€75,000 grant funding for community led Abbeyleix Bog restoration in Co. Laois
My Green Party Colleague Malcolm Noonan TD, Minister of State for Heritage and Electoral Reform, announced today that he has approved grant funding of up to €75,000 for the Abbeyleix Bog Project for peatland restoration measures.
Todays announcement is testament ‘to the grit and determination’ of the Abbeyleix Bog Project team. They presented the Department of Heritage’s Peatlands Community Engagement Scheme with a ‘no brainer’ of a proposal for restoration. I am delighted that their effort has been resoundingly rewarded.
Minister Malcolm Noonan stated that he was delighted to support active and determined community and volunteer groups like Abbeyleix Bog Project in their efforts to embrace and bolster nature and biodiversity.
Minister Noonan followed: “Community groups play such an important role in protecting nature and biodiversity, and those involved in the conservation and restoration of 103 hectares of Abbeyleix Bog back in 2009 were ahead of their time. I’m delighted to be able to support this next phase of the project, which will take in areas of cutaway bog and wet woodland. Through this work, the bog will become a functioning peatland again, halting carbon emissions, enhancing water quality, and providing habitats for a diverse range of unique flora and fauna which have adapted to life in the bogs. This model of government-supported, community-led restoration is a powerful one and I’d like to encourage anyone interested in taking action to restore peatlands to consider replicating its success.”
Abbeyleix Bog is a fabulous resource, not only for its ecological value but for the amenity it offers locals and visitors alike. As part of Heritage Week 2022, there are guided walks on the 14th and 19th of August to observe the wide range of biodiversity present including plants, insects, butterflies and birds. I encourage people to go along - it is a family friendly event and the group will meet at 10:30am at Manor Hotel car park on both days.
The Peatlands Community Engagement Scheme in 2022 remains open for the submission of new applications this year, enabling community groups and others to proceed with projects delayed due to the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Further details of Heritage Week events in Laois can be found on Laois.ie. Further details of peatlands schemes operated by the National Parks and Wildlife Service are available on the Department website www.npws.ie.
Peatlands and their role in carbon sequestration
Peatlands are vast carbon stores and play an important role in preventing and mitigating the effects of climate change, supporting biodiversity and minimising flood risk, amongst other benefits. When peat dries, due to land-use change, peat extraction and drainage, it decays, releasing CO2 instead of sequestering it, and turns a natural C sink into a significant and persistent source. On average, when a peatland is dry or damaged it emits between 4-15 tonnes of CO2 per hectare per year. Conversely, an intact peatland sequesters, on average, approximately 2 tonnes of CO2 per hectare per year.
Peatlands Community Engagement Scheme
Activities/projects funded under the scheme will be subject to adherence to public health guidelines, and relevant statutory requirements.
Further details and the Terms and Conditions of the Scheme are available on the Department’s website (NPWS) at https://www.npws.ie/peatlands-and-turf-cutting/peatlands-community-engagement-scheme