Latest Laois News: Funding announced for Laois biodiversity projects

Latest Laois News: Funding announced for Laois biodiversity projects

Minister Malcolm Noonan announces €1.35 million for Local Authority biodiversity projects on World Wildlife Day

Malcolm Noonan T.D., Minister of State for Heritage and Electoral Reform, has today, World Wildlife Day (March 3rd 2021), announced that over €1.35 million will be made available to local authorities in the Local Authority Biodiversity Grant Scheme for projects which tackle Invasive Alien Species (IAS) and to carry out actions in the National Biodiversity Action Plan 2017-2021 (NBAP).

First launched in 2018, funding for the grant scheme has been increased from €700,000 in 2020. The scheme comprises two streams: a €500,000 fund for projects tackling Invasive Alien Species (IAS), including species which are included on the EU IAS list of Union concern, and €850,000 for other maintenance, restoration and awareness-raising projects under actions in the National Biodiversity Action Plan.

The scheme is operated by the National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) of the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage and offers funding to assist local authority biodiversity officers and heritage officers in local authorities without a biodiversity officer with the implementation of projects that promote actions contained in the Plan.

Minister Pippa Hackett had this to say:

“I’ve been working on biodiversity initiatives for farmers so I’m delighted to see my colleague Minister Malcolm Noonan doing the same with local authorities. We are in a biodiversity crisis and it’s essential that all landowners are supported in tacking the issue. It’s particularly heartening to see this announcement announced on World Wildlife Day.”

Photo of Pippa Hackett on Abbeyleix Bog in Laois
Minister Pippa Hackett welcomed the announcement.

Minister Noonan stated:

“I’m thrilled to launch this important funding scheme on World Wildlife Day to further support the implementation of the National Biodiversity Action Plan. Local Authorities have a hugely important role to play in addressing the biodiversity crisis, and we need their help to create new habitats, restore existing ones, tackle invasive species and raise awareness of nature locally, regionally and nationally.

“More than ever, people are making space for wildness in their lives – in gardens, on farms, and in public spaces – and reaping all sorts of benefits, not least of which is the sense of wellbeing and peace that we get from spending time in nature. My Department’s investment in local projects through local authorities will support public efforts to deliver benefits for biodiversity, and for society too.”

The Minister hopes to build on the success of previous year’s grant projects, including the ‘Gardening for Biodiversity’ booklet produced by Laois County Council and the creation of new ponds in an overall strategy to develop more freshwater habitat in Turvey Nature Park by Fingal County Council.

cover of Gardening for Biodiversity book
Gardening for Biodiversity book

In 2020, 30 Local Authorities used the Scheme to carry out over 50 projects that promoted actions in the NBAP, including:

  • Kilkenny County Council commissioned a series of biodiversity adverts for local radio throughout 2020, encouraging the public to protect, record and enjoy Kilkenny’s biodiversity;
  • Survey work by Kerry County Council to facilitate prevention, early detection and rapid eradication and management of Rhododendron ponticum, an invasive alien species in the Killarney National Park, MacGillycuddy Reeks and Caragh River Catchment SAC, the UNESCO Kerry Biosphere Reserve and the MacGillycuddy Reeks European Innovation Partnership Project area;
  • Projects to raise awareness of biodiversity in Cavan, Clare, Roscommon and Longford;