The European Commission Representation in Ireland is pleased to announce the launch of two major new EU-funded environmental projects aimed at restoring Ireland’s blanket bogs and protecting and improving the status of the country’s freshwater bodies.

The Head of the European Commission’s Representation in Ireland, Gerard Kiely, commented that “these projects will benefit from over €20 million in funding from the EU’s funding instrument for the environment and climate action: the LIFE programme. Protecting the environment and increasing biodiversity is a major priority for the European Commission, particularly in the context of President Ursula von der Leyen’s Green Deal.”

Part of the LIFE Integrated Project Environment (nature conservation) scheme, the LIFE-IP PAF Wild Atlantic Nature programme aims to protect and restore Ireland’s blanket bog Natura Network along Atlantic seaboard.

Drainage, peat cutting, fires and overgrazing have left blanket bogs in the Northern and Western Region of Ireland in an unfavourable condition. LIFE-IP PAF Wild Atlantic Nature will protect and restore blanket bogs in 24 of the country’s Natura 2000 sites. It will involve the removal of encroaching trees and shrubs, the blockage of drains to raise water levels and the improvement of fire management measures.

The project will increase awareness of the ecological value of blanket bogs’ and their importance for climate change mitigation, while developing a sense of community ownership of local peatlands. The project will also secure the support of landowners, land users and other local stakeholders for management plans, which address the multiple threats facing these sites.

Co-ordinated by the Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, the LIFE-IP PAF Wild Atlantic Nature project will run to December 2028 and will benefit from over €12 million in EU-funding.

The LIFE-IP Waters of Life programme aims to protect and restore high ecological status waterbodies in Ireland. Ireland’s river basin management plan for 2018-2021 sets out measures for protecting and improving the status of the country’s freshwater bodies. LIFE-IP Waters of Life will act as a river basin-scale demonstration project, testing the effectiveness of the plan’s ‘best practice’ measures across a range of landscapes.

The project will encourage local communities and landowners to get involved in developing management actions for farm- and forestland. It will also build synergies between measures addressing water quality and biodiversity, and enhance public appreciation of high-status water bodies and their catchment areas.

Co-ordinated by the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government, the project will run to December 2026 and will benefit from over €9 million in EU-funding.

Source: EU Commission