Malcolm Noonan T.D., Minister of State for Heritage and Electoral Reform has announced an extension of the deadline for the Peatlands Community Engagement Scheme 2021.
Applications for the bog scheme now have until Friday, December 4th to apply for a cut of the €200,000 on offer. Such has been the interest in protecting peatlands and instigating projects on the bog, the 2021 funding is double the fund of 2020 - which itself was double the actual allocation from the Government. The scheme is designed to support initiatives with community benefit that promote awareness, conservation and the revitalisation of Irish peatlands.
Earlier this year, Minister Noonan approved grant funding of over €100,000 to eight local community groups and organisations for a variety of projects focused on the conservation and revitalisation of raised bog Special Areas of Conservation, Natural Heritage Areas and other peatland areas.
Announcing the extension the Minister said:
I am delighted to see the diverse range of initiatives put forward by active community groups and environmental organisations under the Peatlands Community Engagement Scheme in 2020 and hope that a similar spread of projects will apply for 2021 funding.
Upon taking office at the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage, Minister Noonan decided to double the original allocation of funding of €50,000 after seeing the level of interest in the scheme and the quality of applications.
That funding supported the development, maintenance and upgrading of walking trails and looped walks around bogs in Counties Offaly, Kildare, Meath, Roscommon, Cavan, Galway and Westmeath.
It also supported a peat carbon project, the installation of signage and way finder makers on bog roads, the production of promotional videos and website creation, the installation of recycled plastic seating and wooden bench seats, a moth trap and arachnid study, the restoration of old bog equipment, the erection of wooden access control gates and waste removal.
Minister Noonan said: “Peatlands are a unique habitat that we have in Ireland and play an important role in supporting biodiversity and climate action for the benefit of all. The involvement of local community groups is paramount to biodiversity conservation, and this scheme is a positive example of that. I hope the extra time allocated to it allow groups, organisations and individuals to get their peatland plans into reality. We must do all we can to ensure the relatively small amount of peatlands we have left is cherished and, where possible, improved for everyone to enjoy.”
Details of the scheme and how to apply are available on the website of the National Parks and Wildlife Service of the Department here.