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Department makes ‘GAEC 8’ Conditionality and ‘Eco-Scheme Space for Nature’ Indicative Estimates available on

Farmers’ individual ‘GAEC 8’ and ‘Eco-Scheme Space for Nature’ indicative estimates are now available on from today.


These have been made available to assist farmers in planning for the new CAP in 2023, the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine has said. 


Under the CAP Strategic Plan 2023-2027, GAEC 8  requires a farmer to devote 4% of eligible land to biodiversity and landscape protection.  The 4% conditionality is a requirement for the Basic Income Support for Sustainability (BISS) payment in 2023. 


Under the new Eco-Scheme Agricultural Practice 1, if a farmer has at least 7% Space for Nature on their holding, this will count as one of the two required practices to receive an Eco-Scheme payment. Under the enhanced option for Agricultural Practice 1, if a farmer has at least 10% Space for Nature on the holding, this will count as two Eco-Scheme practices and will qualify for a full Eco-Scheme payment.


On, farmers and their advisors can now view their individual GAEC 8 conditionality and ‘Space for Nature’ indicative estimates. This will assist farmers in planning as to the most suitable practices for them to undertake in 2023 in the Eco-Scheme. However, this is the preliminary assessment of a farmer’s estimated space for nature. Farmers will be asked to confirm or make changes to these features as part of their 2023 BISS and ecoscheme application.


A how-to guide to access the ‘GAEC 8’ Conditionality and ‘Eco-Scheme Space for Nature’ indicative estimates can be found at


Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine officials will be at the National Ploughing Championships in Ratheniska, Co. Laois from 20th – 22nd September 2022 to provide more information to farmers on the Eco-Scheme. Farmers should bring their login details within them to the Ploughing.




Note for Editors


  1. Under conditionality, GAEC 8 estimates exclude Commonage, Forestry, GAEC 2 (wetlands and peatlands) and GAEC 9 (Environmentally sensitive permanent grassland).  Herds with only GAEC 8 excluded lands will be deemed to automatically meet their GAEC 8 conditionality requirement.


  1. Eco-Schemes are being proposed for the first time as part of the next Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) and they will be funded by ring-fencing 25% of Ireland’s Direct Payments allocation. The aim of Ireland’s Eco-Scheme is to reward farmers for undertaking actions beneficial to the climate, environment, water quality and biodiversity.


  1. Farmers will apply annually, as part of their online BISS application. Farmers can apply for the Scheme themselves or they can engage a FAS advisor to submit their application on their behalf. Farmers will receive a full Eco-Scheme payment where they commit to and deliver two out of the eight agricultural practices on eligible agricultural land, except where an enhanced practice is undertaken, this on its own will attract a full Eco-Scheme payment.   


  1. Linear features such as hedges, drains, stonewalls and margins in arable parcels and area features such as habitat, patches of scrub, rock, copse/trees and woodland can qualify as features to contribute to a farmers ‘GAEC 8’ and ‘Eco Scheme Space for Nature’. The full list of the features and the relevant weightings will be set out in the Terms and Conditions of the Eco-Scheme in early 2023.    


  1. The following actions funded under the Agri-Climate Rural Environment Scheme (ACRES) will not contribute to ‘GAEC 8’ or the ‘Eco-Scheme Space for Nature’ requirement: Planting a new hedgerow, Planting a traditional orchard, Planting trees in riparian buffer zones, Tree belts for ammonia capture from farmyards, Tree Planting.


  1. Native trees/hedgerows planted in 2023 under Agricultural Practice 4 in the Eco-Scheme will not contribute to the Space for Nature percentage for the current year. This may contribute to Space for Nature for subsequent years.


  1. Further information on schemes highlighted above is available at