Straightforward application process for Higher Level Environmental Farming Scheme (EFS (H))

Date published: 07 March 2017

The new DAERA Environmental Farming Scheme (EFS) opened for applications on 27 February. Application to the scheme is through DAERA online services and applications must be submitted by 31 March 2017. The start date for EFS (H) agreements is 1 January 2018.

The Higher Level EFS scheme is targeted at farmland within designated sites and other areas with priority habitats and species. It aims to bring this land under ‘favourable management’ through the implementation of site specific Remedial Management Plans (ssRMP), which must be drawn up by a qualified environmental planner.

How do I know if I am eligible for EFS (H)?

Eligible areas for the higher level scheme include:

  • Natural 2000 sites (SACs & SPAs)
  • Biological ASSIs
  • Other priority habitats and species outside of designated areas

Upon opening the EFS application page on the DAERA website, simply select the ‘Higher Scheme’ tab.

Can I pick and choose which of my ‘Higher’ fields I apply for under the EFS (H) Scheme?

You must apply for all EFS (H) land which is under your management control for the duration of the scheme. Whilst you can’t apply for the ‘uncategorised’ fields online, they may be considered by the planner in your ssRMP.

Simple application process

  • Submit EFS (H) by applying online – very straightforward 
  • You will be informed if you are successful or not.

When do I need to acquire a planner?

  • Only after you have been informed by DAERA that your application has been successful do you need to obtain the services of an environmental planner. DAERA will provide a list of accredited EFS planners.
  • The planner will prepare and agree a ssRMP with you and submit it to DAERA for approval.
  • On approval, DAERA will issue you with an EFS (H) agreement.
  • Successful applicants may recoup planner costs subject to certain controls.

Download full details of EFS (H) from the the DAERA website. 

A further EFS farmer awareness session will take place at the CAFRE Loughry Campus, Cookstown on the 15 March at 7.00 pm.

If you have any queries you can contact the EFS Advisory Team on 0300 200 7848 or email

Notes to editors: 

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  2. All media enquiries to DAERA Press Office or tel: 028 9052 4619.

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