Dáil Éireann - Volume 554 - 09 October, 2002
Written Answers. - Rural Environment Protection Scheme.
Mr. Connaughton Mr. Connaughton
335. Mr. Connaughton asked the Minister for Agriculture and Food the reason a person (details supplied) in County Galway has been fined a 100% penalty on her REP scheme (details supplied); if his attention has been drawn to the fact that the likely cause is that a 20 metre hedge was removed due to its poor condition and is being replaced by a proper hedge; and his views on whether this 100% penalty is severe. [16419/02]
Minister for Agriculture and Food (Mr. Walsh)
Minister for Agriculture and Food (Mr. Walsh): Following an inspection by my Department on 20 February 2002, a penalty was imposed on the person named for the removal of a hedgerow. The REP scheme conditions define any hedgerow, stonewall or field boundary as a habitat and require that it be retained. Where such a feature is found to have been removed, those conditions also specify that a 100% penalty shall be applied to the person's annual REPS payment. My Department has no discretion as to the level of penalty to be imposed since REPS includes a schedule of penalties for specific breaches of the scheme conditions.
The proposed penalty was notified to the person named on 25 February and she was informed of her right of appeal to my Department's local office. No appeal was received within the time limit specified, and the penalty was therefore applied. An appeal was received subsequently and has been lodged for consideration by my Department's REPS appeals committee. The case is being investigated and will be presented to the appeals committee for a final decision at the earliest possible opportunity. The person named will be notified directly of the outcome by my Department.
Dáil Éireann 554 Written Answers. Rural Environment Protection Scheme.