EU Commission Approval To Extend The Farm Nutrient Management Scheme (FNMS) Confirmed

NORTHERN IRELAND - The Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (DARD) has announced that EU State Aid approval to extend the FNMS has been secured.
calendar icon 11 December 2006
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A DARD spokesperson confirmed that: "The European Commission has now granted State Aid approval to extend the FNMS deadline for completion of works to 31 December 2008.

This significant progress is the result of difficult and protracted negotiations with the Commission and recent heavy lobbying by DARD, Northern Ireland MEP's and other stakeholders.

While the 2 year extension is welcome, it will be a major challenge to build the large number of tanks planned within the approved timescale. As a condition of approval for the scheme the Commission required an assurance that no further extensions of the scheme would be sought."

In relation to scheme implementation the DARD spokesperson said: "DARD has inspected some 1350 cases to date and issued approvals to most. We will be writing immediately to advise those with approvals of the revised date for completion of works and submission of a claim for payment. Over 600 projects have now been completed and claims submitted. Approvals will continue to issue and the £45 million funding should allow up to around 1600 farmers to invest in additional storage capacity."

"The approved timescale now aligns the FNMS with the phasing in period contained within the Nitrates Action Programme Regulations providing farmers with the time to construct the required storage facilities."

The Nitrates Action Programme Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2006 were made on 1 December 2006 and will come into operation on 1 January 2007.

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