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Approvals Issue Under New Environment Scheme

The Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, Brendan Smith TD, announced today that his Department had written to almost 6,000 applicants under the new Agri-Environment Options Scheme (AEOS) approving their applications and confirming their participation in the scheme.

The Minister said "This represents almost two-thirds of those who applied for AEOS. Farmers who get their letters of approval this week will be given contracts starting from 1st September.  I am very pleased that we have been able to process so many applications within a fairly tight time-frame". He added that his officials were giving priority to processing the remaining applications with a view to issuing further approval as soon as possible.

Speaking at the National Ploughing Championships being held at Athy, Co Kildare, Minister Smith said that the high level of interest and take-up - about 9,200 applications were received - had shown that AEOS was attractive and accessible to farmers. "With its focus on biodiversity, water quality and climate change, AEOS will deliver significant environmental benefits over the coming years to the country as a whole and will provide a welcome income stream to the participating farmers and their families", said Minister Smith.

The Minister also confirmed that existing REPS 3 and REPS 4 contracts will continue to be honoured in full. The processing of claims under both schemes is on-going and payments will issue over the coming months.

Date Released: 22 September 2010