The NPWS Farm Plan Scheme supports landowners to deliver actions that benefit habitats and species in biodiversity areas of European and Irish importance
A significant funding increase in 2021 saw the Scheme grow to almost 250 farm plans
Minister Noonan invites interested landowners to submit applications by 31 March 2022
The National Parks and Wildlife Service is expanding its Farm Plan Scheme threefold and interested landowners are invited to apply by 31 March 2022.
The Farm Plan Scheme was launched in 2006 to support landowners to:
- Deliver actions that benefit habitats and species in Special Areas of Conservation and Special Protection Areas, known collectively as Natura 2000 sites,
- To support farmland biodiversity more generally, and
- To provide a platform for trialling new conservation approaches which can be delivered on a wider scale.
Over the past 15 years, around 900 Plans have been delivered covering a variety of nature interests, from birds and other species of conservation concern to habitats including eskers, coastal dunes, fens and turloughs. Currently, there are almost 250 active Farm Plans across the country. This year it is hoped that approximately 200 additional plans will be designed.
Malcolm Noonan T.D., Minister of State for Heritage and Electoral Reform, has today (16 February) announced a call for applications from landowners to join the Scheme:
“I am delighted to continue to build on the progress enabled by the additional funding I allocated to the NPWS Farm Plan Scheme in 2021. The scheme supports the management of some of Ireland’s most important areas for nature conservation and has been very useful over the years, solving many site-specific issues and pioneering new ways of supporting nature. It can work as part of Ireland’s wider efforts through agri-environmental schemes to address the challenges facing biodiversity today. I invite more landowners to get involved. I look forward to seeing a new group of farmers and landowners working with us to agree plans for farming and seeing the fruits of these plans over the coming years.”
The NPWS is currently seeking applications to the NPWS Farm Plan Scheme. The deadline for submission of application is 31 March 2022. It is anticipated that NPWS will approve approximately 200 new plans arising from this call.
How to Apply
Applications must be made using the NPWS Farm Plan Scheme application form (available on www.npws.ie and from Agri.Ecology@housing.gov.ie).
NPWS is prioritising plans that can be described under the following three headings:
- Plans that will deliver for the Conservation Objectives of designated sites such as Special Areas of Conservation, Special Protection Areas and Natural Heritage Areas
- 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)
- Research and Innovation plans, aimed at advancing knowledge and testing new methodologies to inform wider application.
Who should apply:
- People with lands in designated sites such as Special Areas of Conservation, Special Protection Areas and Natural Heritage Areas
- People whose lands support habitats and species of conservation concern
- Dual funding with other Agri-Environmental Schemes (e.g. GLAS/REAP/EIPs) is not allowed.
As the budget is limited, NPWS reserves the right to select plans where the need for conservation action is the greatest. A list of targets that have been prioritised in the NPWS Farm Plan Scheme is included in the NPWS Farm Plan Scheme application form.
An overview of the NPWS Farm Plan Scheme can be found in the book is titled ‘Farming for Nature: the role of results-based payments’, which can be accessed online in pdf format – https://www.npws.ie/news/farming-for-nature-book.
The current call for applications is open until Thursday 31 March 2021.