Strong uptake for GLAS 3 one week on from the scheme opening

To date, 3,200 draft GLAS applications have been created on the Department of Agriculture’s online system, the Department has confirmed to Agriland.

The strong uptake for scheme comes one week after the Minister for Agriculture, Michael Creed, launched the third tranche of Green Low-carbon Agri-environment Scheme (GLAS) on Thursday, November 3.

The scheme will remain open for six weeks, from the opening date of November 3, and there is room for 12,000 farmers to apply to the scheme.

Should this high level of uptake continue in the coming weeks, these 12,000 places could be filled within the next four weeks.

Meanwhile, the main changes between GLAS 2 and GLAS 3 are the addition of two actions to the bird measures (twite bird protection).

The Department in conjunction with National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) has identified a small number of farmers that must undertake at least 0.25ha of twite C should they wish to join GLAS 3.

The maximum area for wild bird cover is 3ha in tranche 3 and the GLAS actions of planting new hedgerows are traditional orchards remain suspended from tranche 2.

Under the first two tranches of the scheme, a total of 38,000 participants have been approved to date, which the Department has said is a record number of entrants to any agri-environment scheme in a single year.

The overall target for GLAS is to attract at least 50,000 farmers into the scheme over its lifetime and Minister Creed commented that it was clear that the scheme was well on its way to meeting that target.

Speaking following the opening of the third tranche of the scheme, the Minister said that it is a target-driven environmental scheme and from tranche-to-tranche the Department is required to adjust the menu of options available to ensure Ireland meets the targets set for the full programme period.

“Our top priority remains to attract farmers with Tier One Environmental Assets, like endangered birds, Natura habitat, commonage land and high-status watercourses.

“Farmers are urged to present the highest standard environmental plans under GLAS 3 and to adopt actions that would promote them from Tier 3 to a higher tier to increase their chance of selection into the scheme.

“Over 80% of applicants in the second tranche of GLAS opted to do so and were approved,” he said.