A PLAN aimed at protecting the rich heritage and landscape of the Burren, while supporting local employment and economic activity has been given the green light.
The European Commission this week approved an application from the Burren and Cliffs of Moher Geopark for funding totalling €1.1 million under the LIFE+ programme, the European Union’s environment fund. This will be matched by funding from Clare County Council, Shannon Development, Geological Survey of Ireland, Fáilte Ireland, National Monuments Service, Office of Public Works, The Heritage Council, National University of Ireland Galway and University College Dublin.
Carol Gleeson, project manager, Burren and Cliffs of Moher Geopark explained the Geopark applied for the funding last year and will run the project over the next five years.
“The funding will be used to develop and implement scientifically sound and sustainable visitor management and monitoring practices at key natural sites and cultural monuments in the Burren; in locations that have a lot of visitors and are currently under threat from erosion and structural damage,” she explained.
“The funding will also be used to assist Burren tourism businesses to adopt environmental practices and policies and to strengthen and support the Burren Ecotourism Network in developing and marketing the Burren as a genuine sustainable tourism destination,” Ms Gleeson added.
LIFE+ Environment Policy and Governance projects are pilot projects that contribute to the development of innovative policy ideas, technologies, methods and instruments. Of the 607 proposals received, the commission selected 113 projects for funding from a wide range of public and private sector organisations. The winning projects will receive a total of €258.4 million, of which the EU will provide some €124.4 million.
“In this 20th anniversary year of the LIFE programme and the Habitats Directive, I’m delighted to announce the continuing support for high-quality environmental projects across the EU. These latest LIFE+ projects continue a trend, started two decades ago, for innovative and best-practice actions furthering nature conservation, improving the environment and tackling climate change,” said environment commissioner Janez Potočnik.