Thursday, 12 December 2019

Questions (374)

Niamh Smyth


374. Deputy Niamh Smyth asked the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht the status of CANN and CARE funding in a case (details supplied); the status of the provision of local projects under the scheme; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [52388/19]

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Written answers (Question to Culture)

With €9.4 million funding from the INTERREG VA programme, the Collaborative Action for the Natura Network (CANN) is a cross-border environment project which aims to improve the condition of protected habitats and to support priority species found within the Border Region of Ireland, Northern Ireland and Scotland, allowing the region as a whole to meet key EU biodiversity targets and ensuring the future of these internationally important habitats and species. 

The CANN project team is made up of local authorities, research institutions and charities from across the three jurisdictions, and is supported by the lead government departments, and overseen by the Special EU Programmes Body (SEUPB) with the aim of working together with local communities and stakeholders towards a common goal of improving the environmental condition of these sites.  

Actions include delivering educational and outreach programmes and raising awareness of the significance of the habitats and species found on the sites, with the aspiration of safeguarding the conservation of these key sites and ensuring their sustainability beyond 2021 and the lifespan of the CANN project. 

In Ireland, the CANN project is focused on seven protected wetland habitats and seven species, including marsh fritillary, freshwater species and breeding wader species.  Slieve Beagh SPA (004167) is included as one of the project sites.

My Department's National Parks and Wildlife Service sits on the steering group of the CANN project, as the national statutory body for nature and biodiversity in Ireland.  However, the lead partner for CANN is Newry, Mourne and Down District Council and questions relating to site management by the project and its staff, including for sites in Ireland, should be directed to them.

CatchmentCARE (Community Actions for Resilient Eco-systems) is an EU-funded project that aims to improve freshwater quality in cross-border river basins across three cross-border catchments through development of water quality improvement projects in the Finn, Blackwater and Arney catchments and installation 50 boreholes across the region.

Partners in the CARE project are local authorities Donegal County Council (who are the Lead Partner), Armagh City, Banbridge & Craigavon Borough Council, Ulster University, as well as the Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute, British Geological Survey, the Loughs Agency, Geological Survey Ireland and Inland Fisheries Ireland.

The consortium will develop three policy actions, six catchment actions and three community actions, based on three critical criteria: (i) measurable impact on water quality; (ii) transferable beyond the three catchments; and (iii) contribute to a project legacy.

Donegal County Council is the lead partner for this project and matters relating to progress with the project should be directed to the Council. My Department is not a partner in the CARE project and does not have a role in this matter.