Thursday, 11 February 2021

Questions (98)

Catherine Murphy


98. Deputy Catherine Murphy asked the Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage the funding schemes available from his Department in respect of natural and built heritage; the payments that were made to each local authority under these schemes and initiatives by county in each of the years 2018 to 2020, in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [7550/21]

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Written answers (Question to Housing)

My Department operates a number of funding schemes to support natural and built heritage projects. The tables below set out the funding received by local authorities from my Department for each year 2018, 2019 and 2020 through these schemes. Where payments were made other than to a local authority, these have been excluded.

The Local Authority Biodiversity Grant Scheme operated by the National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) of my Department provides funding to assist local authority biodiversity officers or heritage officers (in local authorities without a biodiversity officer) with the implementation of projects that promote actions contained in the National Biodiversity Action Plan 2017-2021. The current National Biodiversity Action Plan, Ireland’s third, 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.

Financial support is also provided by my Department for the protection of heritage buildings and historic structures through a number of grant schemes which are, in the main, administered by the local authorities. The Built Heritage Investment Scheme (BHIS) is a scheme for the repair and conservation of structures on the local authority RPS. It is designed to leverage private capital for investment in small scale conservation projects across the country and to support the employment of skilled conservation professionals. The Historic Structures Fund (HSF), succeeded the Structures at Risk Fund (HSF) in 2019. It is for conservation and enhancement to heritage structures and historic buildings, in both private and public ownership, for the benefit of communities and the public. In addition, last year I introduced the Community Monuments Fund (CMF) for conservation and other works at our recorded monuments.

Under the July Jobs Stimulus Package (JJSP) 2020, additional funding was provided for built heritage projects and such payments to local authorities are also included in the relevant table. Funding