€600,000 in funding for New Community-Led Peatlands and Natura Community Engagement Scheme

Date Released: Wednesday, May 22, 2024

  • Applications now open for Peatlands and Natura Community Engagement Scheme 2024
  • Up to 80% of project costs covered under the scheme
  • Grants of up to €40,000 available for Natura 2000 designated sites
  • Grants of up to €20,000 available for Non-Natura peatland sites

Today, Minister of State for Nature, Heritage and Electoral Reform, Malcolm Noonan T.D., announced up to €600,000 in funding available for community-led projects under the Peatlands and Natura Community Engagement Scheme 2024.

The Peatlands Community Engagement Scheme was established in 2018 to provide funding to support the conservation and revitalisation of raised bog and blanket bog Special Areas of Conservation (SACs) and Natural Heritage Areas (NHAs) and other peatland areas. To align with the priorities and objectives of the of the National Parks and Wildlife Service and meet Ireland's obligations under the Nature Directives, this scheme is now being expanded to include communities that wish to foster better engagement with other designated and protected habitats and species as well as peatland habitats.

Speaking today, Minister Noonan said:

"The Peatlands and Natura Community Engagement Scheme reaffirms our collective commitment to empowering local communities and fostering a deeper connection with our natural heritage. Through collaborative efforts, we can safeguard our precious ecosystems, enhance biodiversity, and mitigate the impacts of climate change, ensuring a sustainable future for generations to come."

The overarching goal of the Natura 2000 network is to safeguard Europe's most precious and endangered species and habitats, as delineated by both the Birds Directive and the Habitats Directive. Member states bear the responsibility of preserving these sites and ensuring their sustainable management, encompassing both ecological and economic considerations.

Peatlands act as the primary reservoir of carbon in the Irish landscape and hold a pivotal role in Ireland's endeavours to combat climate change. The restoration of peatlands yields significant ancillary benefits, such as enhanced biodiversity, augmented natural capital, improved water quality and flood mitigation.

The Peatlands and Natura Community Engagement Scheme aims to encourage local communities, organisations, educational institutions, and other stakeholders to actively contribute to the conservation and restoration of Natura 2000 sites and peatland areas.

Niall Ó Donnchú, Director General with the NPWS said:

“This programme recognises that the foremost and primary lines of nature protection are people and communities. This is a programme that looks to build on that significant individual and community engagement with nature and to resource new and frontier areas in that arena.”

Applications are now invited across a diverse range of initiatives with a community benefit including:

  • events, education programmes, promotions, publications, exhibitions,
  • development of conservation management plans, public amenity and recreational measures, maintenance measures that support conservation measures,
  • monitoring or surveying work to inform of restoration/conservation projects,
  • invasive species and fire control measures,
  • anti-littering initiatives to local environmental improvements in the area of the designated sites and other peatland areas.

Successful applicants for this year’s assistance will be awarded funding to support a maximum of 80% of the project's eligible costs, with a maximum grant of €40,000 for Natura 2000 designated sites and up to €20,000 for Non-Natura 2000 peatland sites. Further details of the scheme are available on the NPWS Website.

Further Information

Details of the terms and conditions of the Scheme and the application form required to apply are available on the NPWS website.

The closing date for submission of applications is Friday, July 5th 2024.

Activities/projects funded under the scheme will be subject to adherence with all relevant statutory requirements.