Unlawful Peat Extraction Ordered to Cease

Date released: April 08, 2022

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) welcomes the Order of the High Court today, which has required Harte Peat to cease the extraction of peat in the particular areas outlined in the judgment of Ms Justice Phelan - which was delivered recently. The EPA notes that the Court imposed a limited, conditional stay on the taking effect of the Order, to allow Harte Peat to lodge an appeal of the judgment, which it must do before 27 April 2022.

The judgment and resultant Order has upheld the EPA’s position that the extraction of peat from an area greater than 50 hectares requires an Integrated Pollution Control licence from the EPA. This must be in place before any extraction of peat and any associated works such as drainage can take place.

Commenting on the Judgment EPA Director of the Office of Environmental Enforcement, Dr Tom Ryan, noted:

“This judgment emphasises the importance of compliance with existing environmental regulations for the protection of the environment and confirms that operators cannot continue to extract peat in an uncontrolled and environmentally damaging way.

The unlawful extraction of peat causes enormous damage to the environment by destroying unique habitats that support biodiversity and carbon sinks that can play an important role in the fight against climate change.”

Dr Ryan warned:

“Peat operators need to take heed of the judgment, respect the rule of law and the importance of compliance with existing regulations and be aware that if they unlawfully extract peat the EPA will take similar enforcement actions against them.”


Contact:  Emily Williamson, EPA Media Relations Office, 053-9170770 (24 hours) or media@epa.ie.