Following the official launch of the €1.95 million ‘Sustainable Uplands Agriculture-environment Scheme (SUAS)’ Pilot Project in November, Wicklow Uplands Council has announced the opening of the second round of applications for parties interested in participating in the project.
The project is designed to assist both commonage groups and individual farmers across the Wicklow and Dublin uplands and the Council invites interested parties to submit an Expression of Interest form before the March 15th deadline.
To coincide with the announcement, a SUAS information event will be held in the Brockagh Centre in Laragh at 8pm on Monday the 25th of February, where more details of the project and the application process will be shared.
The key objective of the five-year pilot is to develop practical and innovative solutions that will address the complex agricultural, environmental and socio-economic challenges associated with the land management of commonages and hill farms in the Wicklow/Dublin uplands.
Pat Dunne, the Project Lead for the SUAS Project shared:
“Following last year’s announcement, we received a substantial number of applications seeking to participate in the initial rollout of the project. Through a selection process, a number of participants were identified and we are delighted that each of them are now fully engaged with management plans”
“This project represents an enormous opportunity to make a positive and lasting change to secure the sustainable future management of the Wicklow and Dublin uplands and we call upon all interested parties to attend the upcoming event”
The project has created a framework to assist the participating commonage groups to form their own constitution and to establish as a formal structure. It is the commonage group itself that collectively develops and agrees to a management plan with the support of the SUAS operational group.
According to Declan Byrne, Project Manager of the SUAS project:
“The SUAS project has the potential to change the way agri-environmental schemes operate on the commonages across the country and once completed, it will offer a framework built around a collective and formalised structure for other groups to adapt.”
“The project appropriately places the farmers at the centre of developing management plans for upland habitats areas, as they will be the ones who will be doing the work on the ground”
The SUAS Project is a European Innovation Partnership (EIP) funded by the Department of Agriculture, Food, and the Marine (DAFM) under the Rural Development Programme 2014-2020.
Information on the project and Expression of Interest forms will be available at www.wicklowuplands.ie