Tuesday, 1 December 2015
Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine
Agri-Environment Options Scheme Payments
270. To ask the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine how he determines that amounts claimed by a participant in the agri-environment options scheme for non-productive capital costs associated with tree planting are in excess of verified costs when the management standard, as per the scheme's guidelines, give a figure of €62.70 per tree; if he will provide a breakdown of this figure; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [42588/15]
The maximum payment that is eligible for reimbursement per unit (tree) under the AEOS non-productive capital investment action is €62.70. This figure is compiled from all the costs that can be associated with delivering the Action of planting trees, including the purchase of the trees (with purchase price depending on size, age etc), the labour to plant the trees and all the associated cost that may be incurred, including the purchase of tree supports, fencing of the area and so on.
The rules around the verification of claims is set out in EU Regulation 65/2011. Claims received for payment must be accompanied by invoices for the purchase of trees and other goods and must have been endorsed as paid by the supplier of the goods. The Department may seek supporting documentation from claimants, such as copies of cashed cheques or other documentation that may be available. The requirement to assess the reasonableness of the costs claimed and the reality of the expenditure is also set out in the Regulation. The key issue is that only the actual amount paid by the participant for the approved number of units of the Action can be claimed.