Environment News

Funding for Local Biodiversity Projects Doubled to €3 Million

Malcolm Noonan, Minister of State for Heritage and Electoral Reform at the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage, announced a doubling of funding to the Local Biodiversity Action Fund to €3 million for 2023. Local Authorities can now apply to the National Parks and Wildlife Service to avail of this funding to deliver local biodiversity projects.

First launched in 2018, the Local Biodiversity Action Fund offers funding to help Local Authorities achieve actions identified in the National Biodiversity Action Plan, recognising the important role they plan in addressing the biodiversity emergency. This funding stream enables the development of projects that address biodiversity loss in Local Authority areas by helping to create new habitats, restoring existing ones and by tackling invasive alien species.

The scheme, operated by the National Parks and Wildlife Service of the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage, has proven hugely popular, with 109 projects funded in 2022. A wide variety of projects were financed including in the areas of Wetland Restoration, Bird Surveys, Dune restoration, Biodiversity Awareness and Invasive Alien Species.

Commenting on the announcement, Minister Noonan said, “I’m delighted to be able to double the funding for this vital biodiversity funding scheme, which has proven immensely popular with Local Authorities, who have carried out really impactful projects with the funding. We have seen increasing participation in biodiversity and invasive species projects year-on-year, and the benefits of this are shared by all of us, not least local communities.”

“Reversing biodiversity loss is among the greatest challenges of our times. Locally-led initiatives can be extremely impactful – supporting them is an important part of the response. Local Authorities play an important role in these efforts. Combined with our announcement last year of the appointment of Biodiversity Officers in the Local Authorities, today’s funding increase will allow the Local Authorities to play an ever more active role in our plans to address biodiversity loss. The State has increased its funding to the NPWS in light of the biodiversity crisis and I’m delighted that we’re able to in turn increase funding to important initiatives such as this.”

Examples of projects that received funding in 2022 include:

  • A survey of South Dublin County to identify and map the distribution of wetlands in the region and develop a Wetland Inventory Database with GIS map.
  • A survey to establish a detailed picture of the distribution of breeding Swifts in 49 localities across Louth to allow decision-makers to effectively manage for Swifts at site level.
  • A project to implement best practices in the protection and restoration of sand dune habitats designated within Natura 2000 sites in County Kerry.
  • Low Carbon Town: a project in Laois that aims to plant three small, dense native woodland habitats on school campuses and another at Laois Education Centre as an educational resource for teachers as part of new a Biodiversity Demonstration site.
  • A Quagga Mussel project which saw 9 Local Authorities alongside a team from UCD to improve our understanding of the ecology of this new invasive species in Ireland.

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