Doyle launches ‘blue flag farming scheme’ in Wexford

The Duncannon Blue Flag Farming and Communities Scheme was officially launched today (Tuesday, January 29) by the Minister of State for Food, Forestry and Horticulture, Andrew Doyle.

The scheme is a European Innovation Project (EIP) and is funded by the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine.

The aim of the project is the recovery and long-term retention of the Blue Flag status for Duncannon beach by dealing with pollution from both agricultural and domestic sources.

This project is one of 23 EIPs or locally-led schemes funded by the Department of Agriculture under the current Rural Development Programme.

According to a statement from the department, the community-based scheme is a collaborative initiative and will involve stakeholders from throughout the Duncannon area.

Speaking at the launch, Minister Doyle said: “One of the objectives of this scheme is to generate a greater sense of local ownership, responsibility and appreciation for the local water environment in the Duncannon area.

Its implementation will, through the co-operation of all local stakeholders, ultimately bring about improved water quality and a better environment in this area.

The Duncannon Blue Flag Farming and Communities Scheme has been allocated €550,000 to improve the bacterial quality of the two coastal streams that flow onto Duncannon beach.

The operational group for the project is representative of a number of stakeholders and is led by Wexford County Council.

It also includes personnel from Teagasc, local agricultural consultants, Glanbia, Bord Bia, local farming community and the Irish Farmers’ Association (IFA).

Continuing, Minister Doyle added: “This is exactly the type of scheme that was envisaged when my department chose to drive the EIP initiative under the current Rural Development Programme.

It complements extremely well the many other water quality improvement projects which my department is supporting.

Concluding, Minister Doyle said: “As with all EIP projects, the knowledge from this project will be shared, through the EIP network, with similar communities throughout Ireland and will help to improve water quality in other sensitive catchment areas.”