The National Parks & Wildlife Service (NPWS) is to receive €53 million in programme funding in addition to a significant increase in staffing resources to address Ireland’s biodiversity crisis.
The increased funding announced in the budget will facilitate implementation of the Government’s strategic action plan for the NPWS, including resources to fill critical posts identified in that plan, and will bring conservation ranger numbers up to 120 by the end of 2023, according to Minister for Heritage Malcolm Noonan.
Combined with EU funding for LIFE programmes and an expansion of the local authority biodiversity officers’ programme through the Heritage Council, “this gives us an effective total funding for nature and biodiversity of more than €90 million”, he confirmed.
“This will enable the continued reform and renewal of the organisation, significant investment in nature conservation, in our habitats and species, and in our national parks and nature reserves,” Mr Noonan said.
“Expanding the programme of biodiversity investment and the restoration and conservation of protected habitats will also be enabled... This includes raised bog compensation and financial incentives schemes in line with national biodiversity and climate action objectives and the just transition policy.”
There is also further support for the National Biodiversity Data Centre based on Co Waterford.
“The increased allocation for nature in Budget 2023 reflects this Government’s continued commitment to addressing the biodiversity emergency,” Mr Noonan said. “Corncrakes, curlew, golden plover, lapwing, white-tailed eagles, natterjack toads, blanket bogs, raised bogs, machair, species-rich grasslands, native woodlands, coastal dune systems and so much more will benefit from this investment, as will the communities that cherish them, and the wider society and economy that depend on them.”