Thursday, 11 February 2021

Questions (12)

Joe Flaherty

Question:

12. Deputy Joe Flaherty asked the Minister for the Environment, Climate and Communications if local stakeholders and local authorities will be given an opportunity to apply for possible sites for the proposed €10 million peatlands knowledge centre of excellence and visitor centre for the midlands region (details supplied). [7692/21]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Environment)

I am informed by Bord na Móna that the objective of the Peatlands and People project is to engage people in Ireland and across the European Union with the benefits of peatlands restoration, in particular to realise the power of peatlands to effect positive climate action, and to contribute to the long-term successful implementation of Ireland’s Climate Action Plan. The project announcement follows, but is distinct to, the recent announcement by the Government of funding of €108 million to Bord na Móna for a major peatland rehabilitation initiative.

This project will be coordinated by Bord na Móna and will involve the National Parks and Wildlife Service of the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage, the Environmental Protection Agency, National University of Ireland Galway and ERINN Innovation Ltd, with additional co-financing from Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine. The project will work with peatlands in Ireland’s Midlands region and with communities in the region to deliver capacity and support related to a low-carbon economy.

The €10 million referred to is the EU LIFE grant support for the whole Peatlands and People project. The project comprises three pillars, a Peatlands Centre of Excellence, a Just Transition Accelerator and a People’s Discovery Attraction.

The Peatlands Centre of Excellence will see the restoration and rehabilitation of Irish peatlands, following best practice, as well as a virtual ‘knowledge centre.’ The knowledge centre envisages the development, management and transfer of knowledge relating to peatlands ecosystems, climate change mitigation and adaptation among the partners and wider stakeholder community.  There is no plan for this knowledge centre to be situated within a physical building.

The overall project will separately include site screening and selection for a permanent site of the envisaged People’s Discovery Centre. Any subsequent work to construct this centre will not be incorporated into this project and this would require significant additional funding which is yet to be identified.