Some €10m in EU funding has been allocated to Ireland for a Peatlands and People project which will see a peatlands centre of excellence established.

The project is to contribute to the long-term implementation of Ireland’s Climate Action Plan.

Co-ordinated by Bord na Móna, together with the National Parks and Wildlife Service, the Environmental Protection Agency, National University of Ireland Galway and ERINN Innovation Ltd, with additional co-financing from Department of Agriculture, the project will work with peatlands across Ireland’s midlands and the communities around them to deliver capacity and support related to a low-carbon economy.

The project will establish three things:

  • A peatlands knowledge centre of excellence in Ireland that will explore and carry out best practices in peatland restoration and rehabilitation and design methodologies to monitor and analyse carbon fluxes. Over time the peatlands are expected to store more carbon and also support multiple ecosystem service benefits.
  • A programme that will focus on low-carbon and circular economies to support the midlands region. It intends to provide a range of services for the development of new sustainable products, services, enterprises and value chains.
  • An immersive discovery attraction in the midlands that will be designed to highlight the importance of climate action and peatlands. Its long-term aim is to progress with the establishment of an educational space that cultivates curiosity and climate literacy, providing a forum for dialogue and discovery.
  • Precious resource

    Announcing the project, Minister for the Environment, Climate and Communications Eamon Ryan said peatlands are a precious resource in terms of storing carbon, restoring biodiversity and supporting local communities in taking care of our environment.

    Bord na Móna chief executive Tom Donnellan said: “Bord na Móna is taking a lead role in this as we are now focused on reducing greenhouse gas emissions and enhancing carbon storage potential through best practice restoration and rehabilitation of peatlands.”

    The project partners plan to hold a stakeholder engagement day to explore the details of project when current COVID-19 restrictions ease.