The Irish Farmers’ Association (IFA) has negotiated a new and improved National Roads Agreement with Transport Infrastructural Ireland (TII). This new agreement will apply to land compulsorily acquired for national road developments between Jan 1st 2022 and 31st December 2027.
Announcing details of the new agreement, IFA President Tim Cullinan said that having land subject to CPO for State infrastructural development was very disruptive, extremely stressful and unsettling for farm families.
He said the agreement covers the compensation claim by landowners impacted by the CPO process. It also provides an additional fixed payment of €6,500 per acre in recognition of the co-operation and early access provided by the landowner.
“CPOs are provided for in law and while we might not like that, it is very important that farmers are at least compensated fairly and fully. An IFA team led by Paul O’Brien has been working on these negotiations for months and I am confident that the best possible agreement has been reached.”
The Minister for Transport Eamon Ryan TD said, “I welcome the conclusion of this new agreement. Such agreements have proven to be an effective method in providing for early engagement between landowners, TII and local authorities. I wish to extend my thanks to all parties for the collaborative effort they have demonstrated in achieving agreement.”
Peter Walsh Chief Executive TII said, “This national agreement with the IFA further supports TII along with our Local Authority partners to continue to deliver the needed investment in national roads. I’d like to thank all those involved in working towards a fair and equitable agreement for all stakeholders. Together with the Code of Best Practice for national and regional Greenways, this agreement reinforces TII’s commitment to infrastructure delivery in a balanced and efficient way”.
The new Agreement builds on the previous 2016 Agreement and continues to set out additional arrangements and procedures, supplementary to those provided in legislation, aimed at ensuring that landowners and acquiring authorities are clear on the processes and that farmers and landowners are treated fairly.
IFA National Environment and Rural Affairs Chairman Paul O’Brien said there are a number of key provisions in the Agreement which are critically important for land owners. These include assessing the open market value of the land being acquired. This is done by reference and comparison to the size, location and quality of the land parcels that are part of the order. Account is also taken of the injurious affection (including damage to the viability of the farm business), severance and disturbance.
Where farm buildings, fixtures and other structures are taken, the settlement will include the cost of replacing such farm buildings, fixtures and other structures with comparable new facilities for similar farming purposes.
The Agreement also provides a facility for an independent assessment of the compensation if a settlement agreement cannot be reached between the landowner and the local authority or TII.
Compensation will be paid for all damage and disturbance caused during site investigation works, including disturbance to farming activities, livestock and/or crops and full reinstatement shall be made to all lands damaged by site investigations as set out in a revised code of practice.
Paul O’Brien said a Code of Practice will be updated and continue to provide guidance aimed at ensuring good liaison and communication with farmers affected by land acquisition for national roads schemes.
A Project Liaison Officer for each major national primary road scheme will be appointed to liaise and engage with impacted farmers or their representatives, including in relation to the supervision of agreed accommodation works.
TII and local authorities shall meet the reasonable and necessary costs to landowners affected by the compulsory acquisition of land for roads, of professional fees, including the cost of assessing and agreeing accommodation works.
The local authorities will provide and maintain stock proof fencing on all new motorways, dual-carriageways and national roads provided on or over land to which the agreement applies.
In conclusion, Paul O Brien said “Having your land selected for compulsory purchase is a massive issue for any farmer. The IFA has worked hard to put an agreement in place to ensure that farmers are treated fairly in the process. For many that will be little compensation for the loss of their lands, which have been passed through the generations and is the basis of their livelihood. We believe this is a good agreement and we will continue to work with farmers on the ground to address any queries and to ensure that the acquiring authorities honour it in full.”