Friday, 6 November 2020

Report: Independent evaluation of environmental effects of GLAS

The Green Low-Carbon Agri-Environment Scheme (GLAS) has been the Agri-Environment Scheme in Ireland over the RDP period 2014-2020. GLAS. A report from summer 2020 provides an evaluation of GLAS by an independent environmental consultancy. The report is available on the DAFM website here: Evaluation of the Green Low-Carbon Agri-Environment Scheme (GLAS): Synthesis of evidence, and includes an Executive Summary and list of recommendations in addition to the main report. 

The total allocation of funding for GLAS is €920m, of which €529 million (57%) was spent to the end of 2018, with an expectation that the budget will be exceeded by the end of the programme (p.1), and a measure-by-measure breakdown of intended GLAS expenditure is provided on pages 3 and 4. Some of the measures associated with the biggest items of planned expenditure are: €343m on Breeding Waders and Curlews, €233m on the Low Input Permanent Pasture measure, €175m on the Traditional Hay Meadow measure, and €158m on Commonages.  

(In a recent article, (Ó hUallacháin et al. 2016), we compared the botanical composition of three grassland conservation measures in AEOS, which includes measures that are reasonably similar to the Low Input Permanent Pasture and Traditional Hay Meadow measures in GLAS.)

At a time of intense discussion about CAP reform, the report also considered "the role of the new CAP Pillar 1 eco-scheme and/or conditionality as a mechanism for delivering GLAS actions". The report recommended wider adoption of results-based payments, and the discussion on eco-schemes was summarised as follows:

Under an eco-scheme, actions can be renewed on an annual basis and this has the potential to incentivise wide-scale uptake of sustainable practices, with an element of targeting to national or regional conditions. In this case, the criteria used were short-lag, flexibility and low administrative burden. Water and landscape actions tend to have a short time-lag between implementation and outcome, can be placed  throughout the landscape and can be readily evidenced. Nesting/Roosting Features and Rare breeds also have a good fit with an eco-scheme (see Recommendation 14). Placing these actions in an eco-scheme offers an opportunity to increase uptake by making them readily accessible to all Pillar 1 applicants with low risks in terms of effective implementation. Supporting these with advice would help improve aftercare and mitigate risks to value for money.

Finally, actions were reviewed in relation to their overall suitability for inclusion in a CAP scheme, either a Pillar 1 eco-scheme or a future AECM. Actions were assessed for their effectiveness at a high level, based on early evidence from the monitoring and evaluation work and as such, our recommendations are provisional (see Recommendation 15) . 

See the main report for the findings.  

Some of our other related research on agri-environment schemes
Ó hUallacháin, D., Finn, J.A., Keogh, B., Fritch, R., Sheridan, H. 2016. A comparison of grassland vegetation from three agri-environment conservation measures. Irish Journal of Agricultural and Food Research 55(2): 176-191.
A blog post related to this article is provided here

Finn, J.A. and Ó hUallacháin, D. 2012. A review of evidence for the environmental effectiveness of Ireland’s Rural Environmental Protection Scheme. Biology and Environment 112B: 1-24. An Open Access version of this paper is available from the Teagasc repository, T-Stór. Click here for access to this article (my require sign-in).

No comments:

Post a Comment