Minister Noonan announces that 31 Local Authorities will share €1.35m fund

Date Released: Friday, May 21, 2021

The Minister of State with responsibility for Heritage and Electoral Reform, Malcolm Noonan, TD, has today, Friday 21/5/2021 announced that all 31 Local Authorities have received funding under The National Biodiversity Local Authority Biodiversity Grant Scheme.

An amount of €1.35 million has been made available in 2021 for this scheme, which is operated by the National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) of the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage.

The funding offers funding to assist local authority biodiversity officers (and heritage officers in local authorities without a biodiversity officer) and an exciting range of projects have been funded this year. All of the projects to receive funding promote actions contained in the National Biodiversity Action Plan (NBAP) 2017-2021. This year the funding was double that of 2020.

Commenting on the announcement, Minister Noonan said:

“There is good news for nature in every Local Authority in Ireland today! I’m thrilled to see so many excellent biodiversity projects receive funding under the Local Authority Biodiversity Grant Scheme, which I doubled funding for this year. Community-level action is so important, and the initiatives provided for through this grant demonstrate the scale and breadth of interest in biodiversity and the natural world across the country. I can’t wait to get out and visit them over the coming year.”

First launched in 2018, the Scheme supports actions for biodiversity in local areas and is an important element of the overall NBAP implementation. Engagement with communities and local authorities is crucial to the implementation of the Plan and the grants help raise awareness of biodiversity issues locally, regionally and nationally. Under the scheme exchequer funding meets 85% of the cost of the projects, with the local authority providing the remaining 15%.

€789,785 on 70 Biodiversity Projects around the country has been announced today, ranging from pollinator-friendly projects to Biodiversity Action Plans; flora, fauna and Green Space surveys to sand dune restoration; and wetland surveys to radio awareness campaigns. All projects supported by the Scheme range from those that aim to increase appreciation of biodiversity and ecosystem services.

Alongside these, some €391,000 in Department funding is going to 31 individual Invasive Alien Species Projects tackling species such as hogweed, Himalayan Balsam, Japanese Knotweed, American Skunk Cabbage and Rhododendron.

Successful projects include:

  • Carlow County Council Biodiversity project aims to improve biodiversity in Carlow by replacing annual bedding plants in containers in urban centre of towns in Carlow with native tress, perennials and shrubs which will they hope will create refuge corridors for birds, bees and insects.
  • Kilkenny County Council aim to undertake a survey and monitoring programme of Barn Owl and Swift breeding sites in Kilkenny, this will include a citizen science programme and production of conservation videos.
  • Fingal County Council will clear mature Rhododendron from a 1.2ha of heathland at the Ben of Howth in the Howth Head SAC.
  • Cork County Council will develop a number of County Town Pollinator Plans.
  • Galway County Council will develop a Healthy Green Spaces Project - about improving the quality of Galway city’s green spaces to be welcoming and inviting for people, to deliver on the need to reverse biodiversity loss, support pollinators, make positive impacts against or to cope with climate change, reduce waste and the reliance on carbon based fuels.
  • 19 Wetlands Projects worth € 290,000 include wetland surveys which will determine the extent, distribution and types of wetlands in their counties.
  • Dunes Restoration/ Survey form zero in previous years to five this year worth €38,000,
  • 14 Pollinator Projects on Awareness, Education and more Pollinator Friendly planting worth € 122,000,
  • 17 Projects on Birds Surveys, Conservation and Education worth €128,000

Minister of State for Local Government, Peter Burke, TD, also welcomed the announcement, stating

“the success of the Local Authority Biodiversity Grant Scheme is testament to the close working relationship between the Department, its NPWS and the Local Authorities, particularly the Biodiversity Officers, Heritage Officers and administrative staff without whom these schemes would not exist. It is particularly pleasing to see this year’s scheme fund so many projects aimed at reversing biodiversity loss in our cities and towns, in line with this Government’s commitment to put Town Centres First.”