DAERA challenged over removal of farm business IDs

Upper Bann MP Carla Lockhart has written to the Department for Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs Permanent Secretary to raise concerns regarding the removal of Farm Identification numbers from around 16,000 farms across Northern Ireland in recent months.
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The DUP representative said she has been contacted by a number of farmers who have been informed their farm business number has been taken away.

Carla Lockhart said: “In recent weeks I have been contacted by a number of young farmers who have been informed that DAERA has closed their farm business accounts and removed their farm business ID as a consequence of this.

"This is as a result of the farmer having had no interaction with the Department for the previous five years. However, this is seeing some active farmers losing their farm business ID, through no fault of their own. Farms not undertaking TB tests, or claiming subsidies for example, may fall into this trap. Likewise some arable farmers not claiming the basic payment may also be losing out.

Upper  Bann MP Carla Lockhart. Picture: DUPUpper  Bann MP Carla Lockhart. Picture: DUP
Upper Bann MP Carla Lockhart. Picture: DUP

"The removal of the farm business ID has knock on consequences, most notably within planning law and the PPS 21 requirements for building within the countryside. An active farm, evidenced by farm ID, is key to satisfying policy in many cases where farmers may wish to secure building consent on the farm. Without the number, this is extremely difficult.

"We need DAERA to look again at this and recognise that the impact of this measure will make living on farm more difficult for young farmers, and make effective succession planning more difficult if the next generation cannot live on farm. That serves no positive purpose at all, only having a negative impact on our agriculture industry.

"I have written to DAERA requesting a review and await the response in due course. We need the framework for sustainable family farming to be in place, not dismantled by bureaucratic projects with no meaningful outcomes.”