Call for more “goodwill” payments to farmers for road projects

The IFA is seeking an increase in the state’s “goodwill payment” to farmers for road projects as difficult talks to secure a new national road deal are set to resume next week.

The previous agreement between the IFA and the government, which is said to have saved the state hundreds of millions of euros, has been in place since 2016.

However, it expired in December with no rollover plan in place.

An Bord Pleanála’s decision last week to approve plans for the €500million Foynes to Limerick road is understood to have increased the urgency of extending the agreement.

Key elements of the previous agreement included a fixed payment of €3,000/ac to landowners for all land purchased for national road improvement works.

IFA Chair for Environment and Rural Affairs Paul O’Brien said the current payment was based on a “very historic figure” agreed after the country weathered the Celtic Tiger.

“The original agreement some 20 years ago called for a payment of €5,000/ac. Ahead of the last general elections, we had commitments from Michéal Martin and Leo Varadkar that this number would be re-examined,” he said.

The payment is similar to a cooperation payment which allows Transport Infrastructure Ireland access to land for surveying etc. and goes beyond agreeing on land prices, disruption payments, damage intrusion payments or associated works.

“We’re trying to bring that payment back to a more realistic figure which we think should take into account where they’ve been and the fact that property values ​​are much higher now,” Mr O’Brien said.

The current National Development Plan envisages that 5.7 billion euros will be spent on national road projects by 2040 and another 4.5 billion euros on local and regional roads.

Former TII boss Michael Nolan, a strong supporter of the deal, resigned in 2020

Mr Nolan had said the previous national roads program would have taken another two or three years and cost a further €200-300m had it not been for the deal. Call for more “goodwill” payments to farmers for road projects

Fry Electronics Team

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