18th May, 2012
ICSA president Gabriel Gilmartin said that the whole agri-environment strategy was in disarray. “While we welcome every effort to put in place an AEOS scheme for January 2013, the truth is that AEOS is no longer fit for purpose.
It is neither a credible replacement for REPS nor an innovative way of delivering substantial environmental benefit on a national scale.
However, Mr Gilmartin accepted that farmers who had to put up with the inconvenience and income loss associated with designation needed support and needed it fast.
“The frustration of farmers should not be under-estimated. We have some 10,000 farmers out of REPS since May 2011 and nowhere to go. The Government is failing to appreciate that, for many of these, the loss of REPS as well as cuts to the Disadvantaged Area payment represents a halving of income. We are talking about farmers whose Single Payment is less than the value of these schemes which have been decimated,” he concluded.