During the first two weeks of June the Rural Land Agency Department of Sheldon Bosley submitted Basic Payment Scheme claim forms to the Rural Payments Agency (RPA) on behalf of 120 farmers.
This was the culmination of several months working closely with clients, mapping ineligible features and recording cropping data to satisfy the changes under the new Basic Payment Scheme (BPS). The work was complicated and often frustrated by frequent changes to the processes made by the RPA.
Now that the June 15th BPS deadline has passed, the team’s attention has turned to the new Countryside Stewardship Scheme which involves both Mid and Higher Tiers which will take over from the current Entry Level (ELS) and Higher Level (HLS) Schemes. The first job is to complete ‘expressions of interest’ forms by 15th July for clients who may qualify for Higher Tier Agreements beginning in January 2016. If successful at this first stage, we will be working on the substantive applications for these Higher Tier agreements as well as applications for clients who are eligible to apply for the Mid-tier to begin in January 2016.
Those whose applications are successful will be offered agreements towards the end of this year. All new applications will need to be submitted to Natural England by the deadline of 30th Sept 2015.
Like the BPS there will now be annual claims required in respect of ongoing agreements, and applications for Mid or Higher Tier Agreements can be made in successive years as existing multi-year agreements come to an end.
Please contact Sally Pentreath, based at Shipston-on-Stour office on 01608 661666 for further information as soon as possible if you are looking to apply.