Agriculture Minister Michelle O’Neill has today launched a public consultation on the Good Agricultural and Environmental Condition (GAEC) standards that will come into effect from 1 January 2015.
Farmers receiving direct agricultural support payments from the EU are required to maintain their land in GAEC and comply with of a number of existing European laws (known as the Statutory Management Requirements). Minister O’Neill said: “As part of the CAP Reform process the European Commission has decided to amend the framework against which we must develop our GAEC requirements. Whilst the regulations have not changed significantly they afford member states flexibility in setting requirements for GAEC. This allows us to review the implementation of these requirements to ensure they are fit for purpose as well as meet our EU obligations. “The review will have implications for the environment and those intending to claim direct agricultural support payments from 2015 onwards. This consultation seeks to shape the development of a revised set of GAEC requirements that is clear to farmers, can be controlled effectively and can achieve the aim of protecting the environment. “I would, therefore, encourage all those with an interest to read the consultation document and to forward their views on the proposed policy options by 30 May 2014.”]]>