Lough Allen Basin

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Environment & Employment
This Site explores a specific area of north west Ireland, shows off itís great attractions and suggests some ideas for Conservation of the Environment and developing high level employement for people living in the area



Environmental topics: The Place / Plants & Animals / Birdlife / Unique Flora / Pollan

Q. What is the LIFE project?


20 Questions answered!

LIFE is the European Unionís way of funding community and
publicly sponsored Conservation and Environmental projects
of significant value in the 27 countries of the Union.

€1.7 billion for environment projects!

Frequently Asked Question:



LIFE: its full name?


The European Unionís LIFE program has gone through several iterations, from LIFE to LIFE III to LIFE+, the current form of the scheme.

What does LIFE stand for?


LIFE is the EU Ďinstrumentí for promoting Environmental Development and Protection within Europe. The acronym stands for líinstrument financier pour líenvironnement

What is LIFE+ 2009


LIFE+ 2009 is the recently opened invitation for people to submit applications for LIFE+ funding for various schemes. LIFE + covers the period from 2007 to 2013 and will provide some €1.7 billion for nature conservation.

Background to LIFE projects.


LIFE has been supporting environmental and conservation projects for the past 20 years throughout the increasing number of countries within the European Union. It has traditionally supported both global environmental issues and Habitat and Species protection.

Types of LIFE+ projects.


In the current version, LIFE+ supports 3 main types of environmental initiative, LIFE+ Nature and Biodiversity, LIFE+ Environment Policy and Governance, and LIFE+ Information and Communication.

What Funding is available?


LIFE traditionally has supported major financial applications, one of the features we like best about the scheme. Matching funding (of varying levels) is required from organisations (or individuals) applying for LIFE support.

Who runs LIFE?


LIFE is run by Directorate-General for the Environment, of the European Commission.

Who runs LIFE in Ireland?


In Ireland LIFE is promoted and supported by the Dept of the Environment. You will find their page that deals with LIFE here.

Who can apply for Funding?


Basically anyone can apply for LIFE funding, but the requirement for matching funds often means that succesful applications need an established community group with support from local Interests and Enterprises.

Examples of past Projects...


The following are just a few examples of Projects from the Nature and Biodiversity section of LIFE both from Ireland and the rest of Europe.

BurrenLIFE: Farming for Conservation in The Burren
Conservation of the Roseate Tern in Brittany
Award Winning Finnish Nature LIFE programme
Restoring Scottish Bog of International Importance

Max/Min Funding?


Last time we had experience of LIFE a minimum (rather large) budget was stipulated. Itís not known what such a figure is at present but Irelandís share of LIFE+ funding for 2009 will be approximately €3.9 million.

Why is Lough Allen suited for LIFE support?


Under the Nature and Biodiversity component, LIFE+ supports the EU Commissionís goal of halting Biodiversity Loss by 2010 and particularly focuses on rare and endangered species. Lough Allen has 2 of these that are not just locally rare but almost unique in Europe. These provide the basis of a viable conservation project and a LIFE+ scheme. As well as Species protection Lough Allen also has a rich and varied Habitat which has many unique qualites, is in a semi-pristine state, but certainly can benefit enormously from conservation action such as a LIFE+ campaign.

Is Lough Allen uniquely qualified?


YES. The presence of Irish Ladyís Tresses (in good numbers) and Pollan (in a very unsure state) uniquely qualifies Lough Allen for projects that have been similarly planned and executed in other parts of the EU.

What sort of Projects can we submit?


We would reccommend that a LIFE+ project for Lough Allen be submitted under the Nature and Biodiversity section proposing action to safeguard the 2 precious species listed above but also to undertake Habitat management to increase the success of breeding of Birds, particularly Ducks and Waders, and other animal and plant species, affected by fluctuating water levels in the Lake.

What do we need to apply?


The main requirement to apply is a viable natural asset and a plan to protect it; this we have! Whilst a project can be run by singular entities we believe the best way to run a LIFE+ project in this area is through a small local, skilled, and commited community group, aided and abetted by Local and National environmental agencies.

Can you help in launching a LIFE project for 2009 or 2010?


We particularly need people with strong commitment to conservation and protection of Species and Habitat, with some relevant experience, and living in the area and available to give some of their time freely. Environmental experts, be they professional or voluntary, will also be very useful, as will some planning and engineering expertise. Anyone interested please contact us, but we are focussed on this work and do not wish to take positions on any other environmental agenda.

What matching community funding is needed.


We believe, because of the nature of the work envisaged, we may be able to get away with 25% matching funding. (Other parts of the LIFE+ scheme require 50% local funding.) This will leave a large sum of, say, €240,000 to be found on a project of €1m. but will also mean a very large EU injection of  funding into the area and much conservation progress, should we be able to pull it off!

Where can local sponsorship be obtained?


Sponsorship can be raised on a voluntary basis, by support and grants from Irish environmental agencies, from Business or Enterprises with a significant presence in the area or maybe a pre-existing involvement with the environment and conservation. With a good project and a strong commitment, such funding may not be impossible to obtain, especially if we can link the main goal of bettering our environment with the creation of some high skill employment.

Can LIFE support employment?


The main goal of LIFE is to support the environment but the investment it finances is in places, people, and material. So, Yes, LIFE can be a very useful creator of employment, though that is not its primary goal.

What other benefits will a LIFE project bring to the area.


We have a lovely and unique place. It has been kept that way for generations past. With a developing economy and leisure industry, there is ever more and more pressure on beautiful but sensitive areas such as Lough Allen. A LIFE+ scheme can start to put structures in place to protect and enhance the Wildlife and Habitats of the area for future generations. The benefit of this to the people of this area now and in the future is inestimable.