Over the past year, I have listened carefully to the extensive public debate on biodiversity loss and the threats to nature. The very first National Biodiversity Conference, which I hosted this year, the development of the Seeds for Nature initiative, the wide-ranging public debate on the Heritage Ireland 2030 plan and the extensive engagement across government on climate action were instrumental in my securing significant additional resources for this important part of my remit for 2020. I acknowledge this is a concern of the Deputy. In this context, I have secured total funding for our built and natural heritage sector in 2020 of €62.5 million, which is up from €54 million last year. This represents an increase for 2020 of more than €8 million, or 15.5% on 2019, comprising an additional capital provision of €6.75 million, representing an increase of 44%, and additional current funding of €1.46 million.
I have also secured an additional €1 million to accelerate key nature conservation biodiversity programmes under the NPWS to include the recruitment of front-line conservation specialists. I will also enhance the farm plan programme by doubling the fund available to €1 million to support measures to protect biodiversity and assist farmers with lands designated as SACs in their role as custodians of nature.