The principle of environmental sustainability is mainstreamed into all programmes, projects and initiatives which Ballyhoura Development delivers, and environmental considerations and/or actions are built into all activities.  The Community Food Initiatives, for example, although focussed on fostering healthier family eating habits, also aims to prevent food wastage. Savour Food has a similar objective of supporting local businesses to cut food waste and waste costs.

Ballyhoura Development also delivers a number of programmes and projects which have environmental sustainability as their primary objective, in the areas of biodiversity, sustainable energy, and sustainable water resources.

Protection and Improvement of Local Biodiversity

The key objective of activities supported in this area is on improving the knowledge base, raising awareness of, and fostering community participation and innovation in conservation, restoration, protection and sustainable use and management of local biodiversity and ecosystems.

The Loobagh Giant Hogweed Eradication Project is one such project.  This is a collaborative project, led by Limerick Co Council, which seeks to control and eradicate the spread of invasive Giant Hogweed along the course of the River Loobagh.

Supporting local sustainability and biodiversity is also a key element of the work of the Ballyhoura Tidy Towns Network, and environmental resilience is one of the mainstays of the Tidy Towns Initiative, which will be supporting local Tidy Towns Groups to develop Tidy Towns Plans based on a sound environmental ethos.

Ballyhoura Development also supports environmental education activities and workshops for primary and secondary school students, through Ballyhoura Beo.

Outdoor Classrooms

Ballyhoura Outdoor Classrooms are unique and inspiring natural places which have been developed and are managed for learning.  Griston Bog is a raised bogland habitat with facilities specially designed to cater for outdoor activities in Science & Maths;  Lough Gur is a Neolithic archaeological site incorporating history & science; and Doneraile Court & Wildlife Park is a 17th Century Demesne with an abundance of space to explore the flora and fauna and aquatic life along the river.

Development of Renewable Energy

Ballyhoura Development's strategy around renewable energy centres on building community and business capacity to invest in research, development, testing and deployment of renewable energy and conservation techniques and technologies to minimise the impact of climate change, reduce emissions, reduce carbon footprint and reduce fuel poverty.

Communities are supported in this through the Sustainable Energy Communities (SECs) Programme.  Through the SEC Programme, Ballyhoura Development supports, mentors and facilitates communities to plan for and work towards bottom-up community energy solutions in their local communities.

Ballyhoura Development is also working closely with local farmers, farming organisations and national bodies through the Agrigas Grid Project (AGP).  The AgriGas Project seeks to accelerate a practical scale of farm based Anaerobic Digestion (AD) as a route towards decarbonising agricultural practices and producing a sustainable energy fuel, and to develop a viable business model for farming and community engagement and facilitation of competitive access to energy and carbon markets.

Protection and Sustainable Use of Water Resources

Ballyhoura Development seeks to build the capacity of individuals, communities and businesses to innovate and to enable effective, efficient and financially and socially viable and acceptable ways to manage water resources, particularly through participation in public, private and community collaborative structures.

One such initiative is the Maigue Rivers Trust, which was established in 2016.  The Trust's objective is to work with local communities to ensure that the rivers and lakes of the Maigue catchment can achieve their full potential both environmentally and recreationally. Ballyhoura Development provides ongoing support to the Trust and is represented on the Trust's Board of Directors.

Ballyhoura hosts a variety of information events, workshops and guest speakers on environmental topics throughout the year. To stay informed about these events, please sign up to our newsletter.