The Department of Agriculture has released details of the agri-environmental GLAS Scheme, as part of the Rural Development Programme 2014-2020.

The Scheme achieves the objectives of Articles 28 and 30 of the Rural Development Regulation and ties in with the green vision for Irish agriculture as contained in Food Harvest 2020.

The scheme is green as it aims to preserve traditional hay meadows and low-input pastures; low-carbon as it retains the carbon stocks in soil through margins, habitat preservation and practices such as minimum tillage; and, agri-environment as it promotes agricultural actions, which introduce or continue to apply agricultural production methods compatible with the protection of the environment, water quality, the landscape and its features, endangered species of flora and fauna and climate change mitigation.

Core Management Requirements (All of these requirements are compulsory)

  • An approved agricultural advisor must prepare the GLAS application
  • Nutrient Management Planning
  • Training in environmental practices and standards
  • Record keeping of actions delivered

Priority Environmental Assets and Actions (PEAs)

All farmers with PEAs get first priority access to the Scheme in year one and subsequent years. It is not guaranteed that all eligible applicants in Tier 1 will
get into the Scheme and a scoring matrix will apply if necessary. If any of these PEAs are applicable to the holding, they must be chosen and the relevant
actions planned.

  • Farmland habitat (private Natura sites);
  • Farmland birds (Twite, Breeding Waders, Chough, Geese/Swans, Corncrake, Grey Partridge, Hen Harrier);
  • Commonages (50% minimum participation in GLAS Commonage Management Plan);
  • High status water area;
  • Rare breeds.

Similarly, if an applicant (whether beef, sheep or dairy) with a whole farm stocking-rate exceeding 140kg Livestock Manure Nitrogen per hectare produced on the holding, or any farmer with more than 30ha of arable crops, wishes to be considered under Tier 1, (s)he must adopt at least one of the following four mandatory actions:

  • Low emission slurry spreading;
  • Minimum tillage;
  • Green cover establishment from a sown crop;
  • Wild bird cover (grassland farms only).

Registered Organic farmers will qualify for priority access to the scheme under Tier 1, by selecting actions appropriate to the farm. However, if any of the assets listed in the first set of bullet-points above apply, they must be chosen first.

Environmental Assets and Actions

Farmers, who do not have Priority Environmental Assets but whose lands include a Vulnerable Water Area, may apply for access to the scheme under Tier 2. In such cases,
the appropriate actions relevant to Vulnerable Water Areas must be selected. In the absence of a Vulnerable Water Area, an applicant may still qualify for Tier 2 access
provided that one of the following actions are chosen and planned for:

  • Low emission slurry spreading;
  • Minimum tillage;
  • Green cover establishment from a sown crop;
  • Wild bird cover (grassland farms only).

General Actions*
These actions aim to enhance the climate change, water quality and biodiversity benefits delivered and can be chosen in addition to Tier 1 and Tier 2 actions or on their
own (choosing only General Actions will not guarantee entry to the Scheme):

  • Low input permanent pasture;
  • Traditional hay meadow;
  • Riparian margins;
  • Coppicing hedgerows;
  • Laying hedgerows;
  • Planting new hedgerows;
  • Traditional stone wall maintenance;
  • Small woodland establishment;
  • Environmental management of fallow land;
  • Arable margins;
  • Bird & boxes;
  • Bat boxes;
  • Conservation of solitary bees;
  • Wild bird cover;
  • Traditional orchards;
  • Protection of water courses (not in high status or vulnerable areas);
  • Protection of archaeological sites.

*A selection process will be used to allow farmers join GLAS by means of these actions if there is a shortfall in the take-up of Tier 1 and Tier 2 actions.

Glas table