Oireachtas Joint and Select Committees

Tuesday, 2 November 2021

Joint Oireachtas Committee on Climate Action

Reduction of Carbon Emissions of 51% by 2030: Discussion (Resumed)

Dr. Brendan Dunford:

In the Burren we have a ten-point scoring system. Farmers with a field scoring less than 5 get nothing. They get a payment for a score of 5 upwards, and fields that score a 9 or a 10 which have exceptional biodiversity and water quality get a bonus payment. Therefore, there is a carrot-and-stick approach.

In calculating those payment levels, we looked at the additional work involved in managing the livestock to deliver those biodiversity and water quality outcomes and looked at some of the transaction costs and some of the opportunity costs. That gave us a figure of about €315 per hectare, which is what we pay for something scoring 10 out of 10. We work backwards from that in calculating payment levels. As Dr. Moran said, the science behind it is very complex and very strong, but in the interface with the farmer it is very simple, with them getting a score from zero to 10.