Tuesday, 28 June 2022
Department of Housing, Planning, and Local Government
280. To ask the Minister for Housing, Planning, and Local Government when he will confirm that Wicklow County Council has been successful in getting funding for a biodiversity officer; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [34359/22]
The Programme for Government outlines our ambition to tackle the biodiversity crisis and includes a commitment to ensure that each local authority has a sufficient number of biodiversity officers and heritage officers among their staff complement. Local authorities are uniquely positioned, within their own biodiversity plans and working with communities, to help halt biodiversity loss. Biodiversity officers are a key part of this and are crucial to the implementation of actions for biodiversity at local and regional level.
There are currently five biodiversity officers employed in the following local authorities:
Fingal County Council;
Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council
Dublin City Council
Galway City Council
Kerry County Council.
My Department is committed to supporting local authorities in the important role they play in the implementation of actions contained in the National Biodiversity Action Plan. In that context, I have allocated €600k in 2022 towards the programme, with six officers to be recruited this year and a further roll out in 2023/24. The programme is currently under development and will be delivered by the Heritage Council and the County and City Management Association, with the support of my Department and the National Parks and Wildlife Service. Expressions of interest for participation in the pilot will be advertised by the Heritage Council in early July and it is expected that participating local authorities will begin recruiting in August.