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NPWS to triple Farm Plan Scheme to benefit nature

  • The NPWS Farm Plan Scheme supports landowners to deliver actions that benefit habitats and species in biodiversity areas of European and Irish importance

  • A significant funding increase means the Scheme can be expanded from around 100 to 300 farm plans

  • Minister Noonan invites interested landowners to submit applications by 9th April 2021

The National Parks and Wildlife Service is expanding its Farm Plan Scheme threefold and interested landowners are invited to apply by 09 April 2021.

The Farm Plan Scheme was launched in 2006 to support landowners to:

  • deliver actions that benefit habitats and species in Special Areas of Conservation and Special Protection Areas, known collectively as Natura 2000 sites,

  • to support farmland biodiversity more generally, and

  • to provide a platform for trialing new conservation approaches which can be delivered on a wider scale.

Over the past 15 years, around 800 Plans have been delivered covering a variety of nature interests, from birds and other species of conservation concern to habitats including eskers, coastal dunes, fens and turloughs. Currently, there are around 100 active Farm Plans across the country. This year, additional funding will allow for approximately 200 additional Plans.

Malcolm Noonan T.D., Minister of State for Heritage and Electoral Reform, has announced a call for applications from landowners to join the Scheme:

“I am delighted to have secured additional funding in 2021 for the NPWS Farm Plan Scheme, and to invite more landowners to get involved. The scheme supports the management of some of Ireland’s most important areas for nature conservation and has been very useful over the years, solving many site-specific issues and pioneering new ways of supporting nature. It can work as part of Ireland’s wider efforts through agri-environmental schemes to address the challenges facing biodiversity today. I look forward to seeing a new group of farmers and landowners working with us to agree plans for farming and seeing the fruits of these plans over the coming years.”

The NPWS is currently seeking applications to the NPWS Farm Plan Scheme. The deadline for submission of application is Friday 09 April 2021. It is anticipated that NPWS will approve approximately 200 new plans arising from this call.

How to apply

Applications must be made using the NPWS Farm Plan Scheme application form (available on the NPWS website and from

The categories of plans the NPWS is prioritising can be described under the following three headings:

  • Type A: Conservation Measure plans for sites of strategic importance such as Natura 2000 sites and ideally where a cluster of landowners can combine to work at a landscape level

  • Type B: Intervention plans for sites where there is a need to intervene and address the management of a particular area of land in agreement with the landowner (this is typically led by NPWS)

  • Type C: Research and Innovation plans, aimed at advancing knowledge and testing new methodologies to inform wider application

Who should apply

  • People with lands in designated sites such as Special Areas of Conservation and Special Protection Areas

  • People whose lands support habitats and species of conservation concern

  • As the budget is limited, NPWS reserves the right to select plans where the need for conservation action is the greatest. A list of targets that have been prioritised in the NPWS Farm Plan Scheme is included in the NPWS Farm Plan Scheme application form.


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