I welcome news this morning, that Laois is one of the 11 Local Authorities to have been awarded funding for the appointment of biodiversity officers.
I understand Offaly, who received funding last year, are in an advanced stage of recruitment for their biodiversity officer, and today’s announcement means both Counties will be enabled to deliver biodiversity action at a local level.
Biodiversity officers are tasked with developing a Biodiversity Plan for their county and establishing a county forum. They will also advise their local authority on biodiversity issues and the authority’s obligations in relation to protecting biodiversity. They work to promote best practice response to conservation efforts and help local authorities to fully integrate nature conservation into all of their policies and plans.
This is good news - for nature, for wildlife and habitats, for heritage and for communities who are taking real, practical action to address the biodiversity crisis. I’d like to thank my colleague Minister Malcolm Noonan for all his work on this and I look forward to working with the new Biodiversity officers in Laois and Offaly once they are in place.
The biodiversity officer programme is being delivered by the Heritage Council and the County and City Management Association (CCMA) with the support of the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage and the National Parks and Wildlife Service. In addition to developing a Biodiversity Plan for their county of city and establishing a county or city biodiversity forum, the new biodiversity officers will be able to:
Advise their local authority on biodiversity issues biodiversity-related issues and the authority’s obligations in relation to protecting biodiversity.
Promote a best practice response to conservation efforts
Help local authorities to fully integrate nature conservation into all of their policies and plans.