Tuesday, 17 July 2012

Questions (636)

Tom Fleming


647 Deputy Tom Fleming asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine if he will confirm that a new agri environment option scheme will be open in September 2012; the number of farmers to whom it will be open; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [34501/12]

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Written answers (Question to Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine)

I am aware of the importance of agri environment payments to the agriculture sector and am actively considering the possibility of re-opening the Agri-Environment Options Scheme (AEOS) to allow for the submission of applications this year either on an amended basis from the existing scheme and/or on a limited scale. However, there are strict budgetary constraints in place and, as a result, the management of the limited resources represents a very challenging situation involving difficult choices. The full year cost of any new scheme will have to be met in 2013 and any decision to re-open AEOS will be taken in the context of consideration of the resources available and the need to remain within the agreed expenditure ceiling for my Department in 2013. I will make an announcement as soon as I have reached a decision on the situation.