Peat companies appeal turf cutting exemption decision
Two companies have asked the High Court for permission to appeal the rejection of their challenges to decisions of An Bord Pleanála that their activities are no longer exempt development.
The cases have "far-reaching implications for the peat harvesting industry", the court heard.
The Board's decisions arose after Friends of the Irish Environment (FIE) queried the development status of the companies' operations.
In a judgment last February, Mr Justice Charles Meenan dismissed two separate challenges, one by Bulrush Horticulture Ltd and the other by Westland Horticulture Ltd, Westmeath Peat Ltd and Cavan Peat Ltd, over decisions by the Board in April 2013 their activities were not exempt development after September 20, 2012.
The ruling means that from September 2012 all commercial peat harvesting in Ireland is unauthorised unless it has planning permission.
This week lawyers for both companies asked the court for permission to have their cases heard by the Court of Appeal on grounds including that the action raises points of exceptional public importance.
Rory Mulcahy SC, for Westland, said the judgment would have a detrimental effect on his client's and other firms in the industry.
Counsel said the questions which arise from the judgment include is an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) required in respect of a peat extraction development other than one involving s new or extended area of 30 hectares or more.