Ireland awards €2.8m to boost local biodiversity projects

The various projects are designed to boost biodiversity across Ireland and Minister Noonan said local authorities play a ‘vital role’ in addressing the biodiversity crisis.

Ireland’s Government has awarded €2.8m to 233 community projects across the country, in a bid to support its 4th National Biodiversity Action Plan.

The funding is going to local authorities to carry out a variety of biodiversity initiatives such as education projects, invasive species management, wetland surveys and bird conservation projects.

The fresh funds are going to all 31 local authorities through the Local Biodiversity Action Fund, which was established in 2018 to assist local Government in implementing biodiversity projects. A total of roughly €8.6m has been granted to local authorities through this fund since it launched.

The latest batch of funding support was announced today (17 May) by Minister of State for Nature, Heritage and Electoral Reform Malcolm Noonan, TD, who said local authorities play a “vital role in addressing the biodiversity crisis”.

““The benefits realised by the locally-led projects created through this fund are shared by all of us, not least local communities,” Noonan said. “As more and more biodiversity officers join the ranks of our local authorities through the Biodiversity Officer Programme, I know that the benefits for nature and people that this Fund provide are only going to grow.

“I’d like to congratulate the successful applicants and wish them the very best of luck in the implementation of their projects this year.”

Some of the projects include an initiative to record the Irish mayfly, creating new habitats for animals such as hares, surveys of rare flora species in Carlow and an effort to deal with invasive species of plans such as giant hogweed.

The LBAF is operated by the National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPSW) of the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage. NPWS director general Niall O’Donnchú said the organisation was “so impressed” with the diversity and creativity of the selected projects.

“Partnership is the engine that will deliver the National Biodiversity Action Plan,” O’Donnchú said. “By working with local authorities, we can make a difference in communities on the ground, and that combined effort will make a huge impact in delivering on the ambition of the plan.”

The 4th National Biodiversity Action Plan was the first plan to be published since Ireland declared a biodiversity and climate emergency in 2019. The plan, which is funded by the €3.15bn climate and nature fund, sets out 194 actions to restore and protect the diversity of Ireland’s plants, animals and habitats.

In a report last year, the Citizen’s Assembly on Biodiversity Loss said that it “believes that the State has comprehensively failed to adequately fund, implement and enforce existing national legislation, national policies, EU biodiversity-related laws and directives related to biodiversity”.

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