Applications are now being accepted for community projects on bogs and peatlands under the Peatlands Community Engagement Scheme for 2022.

Projects which are approved under the scheme will be able to share in €500,000 funding, which is double the funding allocations for last year. In 2021, 25 projects benefitted.

The scheme is administered by the National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS), which is part of the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage..

The aim of the scheme, according to the department, is to encourage local peatland communities, local groups, local schools and interested parties to engage in the “conservation and revitalisation” of raised and blanket bogs- particularly protected bogs – and to promote public engagement with, and awareness of, natural heritage and environment.

Applications are now invited for initiatives with a community benefit, including events; education programmes; conservation management plans; restoration measures; feasibility studies; public amenity and recreational projects; and invasive species and fire control measures.

Applicants with “an interest in local history and awareness of the importance of peatlands” are being encouraged to apply.

It is also hoped that schools will apply for funding. Last year, a Co. Offaly School received €20,000 to reinstate a boardwalk on a local raised bog.

Opening the scheme today (Friday, January 7), Minister of State for heritage and electoral reform Malcolm Noonan said: “Ireland’s peatlands, which include raised bogs, blanket bogs or fens, are special and unique places and play an important role in contributing to our biodiversity, sense of place and well-being.

“I thank the community groups who have participated in this scheme so far and encourage all schools, peatland community groups and voluntary groups to check out the funding available this year,” he added.

The minister also noted that, for the first time, projects relating to fens are eligible for funding this year.

Successful applicants will be awarded funding to cover a maximum of 75% of the project’s eligible costs, with a maximum grant each of €25,000.