Good news is on the horizon for those behind the 100 farm planning applications caught up in the ammonia deadlock.

Northern Ireland's Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA) has announced it will begin processing the applications of those kept in the lurch over tightened ammonia restrictions.

It comes as the department publishes its response to the expert working group's findings.


A spokesman for the department said: "DAERA fully appreciates the frustration caused by the delay in making its statutory consultee response to approximately 100 planning applications.

In considering the applications, the department is obliged to take account of evolving case law, existing environmental conditions and the nature of planning consultations received.

"DAERA is now in a position to start issuing responses to the planning authorities on these applications.

"This process will start tomorrow and we hope it will be completed next month.

"Applicants will either know if their application has been recommended for approval or refusal, or if further information is required before a decision can be reached."

Back in January, AgriLand connected the stalled planning applications to the ammonia situation.

The delay in the planning applications has also had a knock-on effect on the Tier 2 application process.

A total of 17 out of the 100 affected by the ammonia deadlock also relate to the Farm Business Investment Scheme - Capital Tier 2 grant.

Some farmers told AgriLand they had spent up to £15,000 on their application - including costly air modelling - while others said they had increased herd numbers to prepare for new facilities, only to be kept waiting.