Wednesday, 13 November 2019

Ceisteanna (232)

Jack Chambers

Ceist:

232. Deputy Jack Chambers asked the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht the supports, funding schemes and grants which are available to non-governmental environmental and conservation organisations; the updates to same made in budget 2020; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [46769/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Culture)

The total funding allocated for Heritage in Budget 2020 is €62.5m, up from €54m last year – an increase of over €8m or 15.5% on 2019 – comprising additional capital provision of €6.75m (up 44%) on 2019 and additional current funding of €1.623m.

Over the course of the last year I have listened very carefully to the extensive public debate on biodiversity loss and the threats to nature. The National Biodiversity Conference in Dublin this year, which I hosted,  the development of the Seeds for Nature initiative, the wide ranging public debate on the Heritage Ireland 2030 Plan as well as the extensive engagement across Government on Climate Action were instrumental in my securing significant additional resources for this area.

Engagement with stakeholders, community and conservation groups is an important part of my Department's overall approach to tackling biodiversity loss, and to improving the prospects for our habitats and species. My Department also engages closely with a range of environmental non-governmental organisations to identify areas where they may assist in implementing the National Biodiversity Action Plan, and in our efforts to halt biodiversity loss generally.

A wide range of national NGOs are involved in the area of biodiversity including An Taisce, Birdwatch Ireland, the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group, Bat Conservation Ireland, the Irish Peatland Conservation Council and the Irish Wildlife Trust. Many local organisations and groups also carry out important biodiversity related work.

Additionally, the Biodiversity Forum, set up to advise the Minister on the content and implementation of the National Biodiversity Action Plan (NBAP), includes representatives of landowners, farmers, industry, natural heritage, environmental NGO's and academia. The Forum will continue in its role as implementation of the current NBAP progresses next year.

Funding is available for a range of schemes and programmes to assist NGOs and conservation organisations in carrying out work that supports implementation of the Government's biodiversity strategy, laid out in the Plan. The main schemes are set out in Table 1. From time to time, my Department may also have limited funding available to consider additional projects or supports for biodiversity, with a preference for science based and monitoring projects.

Final decisions on funding for schemes and grants are made each year in the context of the overall resources available and other priorities and pressures within the sector. In some cases, decisions on 2020 allocations have not been made yet as these allocations are subject to internal reviews of the respective schemes in 2019.

Table 1: Funding provided by DCHG to NGOs and Conservation Groups

Organisation

Purpose of Grant Funding

2019 Funding Allocation €

2020 Funding Allocation €

Irish Forum on Natural Capital

Support the work of the Forum on natural capital accounting and ecosystem services 

 13,000

Decision on 2020 funding will be made in due course.

Peatlands Community Engagement Scheme

Grant funding to local community groups, organisations and individuals to support a range of initiatives with community benefit from events, education programmes, promotions, exhibitions, development of conservation management plans, monitoring or surveying work to inform peatland restoration projects, publications, invasive species and fire control measures, anti-littering initiatives to local environmental improvements in the area of the designated raised bogs.

 200,000

As above

Community Wetlands Forum

Grant funding to the Community Wetlands Forum via Irish Rural Link.  This grant funding is used by IRL for the discharge of salaries and administrative / running costs in order for IRL to continue to employ a part time Development Officer.

 25,000

Decision on 2020 funding will be made in due course

Botanical Society of Britain and Ireland 

Funding to provide for Irish Officer of BSBI

 15,000

 As above

 An Táisce

Annual funding for biodiversity component of the Green Schools programme

 40,000

 As above

Woodlands of Ireland

Annual funding to support the core work of the organisation in support of Irish woodlands

 38,000

 As above

Small Grants Scheme for Recorders

Funding made available to assist biodiversity recorders around the country

 25,000

 As above

Biodiversity Forum Funding

Funding made available to the Forum to allow it to progress its work in more detail with a view to providing objective scientifically sound advice to the Minister on the implementation of the National Biodiversity Plan 

 10,000

 As above

Irish Raptor Study Group

Grant towards IRSG annual conference

 1,000

 As above

Irish Environmental Network 

Annual funding provided to facilitate programme of events for Biodiversity Week

 25,000

 As above

The Community Foundation of Ireland 

Grant funding provided to fund biodiversity in local communities

 100,000

 As above

Bat Conservation Ireland 

Funding provided for production of Batlas 2020 

 15,975

 As above

Birdwatch Ireland

Funding provided through NPWS adverts in BWI 'Wings Magazine' (3 per year) 

 2,100

 As above

Irish Whale and Dolphin Group 

Grant towards IWDG cetacean stranding scheme

 10,000

 

 Ulster Wildlife Trust

Grant towards all-Ireland squirrel and pine marten survey

 10,000

 

 Golden Eagle Trust

Raptor reintroduction scheme allocation

 35,000

 As above