Doubts cast on proposal for grant aid for clearing drains
The possibility of including a measure on clearing drains for inclusion in the farm safety scheme under TAMS II is included in the Programme for a Partnership Government.
However, the Minister for Agriculture, Michael Creed cast doubt on the proposal saying that any such measure would require full compliance with environmental requirements including the need for a full national Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) and Appropriate Assessments for any potentially affected Natura Areas.
A number of key challenges therefore arise and consideration of these issues is ongoing. A scheme for land reclamation is not envisaged as this time.
According to Teagasc, two thirds of the land area of Ireland is classified as lowland mineral soils, of which one third consists of heavy soils (or poorly drained soils).
The proportion of heavy soils various greatly between counties; Cork 14, Tipperary 19, Kerry 26, Clare 37 and Limerick 42 per cent, respectively.
The rate of water infiltration on heavy soils is significantly reduced compared to free draining soils, often exacerbated by higher rainfall, resulting in a significant reduction in grass production and utilization.
Teagasc has said the provision of effective drainage for these soils is essential to enable an effective grass- based system to be planned in a realistic and business like manner.