Dáil Éireann - Volume 630 - 31 January, 2007
Written Answers. - Farm Inspections.
Mr. Timmins Mr. Timmins
Mr. Timmins asked the Minister for Agriculture and Food the number of farmers and herd numbers in County Wicklow; the number of farm inspections that have taken place in the county since the single farm payment scheme was introduced; the way this level of inspection compares to the national level; the herd numbers by county; the number of farm inspections carried out by county since the single farm payment was introduced; the procedures in place for carrying out  these inspections; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [43851/06]
Mary Coughlan Mary Coughlan
Mary Coughlan: The position is that my Department, in the context of delivering the Single Payment Scheme, is required to carry out on-the-spot inspections on a number of farms covering such issues as eligibility under the Scheme, compliance with EU legislation in the areas of the environment, food safety, animal health and welfare and plant health and ensuring that the farm is maintained in good agricultural and environmental condition.
A minimum of 5% of Single Payment Scheme applicants is required to be inspected under the eligibility rule. These checks are carried out to verify that the actual area claimed in the Single Payment Scheme application form corresponds to the area held by the farmer and to ensure there are no overlapping claims, or duplicate claims. These checks are also designed to confirm that the lands declared for set-aside purposes are maintained in accordance with the provisions of the EU Regulations and that the set-aside obligations are observed. They are also used to verify that the land used to draw down entitlements does not contain land used for fruit and vegetable production, land used for potatoes or land in forestry or other permanent crops in the year of application for the Single Payment. Up to two-thirds of these inspections are carried out without a farm visit and using the technique of remote sensing.
The rate of on-farm inspection required for cross-compliance is 1% of those farmers to whom the Statutory Management Requirements (including the Nitrates Directive) or Good Agricultural and Environmental Condition apply. However at least 5% of producers must be inspected under the Bovine Animal Identification and Registration requirements as this level is prescribed under the relevant Regulations.
In 2006, 7514 farmers have had their holdings selected for on-the-spot inspection out of some 130,000 who have applied for the Single Payment Scheme — over 100,000 of these are also applicants for the Disadvantaged Areas Scheme. The value of both schemes to Irish farmers is some €1.55 billion in 2006.
There were 2,271 applicants for the 2006 Single Payment Scheme from Wicklow, a reduction from the 2,422 applications from Wicklow in 2005. Since the introduction of the Single Payment Scheme, there has been a total of 15,849 on-farm inspections in the country as a whole. 422 of these have involved Wicklow applicants and represents 2.7% of all inspections for 2005 and 2006.
The increase in the number of inspections carried out in Co Wicklow in 2006 over 2005 resulted from the fact that Wicklow was one of  the sites chosen for remote sensing in 2006. Where applicants for the Single Payment Scheme in an area chosen for remote sensing also applied for the Disadvantaged Areas’ Compensatory Allowance (DAS) my Department had to carry out an on-the-spot inspection to ensure com pliance with Good Farming Practice (GFP) under the DAS scheme. This will no longer be a requirement from 2007 onwards.
Nationally the SPS Application and inspection breakdown is as follows:
Dáil Éireann 630 Written Answers. Farm Inspections.