The criteria used for the selection of the areas for the co-operation measure in the new agri-environment scheme have been revealed by the Department of Agriculture.
Special Areas of Conservation (SACs), Special Protection Areas (SPAs), Natural Heritage Areas (NHAs) land designations, the offshore islands and a range of EIP schemes were the criteria chosen by the Department as priority areas for this part of the scheme, which targets 20,000 farmers.
The Burren region, land in the Corncrake LIFE scheme areas, breeding hen harrier and curlew regions, Wild Atlantic Nature scheme areas and river sub basins known to have large areas of certain grasslands, along with blue dot catchment areas, were all included in the priority areas too.
The selected lands were chosen on a prioritised basis
When asked by the Irish Farmers Journal if certain types of landscape features or land types were excluded from the scheme, a Department spokesperson said: “No particular landscape features or land types were excluded expressly. The selected lands were chosen on a prioritised basis.”
Farmers were informed that a portal would be available from the Department, where they could check whether their farm was targeted for the co-operation measure. The Department has said it is working on the rollout of the portal, but that it is “not possible” to give a clear date for the opening of the portal at this time.
“The Department is cognisant of the need for farmers to have clarity as to which measure of the new scheme they will be eligible to apply for and is treating this area of scheme development as high priority.”
The scheme is expected to open for applications in October 2023 and further tranches will open at a later date.