The 40,000 applications for the green low-carbon agri-environment scheme made 2015 the most successful year ever in the development and implementation of any agri-environment scheme, said Agriculture Minister Simon Coveney last week.
GLAS Tranche 1 attracted more than 26,000 applications, and the second tranche launched last October received a further 14,000 applications before the mid- December closing date.
The level of applications to GLAS under both tranches will result in the funding committed to the scheme for 2016 being fully utilised, said Mr Coveney. The value of the average contract submitted under both Tranches is over €4,000, not including GLAS Plus cases.
Current indications are that some 1,400 applications from the first tranche will qualify for GLAS Plus, increasing their annual payment to around €6,500 on average.
In the second tranche, 80% of the applications received fall into Tier 1 and Tier 2, which guarantees applicants priority access to the scheme.
The commencement date for GLAS Tranche 2 approved applications is January 1, 2016.
Some 17,500 applicants received their first instalment 2015 payment in December, averaging €650 per applicant, representing up to 85% of the estimated value of the 2015 part-year payment for October 1 to December 31.
To be eligible for the part-year payment, it was necessary to have an approved start-date of October 1, 2015 for the GLAS contract start, have GLAS actions which are payable in 2015, and to have passed the Department’s payment validation checks.
The Department is continuing to process applications eligible for a 2015 part-year payment, and balancing payments in respect of 2015 part-year payments are scheduled to be processed in May, when all GLAS 2015 inspections have been completed.
This 2015 part-year balancing payment will include the GLAS+ payments for eligible applications.
Farmers will only see the full value of their contracts when payments are calculated for 2016, the first full year of their five-year contracts.
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