Dáil Éireann - Volume 463 - 14 March, 1996

Written Answers. - REP Scheme Qualification.

90. Mr. Ring asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and Forestry whether a person (details supplied) in County Mayo will qualify for the REP scheme if he leases 30 acres of land which has been in the National Heritage area for six years. [5958/96]

Minister for Agriculture, Food and Forestry (Mr. Yates): It is not possible to say from the information provided if the person named will qualify for the REP scheme.

To be eligible to participate in REPs a farmer must be farming a minimum of three hectares of land owned or leased for a period not less than five years. A farmer is defined as a person or group of persons deemed by the Minister to be engaged in the practice of farming. Participants must undertake a range of [464] measures as set out in the scheme with the objective of

—establishing farming practices and controlled production methods which reflect the increasing public concern for conservation, landscape protection and wider environmental problems

—protecting wildlife habitats and endangered species of flora and fauna

—producing quality food in an extensive and environmentally friendly manner.

A copy of the scheme document will be sent separately to the Deputy.

The position on the leasing of land in NHAs in the context of REPs is being examined in my Department at present. I am concerned that some land leases, in NHAs and in other areas, were, it would appear, devised for the purposes of drawing down increased REPs payments and involved little or no environmental improvements. Applications submitted where no environmental improvements are evident will be rejected.