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€2.2 million funding for Peatlands Projects

The Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Senator Pippa Hackett has announced funding for two projects which will focus on finding better ways to manage on-farm drained peat soils in the Midlands.

The two projects which secured €2.2 million between them, were selected following an Open Call under the European Innovation Partnerships Initiative (EIP) and they will be funded under Ireland’s Rural Development Programme 2014-2021.

Making the announcement about the winning projects, the Minister said: “I am really looking forward to seeing what the two groups selected, Wetland Surveys Ireland and

Green Restoration Ireland will discover about how we can better manage drained peat soils for carbon friendly farming. Managing our soils in a way that captures and stores carbon can have huge climate benefits and projects like these, which involved close collaboration between scientists, ecologists and farmers will deliver those benefits. By working closely with the farmers, I know that these EIPs will co-develop measures to guide a future large-scale scheme to manage these soils.”

The successful projects were selected following an Open Call for proposals under the European Innovation Partnerships Initiative (EIP). The objectives set were to protect the carbon stock and restore sequestration, maximise other eco-system benefits and build resilience to the impacts of climate change at catchment/landscape level. The successful applicants will be expected to engage with farmers to co-develop a comprehensive pilot scheme, which will identify and implement appropriate actions and measures.

The Minister concluded: “These projects follow on from our recent investment in a National Soil Carbon Observatory and will develop our knowledge towards rewarding farmers who capture carbon. They also follow on the considerable contribution my Department made to World Wetlands day this week as part of this Government’s contribution to the contribution to achieving our ambitious environmental goals.”