A decision on the opening of a second Tranche of the new GLAS scheme will be made in due course and farmers and advisors will be given adequate notice to allow for the preparation and submission of applications, the Minister for Agriculture Simon Coveney has said.

He said the negotiations with the European Commission in relation to the details of the new GLAS Scheme were long and protracted, and as a result the earliest date the scheme could be opened was 23rd February, 2015.

“While it has always been my intention to invite applications into GLAS over several tranches, my immediate priority is to focus on the preparation, submission and processing of Tranche 1 applications to ensure approvals into the scheme at the earliest possible date,” he said.

According to Minister Coveney the online application system developed for GLAS is a new and innovative approach for the submission of agri environment applications and the experience gained in processing Tranche 1 applications will assist in refining the system for future application Tranches.

The Minister has also said this week that to date a total of 9,119 applications have been created on the GLAS online application system.

He said this meant that in the region of 700 applications a day are coming in to the system.

The Minister remains confident that the planned 30,000 applications will be submitted in time for the May 22 deadline.

“We are up near the 10,000 mark now and there is still quite some time to go,” he said.