The Irish Natura and Hill Farmers Association are calling for a full renegotiation of the original deal done to compensate farmers for rights lost as a result of designations. Presently the only compensatory option open to farmers with designated or Natura land is through GLAS which pays €79/ha to a maximum of 63/ha.
INHFA spokesperson on Designations and the Environment Shaunie Boyle outlined how this falls well short of what would be a fair payment for designation.
“Officials in Brussels had indicated to us that the cost to a farmer for every hectare of designated land was €150/ha per year” stated Mr Boyle who added that “these farmers are not just losing here, but some have also lost out under land eligibility penalties brought about as a result of restrictions due to these designations” He has also pointed out “that this has become a major issue for many hill and commonage farmers, and it is vital that the full impact of these designations is recognised when the DAFM is accessing what land is eligible.”
Mr Boyle continued to outline how the original deal done to compensate farmers for Designations was flawed. The reason for this he stated “was it didn’t legally recognise the burden placed on property and in effect saw rights of ownership signed away”
What now needs to happen stated Mr Boyle is “the renegotiation of this by all stakeholders which takes into account the clear burden placed on property and the need to tie this burden to any compensatory measure”
Mr Boyle concluded by outlining the INHFAs position in any future talks which are
1. A minimum flat rate payment of €150/ha on every hectare of designated land. This to be paid independent of any agri-environmental scheme.
2. All designated land to automatically qualify for Basic Payment or its future equivalent.
3. In the event of either of these two not being delivered then the burden of designation is lifted.