DAERA Minister, Edwin Poots MLA, has announced that the Higher Level of the Environmental Farming Scheme (EFS) Tranche 4 will open for applications on 24 April.
EFS Higher Level is for land with environmental designations, such as Special Areas of Conservation (SAC) and Areas of Special Scientific Interest (ASSI), and other areas of priority habitat. To check if land is eligible, applicants should log on to the DAERA Online Services under EFS where the fields for each farm business will be marked as either Higher or Wider Level. Only those businesses with eligible Higher fields will be able to submit an EFS Higher application.
Launching tranche 4 of the Scheme, Minister Poots said: “EFS Higher agreements help to bring our most important environmental sites under favourable management and the Scheme supports farmers in doing so.”
“I have therefore taken the decision to open a fourth tranche of EFS Higher for applications from 24 April 2020. The application process must be completed online, and for those who may experience issues with access, my staff within the EFS team can offer assistance
“Even in the midst of the current Covid-19 crisis, we need to be looking at protecting these sites over the next five years and assisting farmers who are willing to take up this challenge.
“However I want to make it clear that departmental officials will only proceed to the next stage of issuing letters of offer to successful applicants if they consider it safe to carry out assessments and allow work to commence in light of the current pandemic.
“I also hope to be able to announce a further application period for the EFS Wider scheme later this year.”
Applications for tranche 4 EFS Higher must be submitted online before midnight on Friday 15 May 2020.
If the number of applications exceeds the available resource, applications will be ranked and those providing the highest environmental benefit will be selected to proceed.
How to apply:
EFS is an online application so you must have access to your DAERA Online Services account or use an agent who can represent your business online.
Comprehensive information on all the EFS options and the application process is available online through the EFS section of the DAERA website – https://www.daera-ni.gov.uk/articles/environmental-farming-scheme-efs-higher-level.
For further information or advice please telephone 0300 200 7848 or email [email protected]