Biodiversity Boost for Local Authorities
I am truly delighted at today’s announcement by my colleague, Minister Malcolm Noonan, that the Local Biodiversity Action Fund will receive funding of €1.5 million in 2022 - this is a 300% increase in funding for this scheme since 2019.
Minister Malcolm Noonan also announced that €600,000 will be made available next year to support the roll out of a Biodiversity Officer Programme in Local Authorities around the country. This is something I have been in conversation with Malcolm on for a number of months and I am absolutely delighted most especially for the Local Authorities of the Midlands that this has come to fruition.
First launched in 2018, the re-named Local Biodiversity Action Fund offers funding to assist Local Authorities in the implementation of actions in the National Biodiversity Action Plan.
I know that Local authorities already play a vital role in addressing the biodiversity emergency. This funding stream enables them and local communities to develop projects that address biodiversity loss in their localities by helping to create new habitats, restoring existing ones and by tackling invasive alien species. So far, much of this work has fallen on the excellent but stretched network of Heritage Officers.
I am delighted that today’s announcement not only increases the fund but allows for a new funding stream for Biodiversity Officers. Today’s announcement is a real boost for Local Authorities, local communities and ultimately biodiversity.
The scheme, operated by the National Parks and Wildlife Service of the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage, has proved hugely popular, with all 31 Local Authorities seeking funding in 2021. A wide variety of projects were financed, ranging from the surveying of breeding birds and the creation of pollinator-friendly initiatives, to projects raising awareness of the importance of biodiversity to our wellbeing.
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