Over 120 farmers on designated land have been successful in applying to the National Park and Wildlife Service’s Farm Plan Scheme, which will see a range of schemes designed for them to improve habitats and species on their land.

A total of 170 valid farm plan applications were made and, of these, 119 will go on to the next stage and have schemes designed.

The NPWS said each of the 119 farm plan applications may include more than one farmer, for example three farmers in the one county may have the same scheme designed for them.

Farm plan schemes will be designed to benefit blanket bog, birds of conservation concern, pollinators, lesser horseshoe bats, rivers, turloughs, invasive species, tillage biodiversity, annexed grasslands, wider biodiversity and more.

The applications that are proceeding to become plans were in Natura 2000 (SPA and SAC sites) and Natural Heritage Areas (NHAs) or had a target of conservation concern present.

Farmers along the western seaboard made up the highest number of applications, with 17 applications from Galway and Kerry respectively, 14 from Leitrim, Donegal and Mayo and 12 from Clare. There were 15 applications from Cork.

The NPWS had three types of categories for farmers to apply to the scheme:

  • Type A: Conservation Measure plans for sites of strategic importance such as Natura 2000 sites and ideally where a cluster of landowners can combine to work at a landscape level.
  • Type B: Intervention plans for sites where there is a need to intervene and address the management of a particular area of land in agreement with the landowner (this is typically led by NPWS).
  • Type C: Research and Innovation plans, aimed at advancing knowledge and testing new methodologies to inform wider application.