Calls for next tranche of GLAS to be amended, improve and opened immediately

The next tranche of GLAS needs to be amended, improved and opened immediately, according to ICMSA, to allow for orderly planning, reduce errors and to provide farmers with adequate time to assess their options.

Patrick Rohan, Chairperson of ICMSA’s Farm & Rural Affairs Committee also said that certain changes to existing stipulations and some new measures are required to make the scheme more attractive to intensive farmers, particularly in light of likely forthcoming climate change commitments.

He said that farmers have had legitimate complaints that the ‘time-window’ allowed for applications in previous schemes was too narrow and that the resulting tight timescales have led to mistakes and involved penalties and disputes.

“It is in all our interest that penalties are kept to an absolute minimum and providing adequate time for careful applications will certainly help.

“In addition, it’s simpler and safer to access farmland during the summer period with more time available during the long evenings for the farmer and planners more time to choose options that are most suitable to the farm in question.”

He said, for these reasons it is absolutely essential that the terms and conditions of GLAS 3 are finalised without delay and the scheme opened for applications.

“In relation to the terms and conditions and their relevance to intensive farmers, the current GLAS conditions are clearly not fit for purpose and GLAS needs to be made more attractive to this group of farmers  – particularly in light of possible commitments under climate change and ammonia commitments.

“In this connection, the low emission slurry-spreading options needs to be more flexible to make it more attractive to such farmers.”

ICMSA has also said that an additional measure to promote liming should be introduced.

“GLAS can play a significant and positive role in terms of the environment but it needs to be made more relevant to intensive farmers and also to be opened immediately to allow farmers make more informed decisions.”