Public consultation on new agri-environment pilot opens

The opening of public consultation on the development of a new agri-environment results-based pilot project has been announced today (Friday, January 29).

The Programme for Government commits to rewarding farmers for adapting to more sustainable methods of farming and to the development of a new agri-environment scheme capable of delivering broad environmental and biodiversity benefits that will align financial supports with climate objectives.

To advance this objective funding has been made available for 2021 for a results-based agri-environment pilot project.

With a view to broadening participation in agri-environment schemes the pilot will only be open to farmers who have not participated in the Green Low-carbon Agri-environment Scheme (GLAS) and are not currently participating in other agri-environment schemes. The application process is expected to open in the second quarter of 2021.

In opening this public consultation, Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Charlie McConalogue said:

“Protecting and maintaining our environment is a national priority. Agri-Environment schemes like GLAS have played an important role in helping us to achieve our objectives.

“This pilot will explore new ways of approaching environmental actions and will help us identify what value we can bring to our next national agri-environmental scheme.

“The results-based approach can help identify the environmental and biodiversity returns from specific farm measures and allows a more focused use of funding.

It can also help raise awareness of farming methods that can give the greatest environmental and biodiversity benefits. This model is designed to incentivise farmers to deliver for the environment by ensuring that those with the best environmental scores receive the highest payment.

A summary of the current proposal can be accessed at here.

Submissions concerning the design and implementation of the pilot can be made via the online project survey.

The closing date for the receipt of views is Friday, February 26, 2021.