A total of 9,703 applications were received by my Department under the re-opened Agri-environment Options Scheme and, based on the annual budget of €20 million available and following the ranking and selection process, a total of 6,000 applicants have now been approved for participation in the scheme.
4,483 applicants selecting Grey Partridge, Natura and Commonage actions were approved into the scheme and the remaining 1,517 applicants selected had all previously participated in REPS and had a reference area of 22.06 ha or less on their 2012 Single Payment Scheme application.
The approval of applicants was determined by the following priority selection criteria:
- Applicants within a targeted area of the Boora region of Co. Offaly who select Wild Bird Cover Option B (Grey Partridge);
- Applicants with eligible Natura land;
- Applicants with at least 0.5 hectares of Utilisable Agricultural Non-Natura Commonage land;
- Farm Partnerships;
- Previous Participation in REPS;
- Farm Size (Favouring smaller holding) based on the utilisable agricultural area;
- Location of farms in Less Favoured Areas.