A five-year scheme to help farmers improve water quality on agricultural land has been announced by Minister of State for Land Use and Biodiversity Pippa Hackett.

The new scheme will combine €50m in funding from the Department of Agriculture and a further €10m from Minister for Heritage Malcolm Noonan’s department.

The actions farmers will be incentivised to take under the Water Quality EIP are likely to include:

  • Using flood plain and riparian woodlands.
  • Overland sediment traps.
  • Offline storage ponds.
  • Establishment of new field boundaries, including hedgerows.
  • Increased riparian buffer strips.
  • Drain management.
  • Grazing and livestock management.
  • Detailed nutrient management planning and reduction in inputs.
  • The Irish Farmers Journal understands that the new scheme will be linked to the work of the Agricultural Sustainability Support and Advisory Programme (ASSAP).

    Speaking at the Green Party annual conference in Athlone on Saturday, Minister Hackett said: “We all care deeply for our environment, and we hear and speak a lot about the climate and biodiversity crises. But it is critical that when we talk about protecting our environment, we also talk about water quality.

    “Our lakes, our rivers, and our streams are precious, and so much of what we can do to improve our water quality has knock-on benefits for our climate and our biodiversity – so I am delighted to be introducing this water scheme as yet another example of the Green Party delivering for the environment, and for farmers and rural communities in Government.”

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    €60m water quality EIP over next five years