A pool of people has been appointed to serve on a new independent panel for area-based schemes, Agriculture Minister Edwin Poots has confirmed.

The panel members will review decisions taken by DAERA, and under new legislation which became law in February 2022, will make the final decision in appeals brought by farmers. DAERA must accept the decision of the panel, unless it is “made on the basis of an error of law”.

Under the previous regime, the panel made recommendations to DAERA, which, in some cases, it chose not to accept, much to the frustration of the farmers involved.

“It is important that farmers have confidence the review process is fair and impartial,” said Minister Poots, who also confirmed that farmers will be able to provide evidence to the panel, even if this was not available when the original decision was made.

However, the new panel will not be considering historic cases where the review process has been completed.

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