Green Low-Carbon Agri-Environment Scheme , GLAS is an agri-environment scheme that provides funding to farmers in return for delivering environmental management on their land. It is the successor to schemes like REPS (Rural Environment Protection Scheme) and AEOS (Agri-Environment Options Scheme).

GLAS aims to deliver benefits in terms of the rural environment and address issues of climate change mitigation, water quality and the preservation of habitats and species. In the broadest possible sense, GLAS represents a key measure for the protection of agricultural land, its habitats and biodiversity, as well as promoting environmentally sustainable methods of farming. It also aims to maintain and enhance landscape quality by helping to maintain important features such as traditional dry
stonewalls and hedgerow management and by protecting our historic environment.

Core Requirements

All farmers in GLAS must comply with a list of core requirements. These are mandatory and aim to ensure that farmers have an enhanced level of environmental knowledge, evidenced by records kept of actions delivered and underpinned by a plan for nutrient resource efficiency on their holding.

Access to the scheme will be prioritised on a tiered basis as set out in the table below based on the environmental assets on the farm. All farmers with Tier 1 Priority Environmental Assets (PEAs) get first access to the Scheme in year one and subsequent years. It is not guaranteed that all eligible applicants will get into the Scheme and a scoring matrix will apply if necessary. If any of the PEAs in Table 1 below are applicable to the holding, they must be chosen and the relevant actions planned.

Structure of the Scheme and Payment Rates

The overall structure of the Scheme is set out in Table 1 below, with the relevant payment rate for each action set out in Table 2.
Table 1: Core Requirements and Actions Core Management Requirements
All of these requirements are compulsory:
• An approved agricultural planner must prepare the GLAS application
• Nutrient Management Planning
• Training in environmental practices and standards
• Record keeping of actions delivered

TIER 1 Priority Environmental Assets and Actions

Tier 1(a) All farmers with PEAs get first priority access into the Scheme in Year One and subsequent years. If any of these Priority Assets are applicable to the holding, they must be chosen and the relevant actions planned.
• Farmland Habitat (private Natura sites)
• Farmland Birds (Breeding Waders, Chough, Corncrake, Geese/Swans, Grey Partridge, Hen Harrier, Twite)
• Commonages
• High Status Water Area
• Rare Breeds

Tier 1(b) If an applicant (whether beef, sheep or dairy) with a whole farm stocking-rate exceeding 140kg Livestock Manure Nitrogen per hectare produced on the holding, or any farmer with more than 30 ha of arable crops, wishes to be considered under Tier 1, s/he must adopt at least one of the following four mandatory actions:
• Minimum Tillage (arable farm > or = 30ha)
• Catch crops Establishment from a Sown Crop (arable farm > or = 30ha)
• Low Emission Slurry Spreading (livestock farm >140kg N/ha only)
• Wild Bird Cover (livestock farm > 140kg N/ ha only)

Registered Organic farmers will qualify for priority access to the scheme under Tier 1(b), by selecting actions appropriate to the farm. However, if any of the assets listed in the first set of bullet-points above apply, they must be chosen first. Commitments under the Organic Farming Scheme will not qualify for payment under GLAS.
It is not guaranteed that all eligible applicants in Tier 1(b) will get into the Scheme and a scoring matrix will apply if necessary.

TIER 2 Environmental Assets and Actions

Tier 2(a) Farmers, who do not have Priority Environmental Assets but whose lands include a Vulnerable Water Area, may apply for access to the scheme under Tier 2. In such cases, the appropriate actions relevant to Vulnerable Water Areas must be selected.

Tier 2(b) In the absence of a Vulnerable Water Area, an applicant may still qualify for Tier 2 access provided one of the following actions are chosen and planned for:
• Minimum Tillage (arable farm < 30 ha )
• Catch crops Establishment from a Sown Crop (arable farm < 30 ha)
• Low Emission Slurry Spreading (livestock farm ≤140kg N/ha)
• Wild Bird Cover (grassland farm {i.e <30 ha of arable and more than 75% grass} < 140 kg N/ha)
It is not guaranteed that all eligible applicants in Tier 2 will get into the Scheme and a scoring matrix will apply if necessary.

