The Duncannon Blue Flag Farming and Communities Scheme is a European Innovation Project (EIP) funded by the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine that will deal with pollution from both agricultural and domestic sources.
The project is one of 23 EIPs or locally led schemes funded by the department under the current Rural Development Programme.
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, which has steadily improved its bathing water quality from ‘sufficient’ in 2016 to ‘good’ in 2017 in the EPA’s most recent Bathing Water Quality in Ireland report.
The scheme applies the Water Framework Directive principles of Integrated Catchment Management whereby a range of pollution sources are considered in unison for multiple benefits in an integrated, holistic manner.
Speaking at the launch, Andrew Doyle, Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, 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 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, the local farming community and the IFA.
“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,” said Minister Doyle. “It complements extremely well the many other water quality improvement projects which my department is supporting.
“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 catchments areas.”
A total of €59 million is being made available for EIP projects by the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine. €24m of this is allocated to smaller EIP projects chosen by a competitive Open Call process. Another €35m is available for the hen harrier and freshwater pearl mussel projects.