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The Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA) is to carry out a reduced number of inspections for the 2020 Basic Payment Scheme year, Minister Edwin Poots MLA has announced.

Minister Poots has made the decision to reduce the number of inspections in an effort to reduce the spread of Covid-19 and protect farmers and DAERA staff.

He said: “I have consistently highlighted the key role of our farmers during this current crisis and the added pressure they have faced in continuing to provide food for us all.

“In these exceptional circumstances we all need to play our part and adhere to social distancing measures to help reduce the spread of Covid-19. I have, therefore, decided to reduce the number of inspections to be carried out by my Department as part of the 2020 Basic Payment Scheme year.

“To further reduce non-essential travel, I have introduced legislation to allow the use of alternatives to an on-farm visit where possible. I believe these additional measures will help reduce the burden on our farms during a very difficult year.”

Basic Payment Scheme inspections will be reduced as follows:

  • Basic Payment Scheme inspections reduced from 3% to 1%
  • Greening inspections reduced from 5% to 3%
  • Environment Farming Scheme inspections reduced from 10% to 5%