Dáil Éireann - Volume 548 - 14 February, 2002
Written Answers. - Water Quality.
Mr. Creed Mr. Creed
45. Mr. Creed asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and Rural Development if his attention has been drawn to the EPA implementation report dealing with water quality; and if he will introduce additional grant aid for adequate slurry storage arising from the contents of this report. [4124/02]
Mr. Walsh Mr. Walsh
Minister for Agriculture, Food and Rural Development (Mr. Walsh): The EPA has issued two reports recently relating to water quality in Ireland, both of which I think are relevant to the Deputy's question. The first is the report on water quality in Ireland 1998-2000 which con cludes that for the first time since national surveys commenced, Irish river water quality has improved. I welcome this finding and I am particularly pleased to see that the report acknowledges the impact of measures and initiatives operated by my Department in improving the situation. The second report is the phosphorous regulations national implementing report, 2001 which, I note, refers to the continuing need to provide adequate slurry storage capacity.
The importance of providing adequate slurry storage facilities has been long recognised by my Department, which has put in place a series of schemes over the years to encourage and assist farmers in the provision of such facilities. Some €330 million in grant aid has been paid to farmers under on-farm investment schemes for this type of pollution control facilities over the last ten years and a further €230 million has been set aside under the new farm waste management scheme for such work over the period 2000-2006. Grant-aid of up to 40% of approved costs is available under the scheme, and this is increased by a further 15% for young farmers in less-favoured areas and 5% for young farmers elsewhere.
These grant rates are considered adequate and were agreed following extensive consultation. This scheme is reviewed on an on-going basis in order to ensure that it remains both attractive and effective.
Dáil Éireann 548 Written Answers. Water Quality.