6,500 farmers selected for Department 'satellite' inspections
Some 6,500 farmers have been selected for a Remote Sensing (Satellite) inspection across the various area-based schemes the Department of Agriculture has confirmed.
EU regulations governing schemes such as the Basic Payment require that full and comprehensive administrative checks, including Ground or Remote Sensing (Satellite) inspections where applicable, are fully completed before any payments are issued.
The Department says this is to ensure that payments do not issue on ineligible areas/features, that only eligible applicants are paid and to avoid an applicant receiving an undue payment that would have to be recovered by my Department.
According to Minister for Agriculture, Michael Creed for those cases subject to administrative checks which have not passed the validation process, his Department will enter into correspondence mainly through the issuing of query letters to applicants, in order to resolve these error cases.
In the case of Remote Sensing (Satellite) inspections, a comprehensive review of the satellite imagery received must be undertaken to ensure that the actual claimed area in the application form corresponds to the area farmed by the applicant, that the crop types are as claimed and that ineligible land or features are not included for payment purposes.
The regulations prescribe that where it is not possible to make an accurate determination on the eligibility of a parcel or parcels of land by means of an assessment of the available imagery, a field visit must be undertaken to verify the position on the ground.
To date payments in excess of €735m have issued to approximately 113,000 applicants under the 2016 Basic Payments Scheme (BPS). In addition payments in excess of €179m have issued to some 83,500 applicants under the 2016 Areas of Natural Constraints (ANC), the Department of Agriculture has said.
Of the 6,500 cases selected for a satellite inspection, payment of the 1st instalment of the Basic Payment Scheme has issued to 3,447 applicants to date. Payments under Areas of Natural Constraints Scheme have issued to 2,659 applicants to date.