Junior Agriculture Minister Tony Killeen, T.D. has welcomed the introduction of a new Bioenergy Scheme to grant aid the planting of willow and miscanthus crops over the period 2010 to 2012.
The Scheme was initially launched on a pilot basis in 2007 and supported the planting of 2,500 hectares by the end of 2009. The new Scheme is part of the Department’s revised Rural Development Programme, which is due to be formally approved by the EU Commission in the near future.
The Clare Deputy said the new Scheme would consolidate progress made during the three years of the pilot phase in developing a biomass crops sector in Ireland.
He continued: “I welcome the announcement by my colleague Brendan Smith TD, Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, that EUR1 million is being made available to support the planting of a further 1,000 hectares in 2010. The Scheme is now open for applications and interested farmers can apply for establishment grants of up to EUR1,300 per hectare to cover 50 per cent of the costs of establishing these crops”.
“The legal basis for the Bioenergy Scheme is Council Regulation (EC) No 1698/2005, as amended on support for rural development by the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development. Eligible costs include ground preparation operations, vegetation management, planting and the purchase of planting stock”, concluded Minister of State Killeen.
The closing date for submission of applications for pre-planting approval is Wednesday 31st March 2010. Details of the Bioenergy Scheme and application forms can be obtained from Biofuels Policy Unit, Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, Kea-Lew Business Park, Mountrath Road, Portlaoise, Co. Laois. Telephone 057-8692231/8692240 or at www.agriculture.gov.ie.
Notes to Editor:
- High-resolution images of Tony Killeen, Fianna Fail TD for Clare, and Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, with special responsibility for Forestry, Fisheries and the Marine, may be downloaded from www.dunphyprimages.com
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