30 bee species face extinction despite €1bn green scheme

  

Nearly half of the bumblebee species in Ireland are at risk
Nearly half of the bumblebee species in Ireland are at risk
Margaret Donnelly

Margaret Donnelly

Some 30 species of bees face extinction in Ireland despite the Government spending €1bn on a scheme designed to increase biodiversity, improve water quality and combat climate change.

A report into the Green, Low-carbon Agri-environment Scheme (GLAS) reveals that it spent €232m last year on environmental measures. However, figures show 14pc of animals and plants face extinction, including 30 species of bee.

GLAS accounted for 15pc of the Department of Agriculture's total gross expenditure last year. It involves 48,800 farmers carrying out environmental measures on their land.

The scheme was introduced in 2015 and over its lifetime until 2021 it is due to cost over €1bn in payments, with around €476m coming from the Exchequer.

According to the most recent research from the National Biodiversity Data Centre, nearly half of the bumblebee species in Ireland are under threat of extinction.

The spending report states that "clearly there is a need for more efficient, more environmentally friendly farming practices as agricultural output continues to grow and the spotlight on greenhouse gases and other environmental areas intensifies".

The removal of hedgerows has been cited as very destructive to bees.

Around 35pc of farmers are in GLAS and are paid on average €5,000 to implement environmental measures such as planting new hedgerows, setting up bee boxes and sand piles for the insects and creating farmland habitats.

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GLAS participation is highest among sheep farms (52pc) and lowest among dairy farms (13pc).

The west (45pc), mid-west (43pc) and Border (39pc) regions have the highest levels of participation, with the south-east having the lowest (20pc).

Irish Independent


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