A Bord na Móna led project to restore 10,000 hectares of peatlands in the Midlands is to receive almost €10 million in funding from the EU Life programme.

As part of the LIFE IP Peatlands and People project, Bord na Móna will also develop a model to encourage economic growth in the midlands through training, job creation and new value chains as well as set up a discovery centre to help change people's perceptions of peat, from a fuel source to an important natural asset.

Partners in the project include the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage, the Environmental Protection Agency and NUI Galway. 

Overall, the European Commission announced an investment of €121 million for new integrated projects under the LIFE programme for the Environment and Climate Action.

The funding – increased by 20% compared to last year – will promote the green recovery and help Belgium, Germany, Ireland, France, Hungary, Italy, Latvia, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal and Slovakia to reach their green targets. 

These integrated projects are expected to channel significant additional funds, helping member states to make use of other EU funding sources, including agricultural, structural, regional and research funds, as well as national funds and private sector investment.

Projects in brief

Climate Change Mitigation: A project will help reduce Hungary's reliance on brown coal. LIFE funding will help authorities to gradually decarbonise the Mátra Power Plant, by replacing lignite-fired power generation units with low-carbon technology solutions.

LIFE will also help the Małopolska region in Poland to implement its Regional Action Plan for Climate and Energy to guarantee a just transition. A project in Ireland will restore about 10,000 hectares of peatlands which have high carbon storage potential – an area roughly the size of Dublin.

Nature Conservation: Five nature projects in Latvia, Slovakia, Italy, the Netherlands and Germany will help to restore natural ecosystems, in line with the EU Biodiversity Strategy for 2030, by improving the management of the Natura 2000 network and better connecting its protected areas.

Various habitats and species stand to benefit, including forests, rivers, farmlands, grasslands, peatlands, aquatic species and birds.

Water: In support of the EU Water Framework Directive, a project in France will introduce measures to improve water quality in the Pays de la Loire region. Another project will help to clean up Poland's Pilica river catchment area through blue and green infrastructure pilot actions and other initiatives.

Waste Management: In support of the EU Circular Economy Action Plan, a Belgian project will reduce plastic waste by encouraging sustainability, from increased product lifetimes to prevention, reuse and recycling of waste.

Climate Change Adaptation: LIFE funding will help Portugal's Azores islands become more resilient to climate change. The project team will help to implement the regional climate change adaption programme on the nine islands.