Hen harrier scheme launched - At last!


The new locally-led hen harrier scheme is being rolled out immediately

Hen harrier scheme launched - At last!

  • ADDED
  • 3 years ago

The new locally-led hen harrier scheme is being rolled out immediately

The new locally-led hen harrier scheme is being rolled out immediately, according to Minister for Agriculture Michael Creed. A department statement announced this week that contracts have been signed with Hen Harrier Project Ltd, “representing a consortium of skilled and experienced conservationists, agricultural advisors and environmental scientists, to lead on the design and delivery of the new scheme.”

Creed was quoted as saying: “I am looking forward to seeing the new scheme in place as soon as possible. This scheme is targeted specifically at farmers with designated land and should provide farmers in those areas with an important additional income stream on top of GLAS and GLAS plus.”

The scheme will be led by farm advisor Fergal Monaghan, with the Golden Eagle Trust offering raptor expertise, while payments will be handled by Brendan O'Gorman Accountants. In addition, an “extensive team of raptor specialists, fieldworkers and farm advisors will support the roll-out of the scheme on the ground, with a strong local focus in delivery of the new measures.”

The hen harrier scheme is being rolled out under the European Innovation Partnership, which is a part of the Rural Development Programme. It will have a locally-led emphasis. The department said the scheme “aims to bring farmers, farm advisors, a conservation NGO and researchers together to deliver a targeted landscape level intervention which places the farmer at the heart of the process. Creating sustainable farming systems that work for both the farmers and the bird, and deliver real socio-economic benefits to the areas concerned, is a key objective.”

Jason Fitzgerald of Irish farmers with designated land (IFDL) told That's Farming: “We welcome the news that this scheme is finally up and going. It's long overdue and we will be working hard to ensure that it lives up to the promises that were given to us at Rockchapel in 2015.”

IFDL represent farmers whose land was designated for hen harrier conservation before adequate compensation was put in place. Restrictions on land use mean they have been unable to plant forestry, or develop wind farms on their holdings. In addition, they say these restrictions have made designated land practically unsaleable.

Fitzgerald added: “It is important that the scheme delivers for farmers and that it is not too bureaucratic. Initially when farmers lands were designated they were promised a scheme that would deliver €370/hectare. It is important that this scheme, along with Glas payments, will realise the benefits of this promise.”

Fitzgerald is anxious that the financial aspects of the scheme come soon: “We hope the scheme delivers its first payments as soon as possible, no later than Sept or Oct 2017.”

Hen Harrier Ireland tweeted in response to the announcement: “Fantastic news work to begin immediately so Farmers and hen harriers can remain on the hills for generations to come.”

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