The Rural Environmental Protection Scheme (REPS)
What is REPS?
The Rural Environment Protection Scheme is designed to reward farmers for carrying out their farming activities in an environmentally friendly manner, while maintaining agricultural sustainability and profitability. Participants in the Scheme must carry out their farming activities for a five-year period in accordance with an approved agri-environmental plan and REPS terms and conditions.
OCAE Consultants Limited are an approved REPS planning agency, with consultants qualified to prepare REPS plans and sign the accompanying agri-environmental plan.
The objectives of REPS are:
- To promote the use of agricultural land that is compatible with the protection and improvement of the environment, biodiversity, the landscape and its features;
- To combat climate change and improve natural resources: water quality, the soil and genetic diversity, through the use of environmentally favourable farming systems leading to the production of quality food in an extensive and environmentally friendly manner;
- To promote the conservation of Natura 2000 sites and high nature-value farmed environments;
- To promote the upkeep of historical features on agricultural land;
- To promote the use of environmental planning in farming practice;
- To protect against land abandonment;
- To sustain the social fabric in rural communities &
- To contribute to the positive environmental management of farmed Natura 2000 sites.
REPS 4 was closed to new applicants on 9th July 2009 by the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food. OCAE Consultants Limited continues to provide valuable services to REPS participants. At the date of close of REPS 4, over 62,000 farmers were involved in REPS, equating to up to 50% of the utilised agricultural area being farmed under REPS guidelines (Teagasc, 2012).