Tranche 3 of GLAS opens for applications this week
The third tranche of the Green, Low-carbon, Agri-environmental Scheme (GLAS) will open for online applications this week and will remain open for six weeks, the Minister for Agriculture, Michael Creed has announced.
Under the first two tranches of GLAS a total of 38,000 participants have been approved into the scheme to date – 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 GLAS was well on its way to meeting that target.
In relation to the first two tranches of GLAS, some of the headline outcomes were as follows:
- 243,000ha of permanent pasture will be conserved.
- 12,000km of water courses will be protected.
- 75,000ha of endangered bird habitat will be brought under sustainable management.
- Commonage Management Plans will be prepared for over 75% of commonages.
- 13,000ha of wild bird cover will be planted, providing up to 19,000 tonnes of winter feed for wild birds.
The Minister said that on the basis of the 38,000 GLAS plans approved to date, the Department has already met or exceeded the Rural Development Programme targets for some actions.
For the third and final tranche of the scheme, a small number of adjustments are being made to the actions available under the second tranche.
Some, will make it easier for farmers to adapt to the new regimes required, and will encourage greater uptake of measures, according to the Department.
Others adjustments respond to the fact that the Department has achieved or exceeded targets in some areas.
GLAS is a target-driven environmental scheme and from tranche-to-tranche we are required to adjust the menu of options available to ensure we meet 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.”
The Minister also announced that the terms and conditions for the third tranche of GLAS, along with the detailed specification for Tranche 3 actions will be published immediately. He asked farmers and their advisors to read these carefully.