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Gildernew outlines progress on Nitrates Scheme

21 November, 2007


Sinn Féin Agriculture Minister, Michelle Gildernew MP MLA has confirmed progress with undertaking Farm Nutrient Management Scheme inspections (FNMS).

FNMS pre-approval inspections enable offers of grant to be approved under the Farm Nutrient Management Scheme.

Outlining the progress the Minister said:

"To date, my Department has undertaken pre-approval inspections for over 3,000 applications under the scheme. I am very pleased we have done so much since June when I was able to provide reassurance that funding would be available to local farmers to implement this scheme. "

She also explained that, in June 2007, the Department planned to undertake pre-approval inspections of the then remaining 2,800 applications in three groups. Work is due to commence on the third group soon. The final 1,000 farmers who submitted their application by the 31st March 2006 deadline, will receive an initial visit from an inspector or a DARD adviser in the first half of next month.

Welcoming this progress the Minister said:

"At this busy time of year I would urge farmers to facilitate these visits in the coming weeks so we can keep making progress. Farmers who have had approval can help by getting on with approved work as quickly as they can. There is evidence that a number of farmers are delaying making up their minds but the deadline of 31st December 2008 stands."

"I urge farmers who have had their pre-approval inspection, to get any information needed back to Orchard House as soon as possible so that their approvals can be issued. Following my agreement that all approvals will run to 31st December 08, there is no advantage to a farmer in delaying issue of his approval."

If a farmer decides not to proceed with his application, he should advise Orchard House as soon as possible, so that unnecessary work can be avoided.

NOTES TO EDITORS:

The Farm Nutrient Management Scheme (FNMS) is a key measure to improve water quality in the North of Ireland.

The Scheme provides financial assistance to farmers towards the cost for additional storage of farm manure. The Scheme assists achievement of compliance with the Nitrates Directives and with Control of Pollution Regulations. To date 2210 FNMS approvals have been issued. The Department has received 968 claims of which 715 have been paid, amounting to £21.119m.

Applicants to the FNMS scheme must complete building work and submit their claims for payment by 31st December 2008, to meet the European Commission's requirements.

The purpose of the initial visit to farmers is to prompt preparation for the pre-approval inspection and to offer further advice is needed. If possible, the pre-approval inspection will be done at the initial visit. The pre-approval inspection confirms likely costs and that the proposal meets construction standards.

If you have any queries about the Scheme please contact 028 7131 9936

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