Reports indicate there is a high level of interest in the GLAS Traditional Farm Buildings grant scheme, which recently opened for applications. The 2021 scheme has a fund of €1.25m and hopes to support in the region of 70 to 80 projects. Grant aid is available at 75% of the cost of the project and ranges from a minimum payment of €4,000 to a maximum payment of €25,000.
The grant scheme is funded by the Department of Agriculture and managed on its behalf by the Irish Heritage Council. Funding applications must be submitted via the Heritage Council’s online grants system portal, www.heritagecouncil.ie, with the closing date approaching fast at 5pm on 5 April 2021.
The Heritage Council recently held an information webinar and some of the most commonly asked questions and their answers are detailed as follows.
Are there any exceptions whereby someone outside of the Green Low-Carbon Agri-environmental Scheme (GLAS) can apply?
No, this scheme is only open to GLAS participants. It is envisaged the scheme will also be applicable to those joining the impending new agri-environment scheme, which is being dubbed the new REPS.
The closing date of 5 April is a bank holiday. Are you sure this is the correct date or is it likely to be changed?
The deadline date is correct. The Heritage Council have planned for a level of support to be available on the day. However, they are encouraging applicants to get their applications submitted in advance of the deadline, to ensure there is sufficient time to address any issues which may crop up.
I do not have access to good internet. Is there a hardcopy application?
All applications must be submitted online. Furthermore, the Heritage Council advises that there are a couple of schemes active at the moment and report that each year there are submissions made to the wrong scheme. They stress the importance of ensuring you are applying under the correct online resource, as applications cannot be transferred from one scheme to another.
I have received funding through the scheme already. Can I apply again for grant aid on another project?
If you have not received the maximum level of grant aid, you are eligible to apply. If successful, the maximum funding is the balance remaining from the maximum grant aid level of €25,000.
Can an adviser make an application on my behalf?
An adviser can apply on your behalf, but note the system is not set up to allow agents to make numerous applications under the one submission route. Therefore, an adviser has to make an individual submission and have a unique login relevant to each project proposal submitted.
I have an old stone building with a loft, which was used to house hens and store hay. I am hoping to restore this shed, revamp it and possibly use it for farm tours. Is this allowable?
No, this scheme is focused on restoring agricultural buildings which will continue to be used for this purpose. There may be an opportunity under Leader funding, for example, for your desired project.
I have a building that I am unsure will qualify. Are there any pointers on what buildings will qualify?
The first aspect to note is that the building must have been built before 1960. There are then three aspects to consider – what role the building plays in the landscape where it is located, the heritage value of the building and if it is used for agricultural purposes.
The proposed projects will be judged by a team with extensive experience and each one will get a thorough assessment.
I cannot get a quote for building works to include in the application due to COVID-19 restrictions. Can an application still progress without it?
Yes, the application can still progress, but you will need to upload a note to this effect to complete the application. A quote is not necessary at the initial application stage, as this is an expression of interest but if your project is shortlisted, you will need to supply it at this stage.
Do I need to engage the services of a conservation consultant at this stage, as I am being quoted a significant cost to do so and there is no guarantee my application will be successful?
There is no requirement to engage the services of a conservation consultant at the application stage. The application process should not cost you anything outside of the time it takes to submit the necessary documentation and photos.