Written Answers. - Rural Environment Protection Scheme.

Paul Connaughton

Question:

186 Mr. Connaughton asked the Minister for Agriculture and Food the number of farmers by county who have incurred penalties as a consequence of non-compliance with the REP scheme; the numbers, the type of errors and the size of the resultant penalties; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [2858/03]

The following table gives a breakdown by county of the number of farmers in each year who were found to be non-compliant with the terms and conditions of REPS, together with the total number participating in the scheme nationally.

County

1994

1995

1996

1997

1998

1999

2000

2001

2002

Carlow

10

32

50

44

34

24

26

Cavan

54

138

83

138

175

127

102

Clare

25

84

232

290

443

214

158

Cork

1

30

128

153

222

303

177

176

Donegal

13

50

60

112

160

114

113

Dublin

4

12

13

21

28

14

7

Galway

21

195

298

458

513

282

292

Kerry

21

81

74

135

126

95

55

Kildare

30

74

91

108

116

89

68

Kilkenny

13

40

27

43

60

42

43

Laois

36

73

118

141

195

100

60

Leitrim

35

129

137

159

156

110

45

Limerick

22

52

72

164

221

96

115

Longford

20

66

51

88

101

84

68

Louth

14

32

34

41

41

23

12

Mayo

19

132

233

330

417

221

228

Meath

23

110

82

139

199

118

57

Monaghan

16

41

39

64

87

57

42

Offaly

50

101

82

97

129

69

34

Roscommon

15

123

136

186

282

161

146

Sligo

5

48

54

76

115

69

71

Tipperary

73

162

215

301

347

184

142

Waterford

13

20

21

49

61

36

34

Westmeath

26

77

78

158

141

95

55

Wexford

30

109

69

105

123

59

64

Wicklow

13

31

39

49

56

39

27

Total

1

631

2140

2,541

3,718

4,629

2,699

2,240

Total in Scheme

336

8,700

21,900

30,926

39,129

45,431

44,802

34,293

37,317

As the figures show, the vast majority of farmers in REPS have not had difficulty in complying with the terms and conditions of the scheme with fewer than 8% incurring compliance penalties in most years. The five most frequent kinds of non-compliance, accounting for some 43% of the total, are as follows: change in area; hedges-stonewalls not maintained as specified in plan; undertakings in respect of farmyard not carried out as planned; farm boundaries not stock-proof; and bovines not excluded from wells or watercourses.
Since the introduction of REPS in 1994 my Department has paid over €1.16 billion to participating farmers. From this amount, approximately 1.5% has been withheld for breaches of the terms and conditions of the scheme.