The Department of Agriculture is looking for full planning permission, or a letter of exemption for all fixed structures, at time of application to the new TAMS II schemes.

Under the terms and conditions of the new schemes the Department says where planning permission is required the Department will not accept an application as valid unless documentary evidence of a grant of full planning permission, revised planning where required or declaration of exemption for the proposed works issued by the relevant Local Authority accompanies the application.

It says notification of a decision to grant planning permission will not be sufficient for this purpose.

At a recent Irish Farm Managers Association farm walk Department of Agriculture official Sean Molloy said there was a number of reasons for the rule.

He said the scheme will be open until 2020 and there is likely to be strong competion of funding under the various investment schemes.

Molloy said the Department does not want to approve applications where farmers haven’t got planning as the process in certain cases can take more time than anticipated.

He said in this situation that case could be potentially keeping somebody who has planning permission approved and is ready to go, out of the scheme.

Another reason for asking for full planning permission up front is because of current illegal buildings on the farm.

“We do constantly have problems when years ago some lads never got planning for work. So you have an illegal building.

“We cannot grant aid for an illegal building,” he said.

Molloy also said that the Department see the planning process as a way of discouraging people that are not fully interested in the scheme from applying.

“If we have two lads applying – one has planning and the other doesn’t. Which guy is going to go away and do that work?

“In TAMS 1 nearly half the guys in the Sheep and Dairy Equipment Schemes have not drawn down the grant as of two weeks ago.

“A lot of lads just get in the application as a bit of insurance some might go ahead with it or I might not.

“However, he said if you have to go and get planning. The’re the guys that are going to go ahead and do the work, he said.

This week the Minister for Agriculture, Simon Coveney announced the opening of two new TAMS II Schemes.

The Animal Welfare, Safety and Nutrient Storage Scheme and the Low Emission Slurry Spreading Scheme – LESS – which are the third and fourth of the new Targeted Agricultural Modernisation Schemes (TAMS) to be launched under the new Rural Development Programme 2014 – 2020.