The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Charlie McConalogue T.D., today announced the opening of the 2021 GLAS Traditional Farm Buildings Grant Scheme which, this year, will involve an online application process. This Scheme funds the conservation and preservation of traditional farm buildings and structures of significant heritage value and which are conserved for agriculture use.
The Heritage Council manages the scheme on behalf of the Department, and it is open to applicants who participate in the Green Low-Carbon Agri-Environment Scheme (GLAS). It is funded by the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine under the Rural Development Programme.
Speaking about the announcement, Minister McConalogue said that “I was delighted to secure €1.25 million in the budget for this very important scheme which continues to make a great contribution to the conservation of our rural heritage and the enhancement of the rural landscape. These are beautiful structures, made of local materials by local craftspeople, and I think we are all learning to appreciate the importance of this part of our heritage.
“They also serve as a practical shed for the farm long after they were first built. The earliest structure supported on the scheme so far dates from the early 15th century, still standing, still functional. The greenest building is the one that already exists, embodying carbon and offsetting the need for expensive new buildings as long they are well used.”
The grants available range between €4,000 and €25,000 with up to 75% of the cost of the project eligible for funding with a maximum available grant of €25,000.
Virginia Teehan, Heritage Council CEO, said, “The continued existence of this rural built landscape is dependent on there being enough people with traditional building skills to maintain, conserve and repair this finite resource. These buildings are of immense social and environmental value as well as serving as a very useful resource on farms. With proper care and maintenance almost all this building stock will continue to endure and be resilient for the farm enterprise.
“However, for these buildings to survive they need the skills that went into making them to remain living traditions. This funding invests in those craftspeople skilled in traditional repair techniques as well as the heritage expertise needed and will be particularly welcome by those sectors who have been hard hit by the Covid-19 pandemic.
“Over the coming year, we are confident we will see many examples of projects which improve the quality of our rural landscape for farmers, rural dwellers and visitors, while at the same time preserving the integrity of our past.”
Minister McConalogue concluded that “The benefits of the scheme go beyond retaining the structures for future generations because it can also have significant biodiversity benefits. Even the smallest building can provide roosting sites for bats and nesting sites for birds. Many can support a great diversity of wildlife, including species of conservation concern and this scheme works with farmers to support, enhance and safeguard the wildlife inhabiting these buildings. I am delighted that my Department is supporting this scheme and I would encourage all GLAS participants to consider it.”
The closing date for receipt of online applications is Monday, 5 April 2021 at 5pm. The terms and conditions and the online application form are available at www.heritagecouncil.ie