Application window for EFS Higher opens

Date published: 05 May 2023

The seventh tranche of DAERA’s Environmental Farming Scheme (EFS), Higher Level, is now open for applications until 19 May 2023.


EFS Higher Level provides payments to help bring the most important sites under favourable management, including land with environmental designations, such as Special Areas of Conservation (SAC), 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 the Environmental Farming Scheme application, and view which fields are categorised as either Higher or Wider Level.  Only those businesses with eligible ‘Higher’ fields will be able to submit an EFS Higher application.

Farmers that currently hold an active Tranche 2 Higher Agreement which will end on 31 December 2023 are also eligible to reapply to Tranche 7. If you wish to continue to claim for EFS Higher payments after that date, you must re-apply to the Scheme.

Applications for tranche 7 EFS Higher must be submitted online before midnight on Friday 19 May 2023.

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. 

Notes to editors: 

  1. EFS is an online application that can be accessed via DAERA Online Services account or an agent who can represent your business online.
  2. Comprehensive information on all the EFS options and the application process is available online through the EFS section of the DAERA website.
  3. For further information or advice please telephone 0300 200 7848 or email:
  4. EFS supports farmers to implement environmentally beneficial actions and works on their land. It aims to protect and enhance biodiversity and water quality and mitigate climate change by sequestering carbon.
  5. It is anticipated the EFS Tranche 7 agreements will start on 1 January 2024 and run for five years to 31 December 2028. 
  6. There are 1,366 EFS Higher agreements in place after six tranches with over 60,000 ha of land under favourable management. In total, including the Wider Level, there are 5000 EFS agreements with an overall commitment of over £70 Million.
  7. The Environmental Farming Scheme is part funded by the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD) up to 31 December 2023.
  8. Follow DAERA on Twitter at and Facebook.
  9. All media queries should be directed to the DAERA Press Office:
  10. The Executive Information Service operates an out of hours service for media enquiries only between 1800hrs and 0800hrs Monday to Friday and at weekends and public holidays. The duty press officer can be contacted on 028 9037 8110.

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