Peat extraction firms say court judgement would bring the industry to "a standstill"
Two peat extraction firms have been refused permission to appeal a significant finding their activities are no longer exempt development.
The companies had claimed the finding would effectively bring the industry to "a standstill" with implications for some 11,000 jobs while planning applications are put in train.
In a ruling on Friday, the High Court's Mr Justice Charles Meenan refused leave to appeal his February judgment upholding An Bord Pleanala's decision the activities are not, after September 2012, exempt development.
The Board decision was made in April 2013 after Friends of the Irish Environment (FIE) queried the development status of the operations.
Separate proceedings were then brought by the affected companies, Bulrush Horticulture Ltd, and by Westland Horticulture Ltd, Westmeath Peat Ltd and Cavan Peat Ltd.
Mr Justice Meenan dismissed both challenges in a judgment which means, from September 2012, all commercial peat harvesting in Ireland is unauthorised unless it has planning permission.
He found a "sound legal basis" for the Board's decision the firms required an Environmental Impact Assessment and Appropriate Assessment for the works.
Both companies sought permission to appeal but their applications were refused on Friday by the judge.