Agriculture Minister Edwin Poots MLA has today confirmed that most routine DAERA inspections will continue to be paused until 15 May 2020.
Minister Poots had previously announced that inspections would be paused until April 30. However, following the decision of the NI Executive (15 April 2020) to extend the restrictions in NI to 9 May 2020, a review of pausing of inspections was carried out as part of the continuing effort to reduce the spread of the virus.
To continue to pause inspections it will also take pressure off those businesses and the agri-food sector who are working extremely hard to ensure that the essential product supply chains keeps moving.
Minister Poots said: “As a result of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, we need to consider what work is absolutely critical to keeping essential businesses and supply chains operational while at the same time protecting human health, animal welfare and the environment.
“Following the Executive’s decision earlier this month to extend the period of restrictions I have decided to continue to pause routine inspections in the short term as a necessary step to protect staff, businesses and the public, whilst ensuring Departmental resources are focused on priority areas. It also minimises disruption and provides certainty for farmers and businesses at a very difficult time.”
Where it has been reported or suspected that there has been, or there is likely to be, potential for a significant impact on public health, trade, animal health or pollution of the environment the pausing of inspections will not apply. In those cases DAERA staff may undertake site inspections on farms (or elsewhere) to assess and resolve any issues.
The full list of inspections that are paused, continuing, or recommencing, can be found on the DAERA website at: www.daera-ni.gov.uk/outline-extending-pause-routine-inspections