Environmentally Sensitive Areas Scheme (ESA) and Countryside Management Scheme (CMS)

Some older agri-environment schemes that began under the Rural Development Programme (RDP) 2000 – 2006 continue until the end of the 10 year period of the scheme.

Older Agri-environment schemes 

The following two Agri-environment Schemes were available:

  • Environmentally Sensitive Areas Scheme
  • Countryside Management Scheme

By the end of the RDP period, there were over 13,000 Agri-environment participants covering just over 448,000ha, which represents over 40 per cent of eligible farmland.


Agri-environment scheme explanatory booklet 2000-2006

Legacy scheme (CMS/ESA) Management Plans 

History of Agri-environment Schemes

Environmentally Sensitive Areas (ESA) Scheme

This was the first Agri-environment scheme in N Ireland – launched back in 1988. ESAs cover 20 per cent of the agricultural land area in Northern Ireland.

Countryside Management Scheme (CMS)

This Scheme was introduced in 2000 and was targeted at those landowners outside the ESAs.

More information on these schemes, including scheme booklets, management plans and monitoring reports, can be found under Agri-environment publications.

*Image (graph) entitled 'Agri-environment schemes 1988-2006'

Map of ESA areas (CMS scheme applied to areas outside ESAs)

*Image (NI map graphic) identifying ESAs

For the Rural Development Programme 2007-2011, the NI Countryside Management Scheme 2007-2013 information booklet agri-environment scheme was introduced.

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