8th May 2015
ICSA president Patrick Kent has questioned the need for late changes to the scoring system for Tier 3 entry to GLAS.
“This is absolutely unacceptable. Planners were only made aware of these changes on Wednesday afternoon, just sixteen days before the closing date for applications and after many plans had been completed,” said Mr. Kent.
“There are serious questions to be answered as to why such changes were necessary at all, given that we are going to come nowhere near the target of 30,000 applications for the first tranche. Why are the goalposts being moved at this stage of the process, further impacting on the likelihood of farmers getting into the scheme before the May 22nd deadline?”
“Farmers who had applied for Tier 3 without the knowledge that they had to achieve a ‘pass’ mark of 16.3 on the scoring system will now have to revisit their plans and may have to take on extra measures. Given the short time-frame, there is reason for concern that some of these farmers may either withdraw their applications entirely or rush into measure which may not really be suitable or beneficial for them.”
“Having to revisit all of these plans will also put an inevitable strain on the resources of planners, meaning that they may not be able to accommodate every farmer who still needs to have a plan completed. What was the point of extending the deadline and then putting in place measures which risk the exclusion of many farmers from the scheme?”