My Department has reviewed this case again in the light of the correspondence referred to. Certain lands, which had been included in the agri-environmental plan submitted to the Department in November 1997 by the person named, were transferred in October 1998 to another person who was not a participant in REPS. The correspondence referred to has confirmed the details of the transfer.
Under the terms of the scheme, where lands which form part of a REPS plan are transferred in this manner during the period of the REPS contract, the participant may remain in the scheme subject to an amended agri-environmental plan being prepared for the remaining lands and a proportionate adjustment in the payment being made. Aid already paid proportionate to the transferred land must be reimbursed. In this case the transfer fell within the period of the participant's REPS contract and my Department has correctly applied a clawback on the participant's second year payment in respect of the area transferred out of the scheme.
The relevant provision is set out in section 13 of the rural environment protection scheme document which is published by my Department.