money to pay for oil and other fuels which are only going up.
As someone stated earlier there are many people that have the time to go an save the turf. It is a saving over oil and other fuels.
Oil costs money and while it may be more efficient than turf to burn, the amount of money and manpower needed to extract/refine and transport it(which directly impact its cost) takes away a lot of those benefits over turf.
Again, of course, turf isnt ideal for power generation.
I suspect that all the traditional turf cutting done in this country hasn't caused as much environmental damage as one major oil spill. The issue, as many have stated is the mechanisation of turf cutting and the over harvesting of turf. Generally one should only cut as much turf as they need for a year. The only way to ensure this happens is to regulate it.
Yep, its hard work, but there is something exhilarating about it. Extracting other fuels is just as hard, if not harder work, we just pay someone else to do it.
Sorry that was a mistype on my behalf but doesn't alter my view
This makes no sense. What you are saying effectively is that no Law (environmental, EU etc...) should be implemented if it affects a tradition of an individual or a group of individuals in specific areas.
The Habitats Directive means that turf cutting cannot take place in 53 Raised Bog SACs - so no turf cutting can take place. But that doesn't mean that the tradition of turf cutting in Ireland, Europe, Internationally is lost. What it does mean is that that tradition in specific geographic areas cannot continue.
Cutters can move to other areas an carry on as before. Turf Cutting Culture, Heritage and Tradition is not affected generally in Ireland by the Directive nor is it the Directive's intention to do so. It designed to protect representative samples of rare and endangered habitats where if no alteration of current practices occurs, then the habitat type will be gone like the dodo.