Environmentalists challenge Bord na Mona's 'immunity from prosecution'

A legal loophole allowing a peat cutting business to pollute watercourses should be closed, according to environmentalists.

Lough Erne, Co. Fermanagh, Ireland

Lough Erne, Co. Fermanagh, Ireland

Friends of the Irish Environment (FIE) is accusing Bord na Mona, who supply peat for energy as well as oil and coal, were, under Section 27 of the 1946 Turf Act, left out of Fisheries Acts which protect Irish waters.

FIE are referring what they call the 'immunity from prosecution under the Water Pollution Acts' to the European Commission.

The group states since 1946, when the legislation was drafted, environmental technology and monitoring has moved on.

They claim to have 'ample proof' that the drainage of peat causes the release of nutrients and sediment which can lead to pollution of drinking water.

FIE says the case is justifying the European Commission's concern that Ireland's national laws are maintaining a system of parallel legislation which undermines EU Directives.

FIE director, Tony Lowes, said: "We were alerted to this anomaly in the law during our current ongoing investigation into the widespread exempt and unauthorised extraction of peat."

Bord na Mona were asked for a comment, but have not responded.

Luke Walsh



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