Agriculture Minister Simon Coveney has confirmed that single farm payments for every farm in the country are being reviewed for ineligible features.
Each year, farmers are required to exclude from their single-farm-payment application all ineligible features, such as buildings, farmyards, scrub, roadways, forests, lakes, etc, included in their land parcels.
Farmers are given the means, on ortho-photos made available to them each year, to exclude ineligible features.
In turn, the Department of Agriculture is bound, under EU regulations, to maintain the accuracy of the Land Parcel Identification System (LPIS) for processing of the Single Payment Scheme, and other direct- payment schemes, including REPS and AEOS.
Depending on the level of risk due to LPIS inaccuracy, assessed by the EU Commission, financial corrections may be applied to a member state. Member states who have been subject to this re-view have been fined up to €500m.
Responding to Michael Lowry, TD, in the D•il, Mr Coveney said his Department has until Dec 15 to report its LPIS-review findings to the Commission.
It has also agreed with the Commission to review its entire LPIS database, deal with ineligible features, establish any over-payments due to over-declaration, and seek re-fund from the farmers involved.
“The review of the 950,000 parcels contained on the LPIS database is well-advanced, at this stage, and is on target to be finalised in time to allow a comprehensive response to the Commission within the specified time-frame.”
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