Written Answers. - Control of Farm Pollution Scheme.

Paul Connaughton

Question:

83 Mr. Connaughton asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and Rural Development the new changes in the control of farmyard pollution scheme; the off-farm income limits applied; if women who are joint owners of the family farm are entitled to grant aid under this scheme where their husbands or partners earn over the off-farm limit; if unsuccessful applicants under the 1999 farmyard pollution grant scheme will be grant aided under the new scheme; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [4969/00]

In the context of the National Development Plan 2000-2006, provision has been made for the funding of a scheme of farm waste management which will replace the current scheme for the control of farm pollution. It is proposed that the new scheme will be open to farmers with a minimum of 15 income units from farming and a maximum of 200 income units, including off-farm income.

The grant will be calculated at the rate of 40% for farmers having up to 150 income units and the maximum level of grant aid under the scheme for these farmers will be £16,000.

Farmers having 150 IU to 200 IU will be eligible for a 20% rate of grant to a maximum of £8,000. The net effect is that the scheme will be available to an increased number of farmers having off-farm incomes.

Importantly, grant aid received under a previous scheme will not be deducted and the full grant amount will be payable in respect of eligible new works. The standard costings used to determine grant aid payable will be reviewed annually.

Arising from the substantially enhanced nature of the scheme, I expect that many more part-time farmers will now be eligible to apply for grant aid in respect of approved farm waste management measures.

Under the proposed eligibility conditions for the measure, an applicant must be the owner of the land or have leasehold title to the land for a period of five years and be the registered herdowner under the disease eradication schemes. In the case of lands jointly owned or leased, the eligibility criteria will have to be met by the owner/leaseholder identified as the registered herdowner and manager of the farm. If the herd number is registered in the name of two or more persons, the conditions of the scheme must be met by all parties.

The details of the new scheme will require the approval of the European Commission before the measure can be implemented.
Farmers who are ineligible for grant aid under the current national scheme of investment aid for the control of farm pollution may apply for aid under the forthcoming scheme when it is introduced.