€2m scheme to protect flowers gets extension
A scheme that paid farmers in the Burren millions to create the conditions to grow rare and wild flowers is set to be extended.
Over the past five years, farmers participating in the Burren Life Programme have received €4.6m in payments for their role in the improved environmental health of the Burren.
Figures provided by Burren Life show that €2.1m of those payments were for "the management of species-rich grassland" where the Burren's famous flowers grow.
Yesterday, Director of Burren Life Dr Brendan Dunford said that "the signs are very positive" for the programme securing an extension beyond December of this year.
Dr Dunford earlier this year gave Prince Charles a tour of a Burren farm. He said that the goal of the programme is that every farmer in the Burren who wants to be included will be included.
There are currently 160 farmers participating, covering 45pc of the protected areas in the Burren, and Dr Dunford said that it is the programme's ambition to include 100pc of protected areas such as Special Areas of Conservation (SAC).
Dr Dunford said that the programme has had "a phenomenal impact" on the Burren landscape "and the environmental health of the Burren is increasing year by year".
The programme is jointly funded between the Dept of Agriculture and the Dept of Arts and Heritage.
Dr Dunford said: "The programme has a lot of support at national and European level."