Over 8,000 farmers have registered to date for the second tranche of GLAS, according to the latest figures from the Department of Agriculture.

The online system opened for the preparation of applications on October 19 and the Department plans to activate the ‘submit’ button this week.

It has said that once an application is submitted it is not possible to amend it, so the Department is warning farmers and their advisors to ensure that they are completely happy with the application before submitting it.

To date, some 8,227 applications have been registered online for Tranche 2 of GLAS.

The Minister launched tranche 2 of GLAS on October 27 for the submission of GLAS applications with the objective of increasing scheme participation levels in 2016 to between 35,000 and 40,000.

Also Read: Everything you need to know about GLAS

This tranche will close on December 7 and, according to the Minister, no extension of this date will be necessary.

The overall target for GLAS is to attract 50,000 farmers into the new scheme over its lifetime.

The Minister has come in for significant criticism after it was revealed that the second tranche would not include some of the most popular measures of the first tranche of GLAS.

The Minister said on the basis of the 27,000 GLAS plans submitted to date, Ireland has already met or exceeded RDP targets for Low Input Permanent Pasture, Protection of Watercourses, Laying Hedgerows, Planting New Hedgerows, Planting of Traditional Orchards, Bird, Bee and Bat Habitats, Wild Bird Cover and Stone Wall Maintenance.

He said for the second tranche of GLAS, a number of adjustments to the available actions are being made.

According to the Department some adjustments, such as those to protect farmland birds and Natura land, will make it easier for farmers to adapt to the new regimes required, and will encourage even greater uptake of these measures.

However, other adjustments were made because Ireland had achieved or exceeded targets in some areas such as Low Input Permanent Pasture (LIPP), new hedgerows and traditional orchards, according to the Department.

“GLAS is a target-driven environmental scheme and from tranche-to-tranche we will be adjusting the menu of options to ensure we achieve the right mix over the course of the programme as a whole,” Minister Coveney said today.

“Our top priority remains to attract in farmers with Tier One Environmental Assets, like endangered birds, Natura habitat, commonage land and high-status watercourses. I expect that a large proportion of the intake from Tranche 2 will be drawn from this category. “

The Minister announced that he was publishing the Terms and Conditions for the second Tranche of GLAS immediately, along with the detailed Specification for Tranche 2 actions. He asked farmers and their advisors to read these carefully. The live system for applications will remain open for some six weeks.