Farm Business Improvement Scheme: Update

Oral Answers to Questions — Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs – in the Northern Ireland Assembly at 2:30 pm on 8th September 2020.

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Photo of Thomas Buchanan Thomas Buchanan DUP 2:30 pm, 8th September 2020

T5. Mr T Buchanan asked the Minister of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs for an update on the farm business improvement scheme. (AQT 325/17-22)

Photo of Edwin Poots Edwin Poots DUP

The farm business improvement scheme is something that we wish to take forward. It has been held back as a consequence of some of the decisions that have been coming from Shared Environmental Services (SES). I have given some instruction to SES that it should stay with the 1% while we do a course of work that will ensure that ammonia will be reduced, and reduced significantly, across Northern Ireland and that, consequently, we can have a farm business improvement scheme that will allow growth and, at the same time, ensure that the environment is protected.

Photo of Thomas Buchanan Thomas Buchanan DUP

Thank you, Minister. Have you any plans for further tranches of tier 1?

Photo of Edwin Poots Edwin Poots DUP

Yes, we intend to announce further tranches of the farm business improvement scheme. That is a course of work that we will continue to do, and hopefully we will make those announcements in the not-too-distant future. I did have to deal with some issues so that people would actually get the planning permission to carry out the developments that they are proposing. We need to recognise that these developments will ensure that people are able to stay in the countryside, that there are more jobs in the countryside, that there is more support for local towns and villages and the shops and businesses that are in those villages, and that there are more employment opportunities for the young people who are brought up in rural areas.