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Minister Smith Announces New Bioenergy Scheme for Willow and Miscanthus

Brendan Smith TD, Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, has today announced the commencement 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.

Announcing the Scheme, the Minister said, "The new Scheme will consolidate progress made during the three years of the pilot phase in developing a biomass crops sector in Ireland. I am pleased to confirm that €1 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 €1,300 per hectare to cover 50% of the costs of establishing these crops".

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 (click here).

L to R: Pat and Peter Farrelly of Farrelly Brothers Carnaross
with Agri Johnny Brady TD, Minister Brendan Smith,
Bernard Keating Timber Pro and John Keely Willow Project

Pat Farrelly with Minister Smith

Note to Editors

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.

Date Released: 08 February 2010