Thursday, 12 December 2019

Questions (22)

James Browne


22. Deputy James Browne asked the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht the status of her plans related to biodiversity and nature; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [51122/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Culture)

My Department is responsible for the implementation of a range of legislation and policy relating to biodiversity and nature in Ireland and is the National Focal Point for the UN Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), an overarching international agreement underpinning the global biodiversity framework. In this context, my Department is the lead authority for the National Biodiversity Action Plan.

The current National Biodiversity Action Plan, Ireland’s 3rd, runs from 2017 to 2021 and captures the objectives, targets and actions for biodiversity to be undertaken by a wide range of government, civil society and private sectors to achieve Ireland’s Vision for Biodiversity.

The Plan is an all-of-Government document and progress is monitored through the Biodiversity Working Group which meets at least twice a year, and also by an independent advisory group, the Biodiversity Forum.

My Department is currently preparing an interim review of the Plan and is in the process of gathering data from other Departments, agencies and stakeholders to inform that review.

Since the its launch in 2017, there have been a wide range of measures implemented on foot of actions contained in the Plan, including the introduction of a new grant scheme for local authority led biodiversity projects in their respective areas. The 20 Seeds for Nature initiative is also a significant step forward.

Following completion of the interim review, my Department will begin the process of setting out a new Plan which will be developed in the context of the outcomes of CBD-COP15, due to take place in China next October, where a new 'Global Biodiversity Framework' will be agreed by Parties to the Convention.

The NPWS Farm Plan Scheme, a mechanism for engaging with individuals in a joint conservation efforts, will continue in 2020 to support measures to protect biodiversity and assist farmers with lands designated as SACs or SPAs in their role as custodians of nature. I have doubled the allocation for the Farm Plan Scheme to €1m.

The National Raised Bog Special Areas of Conservation Management Plan 2017-2022, published by my Department in December 2017, aims to maintain active raised bog habitat and restore degraded raised bog habitat to active raised bog habitat. This programme can now be accelerated due to the announcement in Budget 2020 of €5m for peatlands restoration. This funding will allow for restoration measures to be undertaken on approximately 1,800 hectares in 2020 on up to 9 raised bog designated sites across 7 counties.