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Latest Mapping Changes Are Welcomed

Significant changes have been made by the Rural Payments Agency (RPA) to the Rural Land Register (RLR) mapping update following negotiations with industry stakeholders. But, the underlying problem caused by European Legislation still remains, says the CLA.

The most significant change will mean that land belonging to a land managers neighbour should no longer appear on their updated RLR maps provided that a boundary had existed on their last agreed set of maps. This is good news for land managers thinking of applying to Environmental Stewardship who would have had to go through complicated application procedures or could have found their payments delayed.

CLA President Henry Aubrey-Fletcher said: Whilst this is good news for land managers because the updated maps will now show the land actually forming an individual business unit, it has not resolved the underlying problem caused by European Legislation.

Land managers will need to ensure a permanent boundary exists between all of their fields. This could mean putting in marker posts if a boundary is not obvious on the ground.

The CLA President continued: Unfortunately the problem still persists that where no permanent boundary exists between fields the RPA will be forced to merge them into one, regardless of ownership. This creates complications for those wishing to apply or renew into the Environmental Stewardship scheme.

Similarly claims under the Single Payment Scheme (SPS) would need to be agreed between neighbours to avoid costly penalties, which is not always achievable.

The CLA believes that this European regulation is unworkable in the UK and needs challenging by government. Not only is it creating additional administrative and practical burdens on both land managers and government agencies but it is reinventing the wheel over agreed ownership boundaries, said the CLA President.

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