Minister Pippa Hackett announces €60 million scheme to help farmers improve water quality
At the Green Party Annual Conference in Athlone, Minister Pippa Hackett announced funding of €60 million for a five-year scheme to help farmers improve water quality on agricultural lands. Minister Hackett’s Department will issue a competitive call for project proposals in the coming weeks, with the scheme to run from 2023.
Minister Hackett said;
“I have secured funding of €50 million euro for a scheme to work with farmers and local communities to improve water quality over the next five years, and I am grateful to Minister Malcolm Noonan, whose Department will contribute a further €10 million to the project.
"We all care deeply for our environment, and we hear and speak a lot about the climate and biodiversity crises. But it is critical that when we talk about protecting our environment, we also talk about water quality.
"Our lakes, our rivers, and our streams are precious, and so much of what we can do to improve our water quality has knock on benefits for our climate and our biodiversity – so I am delighted to be introducing this water scheme as yet another example of the Green Party delivering for the environment, and for farmers and rural communities in government.”
The scheme will be run as a five-year European Innovation Partnership (EIP) programme, and it will help farmers to improve water quality by working collaboratively with experts and other advisers to reduce losses of phosphorus, nitrogen, and sediment to water from agricultural lands.
Minister Hackett continued;
“I know from my own experience on our family farm, and from travelling the length and breadth of the country speaking to fellow farmers, that so many farmers want to play their part in tackling our emissions, in restoring our habitats, and in improving our water quality – and the Greens in Government are putting in place the policies, and the funding, to help them to do just that.”
The actions farmers will be incentivised to take under the Water Quality EIP are likely to include using flood plain and riparian woodlands, overland sediment traps, offline storage ponds, establishment of new field boundaries, including hedgerows, increased riparian buffer strips, drain management, grazing and livestock management, detailed nutrient management planning and reduction in inputs.
Learn more about the Green Party Annual Convention here.