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New 2015 cross compliance guidance available online now

Rural Payments Agency urges farmers to get up to speed with the new rules or risk losing money.

farm land

The Rural Payments Agency (RPA) is advising all farmers and food producers who want to claim the 2015 Basic Payment Scheme (BPS), or have a Rural Development Programme land-based agreement, to read the latest cross compliance guidance for 2015 which is published on GOV.UK today.

RPA Customer Director Justin Chamberlain said:

Our recent Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) update leaflets have been highlighting that some of the cross compliance rules have changed for 2015.

From today, our customers can find comprehensive and up-to-date information on all the changes in one place on GOV.UK. Printed copies of the guidance will be going out to all customers before the end of the year.

The RPA is committed to supporting rural economies and would not wish farmers and food producer to miss out on vital EU funding. This is why we urge all those proposing to claim the new BPS or RDP land-based schemes next year to familiarise themselves with the rules, especially those highlighted with a warning triangle. These flag up areas of cross compliance which can attract high failure rates. Paying attention now could save you money next year.

Key Changes

  • All of the Good Agricultural and Environmental Conditions (GAECs) and most of the Soil Management Regulations (SMRs) have been renumbered and some GAECs have been split or merged into other rules.
  • What was SMR 3 (sewage sludge) and SMRs 13, 14 and 15 (control of foot and mouth disease, certain animal diseases and bluetongue) have been removed.
  • What was GAEC 11 (control of weeds) and 12 (agricultural land which is not in agricultural production) have been removed. Instead, as part of the BPS eligibility rules, this agricultural land will need to be maintained so that it is kept clear of dense scrub.
  • Some rules have been removed from the SMR for Wild Birds (SMR 2).
  • Claimants no longer need to keep a Soil Protection Review (SPR). Instead, there are new rules for soils (GAECs 4, 5,and 6).
  • The rule on sustainable use has been removed from SMR 10 (plant protection products).
  • Under a new GAEC 7, rules for landscape features have changed. Changes to rules include:
  • Boundary features such as hedgerows and stone walls are now covered under GAEC 7a. Also there are new rules for the protection of stone banks and earth banks.
  • A longer ‘no trimming’ season will apply for hedges and trees and will run from 1 March until 31 August inclusive. A derogation may be available to those wishing to sow oil seed rape or temporary grassland during August.


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