Farmers 'will lose farm payments' if land burnt illegally
Department of Agriculture has said that it is using satellite technology to investigate all of the recent incidents of illegal burning of land.
Officials in the Department are analysing a range of satellite imagery to identify land which was burnt illegally during the specified closed season for burning.
Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Andrew Doyle said historic satellite imagery is also being examined as part of this process.
“My Department will not tolerate incidences of illegal burning of land and will take all necessary actions to ensure compliance with the conditions of the various EU funded area-based schemes, including reducing payments and penalties where applicable."
Recent extensive wildfires throughout the country have caused significant damage to substantial areas of agricultural and forestry land.
“Agricultural and eligible forestry land identified as burnt illegally as part of this investigation will be deemed ineligible for payment under the 2017 Basic Payment and other area-based schemes," the Minister said.
The Minister advised farmers and their advisors, of the following in relation to agricultural and eligible forestry land which is burnt illegally during the closed season – i.e. March 1 to August 31.
- Such land is not eligible for payment under the Basic Payment Scheme and other area-based schemes;
- Farmers who have included illegally burnt land in their 2017 Basic Payment Scheme application, already submitted to the Department, should now remove this land by means of submitting an Amendment Form prior to the closing date for receipt of amendments, i.e. May 31 or June 9 with penalty;
- Inclusion of illegally burnt land in the 2017 Basic Payment Scheme application may result in reduced payment and penalties under this scheme and the other area-based schemes, e.g. Areas of Natural Constraints Scheme;
- Where it is identified, as part of the current investigation, that lands were burnt during the closed season this may result in such land being inspected by Department officials.