AECOM Ltd. were contracted in early 2020 to assess the economic, social and environmental impacts of the Burren Programme. The Evaluation Report is available here.
AECOM Ltd found that the Burren Programme – and previous iterations of the programme – has resulted in significant social impacts, and has been successful in strengthening ties among farmers in the Burren, as well as fostering a shared Burren farming identity. The Programme has also been successful in strengthening ties between farmers and other stakeholders and organisations outside of the region, including the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine.
Commenting on the evaluation, Minister Hackett stated,
“AECOM Ltd found that the Burren Programme has been successful in encouraging sustainable grazing and feeding systems, and removing encroaching scrub on over 23,000 hectares, providing space for rare flowers, such as orchids and gentians, to flourish. AECOM Ltd estimates that the value of habitat and landscape improvements delivered amount to €32.8 million since 2010, and highlights that the Burren Programme is an efficient and effective model for delivering environmental improvements.”
AECOM Ltd. estimates that the Burren Programme and its predecessor, the Burren Farming for Conservation Programme, have also provided a boost to the local economy and generated €30.3 million in economic activity since 2010. The report also states that the local economic impact has been particularly high, as farmers are encouraged to use local contractors, businesses and crafts people.