Written Answers. - Farm Waste Management.

Billy Timmins

Ceist:

150 Mr. Timmins asked the Minister for Agriculture and Food the position on the new farm waste management scheme; if this will be introduced on 1 September 2003 as agreed; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [19069/03]

The new partnership agreement Sustaining Progress provides, in the case of the farm waste management scheme, for an increase in the eligibility threshold from 200 to 450 income units and the investment ceiling from €50,790 to €75,000. In the agreement, my Department committed itself to implementing these changes at the earliest possible date. These are significant amendments to the scheme, requiring EU Commission approval and are likely to be considered in tandem with suggested changes emanating from the current mid-term independent evaluations of the NDP and CAP plan. It is envisaged that a revised scheme will be in place in early 2004. In the meantime, a meeting has been arranged with the farm bodies to discuss the situation in more detail.