NI cuts BPS 2020 inspections to 'reduce spread of Covid-19'

Northern Ireland’s Department of Agriculture will reduce the number of inspections for 2020 BPS
Northern Ireland’s Department of Agriculture will reduce the number of inspections for 2020 BPS

The number of inspections for the 2020 BPS year will be reduced to stop the spread of Covid-19, the Northern Irish government has announced.

The Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA) will carry out a reduced number of inspections for the 2020 Basic Payment Scheme year.

BPS inspections will be reduced from 3% to 1%, greening inspections from 5% to 3% and environment farming scheme inspections down from 10% to 5%.

NI farming minister Edwin Poots said the decision was made as part of efforts to 'reduce the spread of Covid-19 and protect farmers and DAERA staff'.



He said: “I have consistently highlighted the role of our farmers during this crisis and the added pressure they have faced in continuing to provide food for us all.

“In these exceptional circumstances we all need to play our part and adhere to social distancing measures to help reduce the spread of Covid-19."



To further reduce non-essential travel, DAERA has introduced legislation to allow the use of alternatives to an on-farm visit where possible.

"I believe these additional measures will help reduce the burden on our farms during a very difficult year,” Mr Poots said.