Re: Re: Welcome to Ireland’s ugly urban sprawl

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Council proposes ‘heritage payments’ for farmers
Monday, 9th January, 2006

The Heritage Council has announced of a series of proposals aimed at encouraging farmers to conserve Ireland’s archaeological history and provide greater protection for the countryside.

According to the council, changes in farming methods over recent decades have resulted in Ireland’s flora and fauna facing new dangers with an estimated 29 species of bird and 120 species of flowering plants currently in serious decline.

In addition to these figures, over 34% of the State’s archaeological monuments have been lost since 1840 with much of this happening on farms.

Under changes proposed today by the Heritage Council, the new Rural Environment Protection Scheme 4 (Reps4) would contain measures under which farmers would receive payments in exchange for managing and protecting Ireland’s heritage, environment and landscape.

Reps is an income support scheme for farmers run by the Department of Agriculture. It provides a basic payment to participants and under the Heritage Council’s proposals, additional payments would be made to farmers who take measurable actions to protect habitats and archaeological sites on their lands.

Mr Michael Starrett, Chief Executive of the Heritage Council, said farmers and landowners who protect Ireland’s heritage perform “a unique public service that benefits everyone in Ireland.”

There is a great opportunity for farmers and landowners to play a more significant role in managing our national heritage and this would lead to many benefits for the wider community and could help provide new recreational and tourism enterprises,” he added.

The Council’s proposals have been submitted to Government for consideration.

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