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‘Greening Simplification’ – Changes affecting BPS 2018

‘Greening Simplification’ – Changes affecting BPS 2018

‘Greening Simplification’ – Changes affecting BPS 2018Further details have now been released surrounding the European Union’s decision to alter the greening regulations and these changes will influence BPS applications in 2018.

DEFRA have confirmed that the ban of Plant Protection Products for nitrogen fixing crops that contribute towards Ecological Focus Area requirements will apply for the entire lifecycle of the crop, even if this is before 2018.

The definition of EFA buffer strips is being extended to include field margins, (not previously available as an EFA option in England), minimum width of 1 metre remains and the EFA value of field margins will be the same as EFA buffer strips.

There are no alterations for the period for which EFA cover crops must be maintained, however EFA catch crops must be maintained for a minimum of 8 weeks starting from 20th August 2018 and retained until 14th October 2018. It is believed that this ban will also apply to seed dressings, however further confirmation is needed to confirm this.

For crop diversification, areas can be declared as ‘mixed crops’ that contains small areas of different crops grown next to each other, these areas would otherwise be too small to claim (less than 0.01 hectares).

If you wish to discuss these alterations in more detail then please contact either Ted Beale at our Stratford Office by telephoning 01789 292310 or emailing or Amy Reed at our Shipston-on-Stour Office by telephoning 01608 661666 or by emailing

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Livestock Movements – simpler rules from 2016 to 2017

Livestock movements

Livestock movementsThe future of livestock movements will be influenced by changes announced by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA). The system, welcomed by those in the farming industry including the National Farmers Union (NFU), is due to be rolled out over the next 12 months with completion in autumn 2017.

The new system will allow farmers to register land within a 10 mile radius of their ‘place of business’ and will enable the land to be within one County Parish Holding (CPH) number. This will result in the merging of CPHs, if more than one is held, negating the necessity to record and report if moving livestock within this radius. The changes will also impact ID tagging and due to the closure of some CPHs these will need to be updated.

No change will occur in the process of registering land that is used on a permanent basis. However for land that is used temporarily, less than a year i.e. grazing licence, then the CPH number of whoever holds ownership of the land can be used with the landowner’s permission.  If one does not exist or is not allowed then a temporary CPH number will be created (tCPH) and livestock movements between different CPH numbers will still need to be reported and will trigger the standstill rules. Although if the temporary land is within 10 miles of a permanent CPH that is held then the land could be associated via a Temporary Land Association (TLA), these will last for a year with an option to renew, and will enable the land to become part of the permanent CPH therefore decreasing the administrate burden.

Livestock movementsUnder the new system all Cattle Tracing System links (CTS links) will be withdrawn by summer 2017, as will Sole Occupancy Authorities (SOAs).

Change will also occur in relation to sheep and goat movements. Previously movements between CPHs were recorded by batches however the new system will remove this ability by 1st January 2018, and instead reporting will have to be done by individual animal and the movement report will include the ear tag numbers. However slaughter animals will not be subject to these rules and instead will be identified with just flock markings. The adjacent moves reporting exemption will also be removed and so all livestock movements between different CPHs will have to be reported and recorded.

Farmers are not being required to do anything for the time being and instead DEFRA will make contact to inform of the options available and how the proposed changes will be implemented.

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Active Farmer Status – Basic Payment Scheme

tractor in field‘Active Farmer Status’ is a new criteria that we are all becoming more familiar with as updates are published and as we approach the 15th May deadline.  This requirement will affect farmers who have claimed over 5,000 euros for SPS 2014 (£3,850 GB Sterling).

The rules for Active Farmer status have recently been confirmed and updated by DEFRA.  Many will be aware from our previous posts and seminars, the EU have decided to create five “undeserving” categories to limit claimants.  These five categories are as follows:-

·     Airports

·      Railways

·      Water companies

·      Real Estate Services

·      Permanent Sport or Recreational facilities

Airports and railways are only likely to be caught if they are running scheduled services for the public.  Water companies are only affected if they are one of the 27 designated companies.  The last two are more likely categories which may find some farmers “undeserving”.

blue sky fieldThe definition of a ‘Permanent Sport or Recreational Ground’ was confirmed in the October update from DEFRA to include grounds that are dedicated and kept throughout the year for sporting or recreational use, or grounds that include one or more permanent structures used so people can take part in a sport or recreation (or spectators).

Real estate services refer to professional property developers, real estate agencies, natural or legal persons managing real estate on a fee or contract basis.
BPSIf you are found to be “operating” such an activity, you may be considered “undeserving” of Basic Payment.  The definition of “operating” under the Active Farmer rule means to make decisions on how the non-agricultural activities of the business function, therefore a farmer may be considered the operator of an activity although it does not take place on his land.  In practise an Active Farmer may work for a Company operating a non-agricultural activity such as a Real Estate Service, however, it will be the Company that is operating not the individual.

There remains opportunity for anyone carrying out one of the five non-agricultural activities to ensure they remain eligible to make a claim in 2015 and thereafter.  The first of the readmission criteria is that annual payments for SPS or BPS (including the greening payment and any young farmer payment) are at least 5% of the total non-agricultural receipts in the most recent financial year.  The second readmission test has recently been updated so that if total agricultural receipts are at least 40% of the total receipts in the most recent financial year (this is increased from 15% as previously stated) the claimant will be readmitted into the scheme.  The third criteria, which will bring much relief to all farmers who have been at risk, states that if a claimant has at least 36 hectares of eligible land they will requalify for the Basic Payment Scheme.

Sheldon Bosley January 2015 BPS Workshop inviteThe consequence of the latest changes seem to allow readmission of almost all of the previously “undeserving” applicants, to the extent that there seems little point having the ‘Active Farmer’ test at all.  It is often difficult to fathom the basis of many EU regulations, the Basic Payment Scheme being no different.

Good Luck to all seeking to claim Basic Payment in this first year of the scheme.  For any who need assistance, please do not hesitate to contact the Sheldon Bosley team or come along to our Workshop on January 21st.


Ted Beale

Rural Surveyor

Stratford upon Avon

01789 292310


Sally Pentreath

Rural Advisor


01608 661666