Since 1994, it has been compulsory for each EU member state to have agri-environment schemes. These are the primary mechanisms through which farmers are financially rewarded for farming in an environmentally friendly manner above that required for the Basic Premium Scheme, maintaining and protecting biodiversity within the farmed landscape. Irish agri-environment schemes evolved over the years from the Rural Environment Protection Scheme REPS 1, 2, 3 and 4; to the Agri-Environment Options Scheme (AEOS) introduced in 2010 with AEOS 1, 2 and 3; and currently the Green Low Carbon Agri-Environment (GLAS) scheme. Since REPS was first introduced in 1994, agri-envieonment schemes have gone through a number of revisions, with each one increasing the emphasis on pro-active measures by which farmers protect and improve the environment.
The Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) (Agriculture) Regulations 2011 apply to Restructuring of rural land holdings; Commencing to use uncultivated land or semi-natural areas for intensive agriculture; and Land drainage works on lands used for agriculture.