Farmers in the rural environment protection scheme undertake a five-year contract, which may be terminated only in limited and specified exceptional circumstances which are laid down in the scheme. Under the EU regulations governing REPS, a participant must make an application for each annual payment. Failure to do so means the contract must be terminated and all payments recovered, unless exceptional circumstances apply.
In the case in question, my Department wrote to the person named on 13 September 2001, advising him that he had to lodge his third year payment application form by 31 October 2001. As he failed to do so, my Department had no option but to terminate his participation in the scheme and seek to recover all the payments he had received. The person named has not previously asked my Department to take the state of his health into account. If appropriate medical evidence is now put forward, the case will be reviewed.