Farmers in the National Parks and Wildlife Services (NPWS) farm plan scheme received an average payment of €8,832 in 2023, Minister of State at the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage Malcolm Noonan has said.

The farm plan scheme is in place to help deliver unique solutions at farm level, focusing particularly on sites of environmental priority.

These sites include special areas of conservation (SACs), special protection areas (SPAs) and natural heritage areas (NHAs).

A total of 372 farm plans were active over the course of 2023, with a total number of 24 planners.

However, some farmers withdrew from the scheme, resulting in 322 active plans by the end of the year, Minister Noonan said in response to a parliamentary posed by Independent TD Michael McNamara.

New farm plans

In 2023, a call for new farm plans was issued and 174 applications were received. After a competitive process, 63 plans were approved. There were no new planners appointed in 2023.

Planners are now being appointed to prepare these 63 NPWS farm plans, following the conclusion of a competitive procurement and evaluation process.

Payments totalling €874,457 were made to existing participants in 2023, according to Minister Noonan.

The NPWS, he added, is continuing to verify and process outstanding payments to participants for their 2023 commitments.


Examples of measures listed for NPWS farm plans include:

  • Predator management fence.
  • Management of invasive alien animals or plants.
  • Rush management.
  • Buffer zone along water course.
  • Bat roost.
  • Corncrake created cover.
  • Field margin and hedgerow management for wildlife; wildlife ponds.
  • Traditional meadow management for ground nesting birds.
  • Appropriate animal dosing.
  • Grazing during the winter only.
  • Alteration of tramlines.
  • Cessation or removal of particular crops.
  • Organic system implementation.
  • Barn owl boxes.
  • "The National Parks and Wildlife Service farm plan scheme is a means to engage with farmers and landowners to enhance nature on their land, through encouragement, advice and financial supports," Minister Noonan said.