The Environmental Farming Scheme (EFS) will offer participants a 5-year agreement to deliver a range of environmental measures and will have three levels:

  • a higher level, primarily for environmentally designated sites and other priority habitats
  • a wider level to deliver benefits across the countryside, outside of environmentally designated areas
  • a group level to support co-operative action by farmers in specific areas such as a river catchment

The second tranche of EFS Higher Level opened for applications on 26 March 2018 and will close at midnight on 20 April 2018.

It is planned that the second tranche of EFS Wider Level will open for applications in August 2018.

Applications which deliver most environmental benefit for the scheme objectives of restoring, preserving and enhancing biodiversity, improving water quality and mitigating against climate change will receive priority entry into the scheme.

More information on EFS is available via the following link:

Environmental Farming Scheme – Group Level Facilitation

The Group Level Facilitation measure is to contract facilitators to run group projects.  Group projects will promote co-ordinated activity among EFS agreement holders to enhance environmental outcomes in certain areas such as an environmentally designated site, priority habitat or river catchment.

EFS Group Level Facilitation will be initially introduced through a small number of pilot projects in 2017.

More information on EFS Group Level Facilitation is available via the following link:

Production of Conservation Management Plans for Natura 2000 sites

DAERA is funding the production of at least 23 Natura 2000 Conservation Management Plans for sites within Northern Ireland.  The Conservation Management Plans will detail what actions are required to move sites towards, or maintain them at, favourable condition.  They will also complement the Environmental Farming Scheme (EFS), by providing detailed guidance on appropriate agri-environment management of Natura 2000 sites.

Two contractors have been appointed through a procurement exercise to produce the Natura 2000 Conservation Management Plans.

Further details on Conservation Management Plans for Natura 2000 sites are available via the following link:

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