DEERING WELCOMES €20M AGRI-ENVIRONMENT OPTIONS SCHEME (AEOS)

25th September, 2012

25.09.12

Carlow Fine Gael TD, Pat Deering, has welcomed todays (Tuesday) announcement by the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Simon Coveney, TD., that he is re-opening the Agri-Environmental Options Scheme, AEOS, to new entrants.

A maximum payment of €4,000 per annum will apply to individual applicants under the re-opened scheme and as average payments in the past have been lower than the maximum, it is expected that up to 6,000 new participants will be accepted into the scheme.

Speaking from Leinster House, Deputy Deering said that “Despite the challenging budgetary constraints within the Department  it’s great news that €20m has been allocated for the AEOS scheme which will open shortly for applications. This latest scheme will build on the success of both the Rural Environment Protection Scheme (REPS) and both AEOS 1 and 2 in delivering an annual income to farmers in return for farming to high environmental standards.”

Speaking earlier today, Minister Coveney said that “farmers will be paid to undertake identifiable and verifiable environmental measures from a menu of options”. He added that the scheme would “be attractive to farmers while also delivering real, worthwhile environmental benefits in the areas of bio-diversity, water quality and climate change. From that point of view, I am very pleased to announce the re-opening of the scheme again this year”.

Farmers with commonage land, designated Special Areas of Conservation or Special Protection Areas will be required to follow a ‘Sustainable Management Plan’ prepared by a planner. However, those applicants will be given priority in determining access to the scheme. Applicants other than those requiring a sustainable management plan will not be required to engage a planner to complete their application form. In addition to the priority which will be given to designated land, the Minister said that applicants would be assessed on the basis of selection criteria reflecting previous participation in REPS, farm size and location in Disadvantaged Areas.

“I am encouraging all farmers intending to apply for participation in the Scheme to look carefully at all of the information available to ensure that their applications are completed properly.”