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Allister comments on FNMS and Crossnacreevy report

15 September 2011

TUV Leader Jim Allister, who while MEP campaigned vigorously on the Farm Nutrient Management Scheme (FNMS) and raised multiple questions about the contrived valuation of 'the Crossnacreevy lands', has welcomed the reported findings of the Public Accounts Committee which are highly critical of the behaviour of both DARD and DFP.
 
In  a statement Jim Allister said:-
"The Crossnacreevy saga - when land patently worth less than 5m was misrepresented as worth 200m - was a disgraceful accounting dodge. Though it was known the land was in the greenbelt, and thus not eligible for development, it was valued at prime development rates to produce the ludricrous valuation for these 80 acres of 200m. In fact it was worth under 5m. How and who perfected this wheeze has never been fully explained. It happened on Peter Robinson's watch at DFP, who, of all people, knew the value of land in Castlereagh and the blight on value if it was in the greenbelt.
 
"This was an accounting failure of huge proportions, but I expect the vested interests at play will ensure those responsible will escape responsibility. But, at least, the PAC report should expose some of the machinations at play.

 

"As for the reported findings on the FNMS and its maladministration, these too are welcome. The Nitrates Directrive was an EU folly which typically tried to apply a 'one size fits all' solution, but, of course, in our case, because we didn't have a nitrates problem, it resulted in unnecessarily inflicted costs on both farmers and the taxpayers. Farmers, who had to expend millions to meet 40% of the cost of the FNMS are entitled to ask 'what was it all for', as we now find no water quality improvement resulted. This bears out what I long said in Brussels and elsewhere against the Nitrates Directive and its impositions. There ought to have been exemptions for areas where nitrates weren't the problem.

 

"Equally, the administration of the scheme by DARD was shambolic and, therefore, I welcome recognition of this, if the final PAC report makes that clear. But the abiding question is 'have any lessons been learned?', or will the next madcap EU directive result in the same mayhem."

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Agriculture and Environment