Wednesday, 20 May 2020
Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine
873. To ask the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine his plans to provide funding for those farmers with designated land in view of the important environmental protection work undertaken by those farmers and the costs associated with same; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [6020/20]
I should clarify for the Deputy that my Department has no role in the designation of lands. This is a function managed by the National Parks and Wildlife Service of the Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht. Therefore, the question of compensation does not arise in the context of any schemes or measures introduced by my Department and any issues arising should be directed to my colleague with responsibility for that Department, Minister Madigan.
Many of these designations are for species or habitats where conservation is also encouraged under various schemes operated by my Department. The GLAS scheme, for example, is Ireland’s main agri-environment scheme with close to 50,000 participant farmers. While GLAS is a voluntary scheme, applicants with Commonage or Farmland Habitat on designated land were obligated to include these lands in their application. GLAS participants receive payments for the management of these actions over the five year term of their contract.
Similarly, some of the EIP/locally-led schemes are also for species or habitats designated such as the €25m hen harrier scheme or the €10m freshwater pearl mussel scheme. These actions and schemes are are a vital part of Ireland's overall environmental obligations and recognise the contribution which farmers can make to achieving these.
All of these schemes are part of our current Rural Development Programme which is currently closed to new schemes and entrants as the funds are fully committed. Negotiations are underway at EU level on transitional measures and schemes for 2021 and possibly longer, pending finalisation of the next CAP programme. My Department is already engaged in detailed stakeholder consultation on these issues and on shaping the schemes under the next Programme.