Application window for EFS Higher opens

Date published: 22 April 2024

The eighth tranche of DAERA’s Environmental Farming Scheme (EFS), Higher Level, is open for applications from 1 May until 17 May 2024

EFS is a voluntary scheme which 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.

EFS Higher Level provides participants to the scheme with payments to bring the most important sites under favourable management. This includes land in a RAMSAR Site, Special Area of Conservation (SAC), Special Protection Area (SPAs), or Area of Special Scientific Interest (ASSI). In addition, fields categorised as areas of priority habitat in EFS are also eligible.

The eligibility of fields can be viewed using DAERA Online Services under the Environmental Farming Scheme application. Only those businesses with eligible Higher fields will be able to submit an EFS Higher application.

Businesses that currently hold an active tranche 3 Higher Agreement, which will end on 31 December 2024, are also eligible to apply to tranche 8. If you wish to continue to claim for EFS Higher payments after that date, you must re-apply to the scheme.

Applications for tranche 8 EFS Higher must be submitted via your DAERA online Services account before midnight on Friday 17 May 2024.

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. Applications from businesses in an EFS Group Scheme, or those who completed a previous EFS agreement, or who were unsuccessful in the tranche 7 application last year, will be considered in the prioritisation; but no business will automatically be selected to proceed in tranche 8.

DAERA is developing a Farming with Nature Programme that will replace EFS in due course.

Notes to editors: 

  1. EFS is an online application that can be accessed via a DAERA Online Services account or by an agent who can represent your business online.
  2. Comprehensive information on all the EFS options, including eligibility criteria and the application process is available from the DAERA website.
  3. For further information or advice please contact the EFS helpline by telephone on 0300 200 7848 or email:
  4. It is anticipated the EFS Tranche 8 agreements will start on 1 January 2025 and run for five years to 31 December 2029. 
  5. There are 1,300 EFS Higher agreements in place after seven tranches with over 58,000 ha of land under favourable management.
  6. In terms of the total across all tranches, including the Wider Level, there have been 6,200 EFS agreements with an overall commitment of £90million.
  7. Since 2018 EFS participants have managed over 58,000 ha of priority habitat, planted or enhanced 1000 km of hedgerows, protected 2,700 km of waterway and planted half a million trees.
  8. All media queries should be directed to the DAERA Press Office:
  9. 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.
  10. Follow DAERA on X and Facebook.

Share this page

Back to top