Preparation of a Combined Heritage and Biodiversity Plan for Westmeath 2023-2027

Closed24 May, 2022, 1:00pm - 22 Jul, 2022, 5:00pm

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Preparation of a Combined Heritage and Biodiversity Plan for Westmeath 2023-2027

Introduction

A new Heritage and Biodiversity Plan is being prepared for Westmeath. The County Heritage and Biodiversity Plan will be the Local Authority’s statement of intent in relation to the heritage and biodiversity of Westmeath and will set out areas of focus and action for the next five years. It will guide the work of the Heritage Office and cross-departmental activities that include heritage and biodiversity.

Currently there are individual Heritage and Biodiversity Plans. The Westmeath Biodiversity Action Plan 2014-2020 is due to be updated and the Westmeath Heritage Plan 2018-2023 is nearing the end of its term. Consultation on the preparation of the new combined Heritage and Biodiversity Plan for County Westmeath presents an opportunity to assess priorities for the next five years.

Review of the Biodiversity Action Plan 2014-2020 and the Heritage Plan 2018–2023

Progress has been made on implementing most of the actions of the Biodiversity and Heritage Plans and many actions are on-going.

Please see below examples of projects that have been carried out to date;

  • Management of Invasive Alien Species at Belvedere House, Gardens and Park
  • Audit of Geological Heritage sites in Westmeath
  • Swift Survey
  • Barn Owl Survey
  • Wetlands Survey (desktop and field survey)
  • Survey of Industrial Heritage
  • Training in best practice management and recording of historic graveyards
  • Conservation works to the Athlone Town Wall; The Old Gaol in Fore; Kilbixy Leper Hospital
  • Conservation Plans have been prepared for Killefree Church in Castlepollard, St Owen’s Church in Ballymore, Court Devenish House in Athlone;
  • Digital Interpretation of the Bronze Age Trackway in Mayne
  • Lidar Survey of Hill of Uisneach
  • Training in Oral History
  • Westmeath Field Names Recording Project

A full review of the Westmeath Biodiversity Action Plan 2014-2020 is available at the link below;

Please click here to view the Westmeath Heritage Plan 2018-2023

Please click here to download the Biodiversity Action Plan 2014-2020

Review of Westmeath Biodiversity Action Plan 2014-2020

Please click here to view the Heritage Project Reports

Format for the Combined Heritage and Biodiversity Plan

To date the Westmeath Biodiversity Action Plan and County Heritage Plans and have focussed largely on actions, some of which have been specific and detailed. It is intended that the new Heritage and Biodiversity Plan will set out Strategic Aims and Objectives, which will guide key areas for action. This will mean the Plan will have scope to address new and changing priorities that may arise during its term.

The development of the Westmeath Heritage and Biodiversity Plan will be influenced by several key considerations. These include:

  • Biodiversity Crisis - the loss of biodiversity is now widely acknowledged. The new Heritage and Biodiversity Plan will bring greater focus on projects and actions to tackle biodiversity loss. 
  • Climate Change – there is and will continue to be a focus across all sectors in relation to climate change. This ranges from managing peatlands, to supporting our archaeological heritage to withstand the effects of a changing climate, to adapting and reusing existing building stock, to carbon accounting and beyond.
  • Funding Criteria – several new funding schemes have come on stream in recent years and these have enabled greater investment in projects concerning Heritage and Biodiversity in Westmeath. These include the Community Monuments Fund and the Local Authority Biodiversity Action Fund. Other relevant funding streams and initiatives in relation to heritage projects include the Town Centre First Policy and the Historic Towns Initiative.

Consultation

Pre-draft Consultation will be open until Fri 8th July 2022. During this time there will be a number of public engagement meetings as well as discussion with heritage groups. Dates for public meetings are as follows:

Public information and consultation sessions:

Moate Library – Thursday 2nd June 6:30pm – 7:30pm

Mullingar Library – Tuesday 7th June 2022 6:00pm-7:30pm

Castlepollard Library Thurs 16th June 6:30pm – 7:30pm

Athlone Library - Tuesday 28th June 2022 6:00pm-7:30pm

Zoom meetings:

Wednesday 15th June -7pm-8pm

Monday 20th June -7-8pm

If you wish to attend one of these meetings please email heritage@westmeathcoco.ie for the link.

Please click on the link to complete the online survey via Survey Monkey: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/RCWJ95H

Please click here to complete the survey template.

Written submissions:

When making a submission please state what group (if any) you represent. Your submission should say what you think the priorities are for Heritage and Biodiversity in Westmeath over the next five years.

If you would like would like more information on the process please email heritage@westmeathcoco.ie

Submissions will also be accepted via the post to; The Heritage Office, Áras an Chontae, Mullingar, Co Westmeath

Details of the consultation process and all associated meetings will be posted on Westmeath Heritage social media channels:

https://www.facebook.com/Westmeath-Heritage-772636419571807

https://twitter.com/Wmeathheritge

https://www.instagram.com/westmeath_heritage/