Dáil Éireann - Volume 592 - 16 November, 2004

Written Answers. - Rural Environment Protection Scheme.

  220. Mr. P. Breen asked the Minister for Agriculture and Food if the REP scheme will be in place until 2013 in view of the fact that the reforms in Agenda 2000 were changed after three years; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [28576/04]

  Mary Coughlan: The rural environment protection scheme is Ireland’s agri-environment programme under Council Regulation (EC) No 1257/1999. This regulation remains in force until 31 December 2006 and was not affected by the mid-term review of the Common Agricultural Policy.

Formulation of a new council regulation on rural development for the next programming period, 2007-13, is at an advanced stage. The new regulation not only makes specific provision for agri-environment programmes up to 2013 but, like the current regulation, makes them mandatory for all member states. In discussions on the new regulation, my officials have pointed to the success of REPS. I am confident the new regulation, when finalised, will provide a framework for the further evolution of REPS as a scheme delivering substantial benefits both to farmers and to the environment.