EU delegation visits Wicklow uplands to see the SUAS project

Last week, Wicklow Uplands Council’s Sustainable Uplands Agri-environment Scheme (SUAS) project hosted a field trip for a delegation of 60 participants from 22 of the EU’s member states.

A statement from the Wicklow Uplands Council explained that the delegates were keen to learn and observe first-hand, the workings of the Wicklow and Dublin uplands-based European Innovation Partnership (EIP)-AGRI project.

The SUAS Pilot Project, which was officially launched in November 2018, assists both commonage groups and individual farmers across the Wicklow and Dublin uplands.

The project aims to ensure the future sustainable management of the natural habitats that the area is renowned for and reports on the ecology and biodiversity found at each location.

Speaking after the visit to Wicklow, Declan Byrne said: “It was a wonderful opportunity for the SUAS operational group to highlight the complex workings of the project with such a diverse and notable number of representatives.

The three-day conference was organised by the Standing Committee on Agriculture Research (SCAR) and their Strategic Working Group, Agriculture Knowledge and Innovation Systems (SWP-AKIS).

The SWG -AKIS group focuses on improvements of the functioning of knowledge and innovation systems in the EU’s Bioeconomy and looks at research and innovation activities, knowledge generation and knowledge exchange.

The strategic group is made up of European Commission staff and representatives from member states.

Leading the delegation was Inge Van Oost, a policy officer at the European Commission in the directorate general Agriculture and Rural Development (DG AGRI).

Commenting on the visit, Inge said: “The EIP project brings opportunities to members of the farming community to enable them to develop solutions to the challenges local to their area.”

Ireland currently has 23 EIP-AGRI projects in operation, with 21 of them selected through a competitive process that took place in 2017 and 2018.

To date, the Wicklow Uplands Council’s SUAS Pilot Project has received funding allocation of €1.95 million.