Tuesday, 22 October 1996
Dáil Éireann Debate
302. Mr. Sargent asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and Forestry when the control of farmyard pollution scheme, farm improvement scheme, dairy hygiene scheme and alternative farm enterprise scheme will be recommenced; and whether the termination of such schemes will affect the REP scheme in any way. [19389/96]
Minister for Agriculture, Food and Forestry (Mr. Yates): There are no plans at this stage to reintroduce the control of farm pollution scheme, dairy hygiene scheme or alternative enterprise scheme. However, should additional funds become available as a result of the mid-term review of the Structural Funds, consideration will be given to the reintroduction of the dairy hygiene scheme in a modified form.
The farm improvement programme which was launched in 1986 continues to apply for those farmers who took out farm plans before 8 December 1994, when the scheme was suspended by the previous administration. Farmers who had planned investments may apply to carry out these works as per their farm plan. Due to a shortage of funds provided in the operational programme it was necessary to limit the re-launched Farm Improvement Programme to investments in horticulture. This scheme which was launched in 1995 and is open to applications has not been suspended.
Participants in REPS are required to have an agri-environmental plan drawn up detailing how the scheme's measures are applied at farm level. One of the principal measures of REPS deals with waste management. Under this measure participant farmers must provide for the storage and management of farm waste in a manner which avoids pollution. In many instances such facilities exist already. Over the last five years  alone over 40,000 farmers have been grant aided for pollution control works involving aid in excess of £200 million. In addition considerable numbers have joined REPS and it is not anticipated that the suspension of the schemes will seriously affect uptake under REPS. Indeed, the conditions of the REPS were amended to allow those who had not joined the CFP scheme to provide an alternative method of pollution control which satisfied the requirements of REPS.
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