Agri Environment Options Scheme (AEOS) and the Natura 2000 Scheme.
The objectives of the Schemes are:
- to promote biodiversity, encourage water management/quality and combat climate change,
- to contribute to positive environmental management of farmed Natura 2000 sites and river catchments in the implementation of the Birds Directive, Habitats Directive and Water Framework Directive.
Conditions for the Grant of Aid
The whole farm is not involved, unlike REPS. Actions are chosen for specific areas. Apart from normal cross compliance standards, there are no further requirements on the remainder of the farm.
• One of three Environmental Objectives must be chosen: Biodiversity; Water; and Climate Change. A budget is planned for each objective. Only tillage farmers are eligible under the Climate Change objective.
• Within the chosen objective, farmers must choose at least two actions: One Mandatory and One Complimentary; OR Two Mandatory.
• All 18 actions are available (with different rankings) on each of the three Environmental Objectives lists EXCEPT Wild Bird Cover is not available on the Climate Change list.
• Extra actions above the minimum two required may be chosen from any of the three categories: Mandatory; Complimentary; or Additional. Choosing extra actions increase chances of gaining entry to the scheme.
• There is no limit to the extent of any action undertaken except the traditional orchard which is limited to one per farm.
• Options include species-rich grassland, extensive meadows, planting hedges, coppicing or laying hedges, tree planting, planting orchards, fencing off watercourse and hedges, installing drinkers, use of low emission slurry spreading techniques, sowing wild bird cover, maintaining stone walls, keeping rare breeds and various tillage options. NATURA or Non NATURA Commonage
• Priority entry will be given to farms with NATURA land or non NATURA commonage.
• A Sustainable Management Plan must be drawn up by a planner for such farms.
• Farmers claiming the payment of €75 per ha on 67 ha will receive the full payment of €5,000.
• Farmers with less than 67 ha of NATURA land or non NATURA commonage can avail of extra actions to increase payments to the maximum of €5,000. All eighteen actions are available including hedgerow laying which is missing from Form N.
• No Environmental Objective is required and there is no marking system for these farms. Dates
• Closing date is 17 May 2010. Applications will not be accepted after this date, not even with a penalty for late application.
• Contracts are expected to commence in autumn 2010. Contracts will run for five full calendar years, ending December 2015. Leases eligible for payment must cover this period.
• Work must be completed by the end of June following the start of the contract - June 2011. Payment
• Funding is available at the rate of €5,000 per farm per year for up to 10,000 applicants, who join for five years.
• Actions may be chosen for which the total annual payment is less than €5,000.
• Payment for the remaining months of 2010 following approval will not include the capital investment element.
• Some actions involve capital investment. Receipts must be provided in support of claims for payment. This is similar to recent farm building grants. Farmers can claim approximately 50% of the Capital Investment for their own labour. Application
• Open to farmers not involved in REPS at 17 May 2010, the National Parks and Wildlife Farm Plan Scheme and the new Burren Scheme.
• No guaranteed entry - except for farms with NATURA or Commonage. Selection Criteria for entry to scheme if oversubscribed
• If oversubscribed by more than 10,000 applicants, selection for admission to the scheme will be prioritised using a ranking system - not on a 'first come first serve' basis.
• Initially ranking will be based on a marking system. Every extra action undertaken attracts more marks. Undertaking more than the minimum requirement of any action does not attract more marks.
• Further selection will be applied in the following order: • Location of farms in the Less Favoured Areas;
• Previous participation in REPS;
• Farm size (favouring smaller farms) The scheme is open to anyone not in an existing REPS contract, either someone coming out of REPS or someone who was never in REPS.
For More Information:
Get in touch with us on 074 9130772 for more information on AEOS or for applications to the scheme.