Some €3m has been made available for local authorities to improve biodiversity in 2023.

Funded projects must align to the actions of the National Biodiversity Action Plan and can include initiatives such as species surveys, mapping, habitat creation and restoration and the removal of invasive species.

The funding under the 2023 Local Biodiversity Action Fund is double that which was on offer in 2022 and can be drawn down from the National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS)

Minister of State for Heritage and Electoral Reform and with responsibility for the NPWS, Malcolm Noonan TD said biodiversity initiatives under the fund can be “extremely impactful” and highlighted that local authorities play an “important role” in achieving nature restoration aims.

Biodiversity officers

Minister Noonan highlighted that the funding announcement follows that of the appointment of Biodiversity Officers for local authorities last year.

“The State has increased its funding to the NPWS in light of the biodiversity crisis and I’m delighted that we’re able to in turn increase funding to important initiatives such as this,” he said.

The €3m in funding will be made available to the new local authority to biodiversity officers in the counties that have them, and heritage officers elsewhere.

Grants are subject to the provision of an agreed level of co-funding from the local authority’s own resources and must be spent on a project directly related to one or more actions of the National Biodiversity Action Plan or targeting Invasive Alien Species projects.

The funded project outputs must then be reported to the Department of Housing before the end of the year.

Previous work

Examples of projects that received funding under the scheme 2022 include a survey of South Dublin county to identify and map the distribution of wetlands in the region and develop a ‘Wetland Inventory Database’.

Another involved a survey to establish a detailed picture of the distribution of breeding Swifts in 49 localities across Co Louth to allow decision-makers to effectively manage for Swifts at site level.

The National Biodiversity Action Plan 2017-2021 and its interim review are available here.

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