I have no plans at this time to introduce a land drainage scheme. I am fully aware of the impact of the very difficult weather conditions of recent weeks on farmers and of the potential impact on farm incomes. I have sought EU approval for the advance payment of the 2012 Single Payment Scheme. If approved, this will enable payment to issue immediately following 15 October and will represent early payment of substantial funding to farmers. The submission has already issued to the Commission and my aim is to obtain an early response.
I also fully appreciate the value and importance of the other scheme payments to farmers and I remain committed to ensuring that the maximum numbers are paid at the earliest possible date, while mindful, of course, of the over-riding necessity to ensure compliance with the governing EU requirements. REPS payments in respect of 2011 are up to date and AEOS payments are well advanced and continue to issue as quickly as possible. My intention is to ensure that payments in respect of 2012 which are due later in the year are brought forward to the earliest possible date.