TIER 3 General Actions

These actions aim to enhance the environmental, water quality and biodiversity benefits delivered and can be chosen in addition to Tier 1 and Tier 2 actions or on their own (choosing only General Actions will not guarantee entry to the Scheme):

• Arable Margins
• Bat boxes
• Bird boxes
• Catch Crops
• Conservation of solitary bees
• Coppicing Hedgerows
• Environmental Management of Fallow Land
• Laying Hedgerows
• Low-emission Slurry Spreading
• Low-input Permanent Pasture
• Minimum Tillage
• Planting a Grove of Native Trees
• Planting New Hedgerows
• Protection of Archaeological Sites
• Protection of Water Courses from Bovines(not in High Status or Vulnerable Areas)
• Riparian Margins
• Traditional Hay Meadow
• Traditional Orchards
• Traditional Stone Wall Maintenance
• Wild Bird cover
A scoring matrix will be used to allow farmers join GLAS by means of these actions if take-up of Tier 1 and Tier 2 actions permits.

AEOS and Natura 2000 Scheme

The Agri-Environment Options and Natura Schemes are measures under Ireland’s Rural Development Programme 2007-2013. The Schemes are jointly funded by the European Union and National Exchequer. The objectives of AEOS are to meet the challenges of conserving and promoting biodiversity, encouraging water management and water quality measures and combating climate change.

The objective of the Natura 2000 scheme is to contribute to positive environmental management of farmed Natura 2000 sites and river catchments in the implementation of the Birds Directive (Council Directive 79/409/EEC), the Habitats Directive (92/43/EEC) and the Water Framework Directive (2000/60/EC).

AEOS/Natura was designed to build upon the gains made in conservation management since 1994 under the Rural Environment Protection Scheme (REPS) and to specifically target Natura 2000 sites and areas whose landscape and biodiversity have resulted from traditional farming methods.

The Agri-Environment Options and Natura Scheme, was made up of three phases: AEOS 1 which is ending on 31 December 2015; AEOS 2 which is ending on 31 December 2016; and AEOS 3, which was closed to new entrants in December 2012, and will cease finally on 31 December 2018 when the contracts of the remaining participants will have been completed. All AEOS contracts are for a duration of at least 5 years.

Organic Farming/Assistance

Organic Farming is a specific system of farming whose aim is to produce quality food in a manner beneficial to the environment and to wildlife. Organic farmers practice farming in accordance with standards, which have been formulated for crop and livestock production. The thrust of these standards is to develop a system of farming that co-exists with other systems, sustains soil fertility and protects the environment, wildlife and non-renewable resources.

Organic production and labelling of organic products is controlled by European and national regulations, i.e. European Council Regulation (EEC) No. 834/2007 as amended, which is backed up by S.I. Nos. 112 of 2004 and 698 of 2007. The EU legislation allows Member States to use private inspection bodies to carry out the inspection and licensing system of organic operators. Five certification bodies are approved to carry out this work in Ireland, i.e. Institute of Marketecology (IMO), Irish Organic Farmers and Growers Association (IOFGA), Organic Trust Limited, BDAA-Demeter UK and Global Trust Certification Limited.

Organic Farming Scheme (OFS)

A new Organic Farming Scheme (OFS) is provided for under the current RDP. This scheme was launched on 21 April 2015. Organic Farmers are also given priority access to the new Green Low-Carbon Agricultural Scheme (GLAS) which was launched in March 2015.
The objective of the OFS is to deliver enhanced environmental and animal welfare benefits and to encourage producers to respond to the market demand for organically produced food.

To be eligible for this measure, farmers must be licensed by one of the five certification bodies approved by the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, must also register with the Organic Unit of the Department and farm organically for a minimum period of 5 years.

Schemes of Grant-Aid for the Development of the Organic Sector Development grants will be available to processors under the Off-Farm Scheme of Grant Aid for the Development of the Organic Sector. This Off-farm Scheme, which is 100% exchequer funded, will provide grant aid for new equipment and facilities for production, preparation, grading, packing, storage, distribution and sale of organic products. Details are as follows:
• Grant aid of 40% for investments over €3,000
• Maximum off-farm grant aid of €500,000 payable over the duration of the scheme, which runs from 2015 – 2020.


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