Date: 14 Oct 2022
10 local authorities awarded funding to appoint Biodiversity Officers
10 local authorities have been awarded funding to appoint biodiversity officers to deliver and drive local action for biodiversity.
The programme is being delivered by the Heritage Council and the County and City Management Association (CCMA) with the support of the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage and the National Parks and Wildlife Service.
The following local authorities are scheduled to appoint a biodiversity officer in the coming months:
- Clare County Council
- Cork City Council
- Galway County Council
- Kerry County Council
- Kildare County Council
- Kilkenny County Council
- Offaly County Council
- Sligo County Council
- Westmeath County Council
- Wicklow County Council
Galway City Council, Fingal County Council, Dun Laoghaire/Rathdown County Council and Dublin City Council have already appointed a biodiversity officer
The new biodiversity officers will have a wide variety of responsibilities. Among other things, they will be required to:
- Develop and implement a county biodiversity plan
- Advise the local authority on biodiversity related issues and the authority’s obligations in relation to protecting biodiversity
- Establish a county biodiversity forum
- Assist local authority departments in integrating biodiversity into their actions and policies through training and supporting information dissemination
- Promote new biodiversity initiatives based on best conservation practice
Once appointed, this will bring the total number of biodiversity officers employed in local authorities around the country to 14, with funding for a further 15 officers to be provided, as part of efforts to take greater action for biodiversity at the local level. A full national roll-out is expected to be completed in the next 3 years.
Today’s move represents a further practical step in the acceleration of the State’s response to the biodiversity crisis and follows several measures taken by Government to address biodiversity loss this year. This includes the publication of the 4th National Biodiversity Action Plan, which is currently out for public consultation, as well as Heritage Ireland 2030 published in February this year.
Commenting on the development, Moira Murrell, Chair of the CCMA Rural Development, Community, Tourism, Culture and Heritage Committee said: “The County and City Management Association is delighted to support this important Biodiversity Officer Programme. The expertise Biodiversity Officers bring will significantly strengthen local authority efforts to protect and encourage appreciation of biodiversity in our areas. This resource focus indicates the seriousness with which we take the biodiversity challenge and our ambition to integrate biodiversity considerations across all of our operations. Addressing biodiversity loss, restoring ecosystems and employing nature-based solutions will also form important elements in our climate action plans.”
The scheme will be evaluated in 2025 to inform future provision.