Press release

Bridging payments delivered to 3,200 farmers

Bridging payments worth more than £117 million have now reached over 3,200 farms, the Rural Payments Agency (RPA) has today announced (Monday 16 April 2018).


More than 96% of farmers in England signed up to the 2017 Basic Payment Scheme (BPS) have now received their full payments and the RPA is working to make the remaining 4% of payments which require more complex processing and therefore take longer to complete.

Over 18,000 2018 Basic Payment Scheme (BPS) applications have already been submitted since the application window opened in March. A record 90% of the applications made so far have been online, as farmers continue to make the switch from paper forms, with over 16,500 online entitlements so far.

RPA Chief Executive Paul Caldwell said:

We have made solid progress in delivering payments to farmers this year, with more than 96% now paid, and I am pleased so many of this final 4% have now received their bridging payments.

As always, there is more to do, and the RPA will continue working to make the final remaining payments. But now is also the time to get online to make sure your application for 2018 is in before the deadline closes in May.

Farming Minister George Eustice announced in January the commitment to provide a bridging payment to any farmer not paid by the end of March and highlighted how the burden of EU rules continues to be a barrier to processing some of the remaining claims. These bridging payments are worth 75% of their full allocated amounts.

The RPA is encouraging farmers to apply online now, to ensure that their application is submitted before the deadline of 15 May 2018. Applying online means farmers and agents can quickly check and update existing personal and business details, as well as view and transfer land and entitlements.

Throughout the application process, help and support is available through our online guidance, ‘How to’ videos and by telephone.

Online and paper applications

Anyone who applied online for the Basic Payment Scheme in 2017has been emailed all they need to apply online for BPS in 2017. Those who did not apply online in 2017 and did not use an agent have been sent a paper form and guidance on how to apply online.

Support available from the RPA

Farmers and anyone helping them with their claim can find step-by-step guides on transferring land, transferring entitlements and a general overview of how to apply online in useful ‘How to’ videos. Further guidance and scheme rules can be found on GOV.UK. On-screen help is also available, going through the application process screen by screen. A copy of this on-screen guide is also available for download or print.

The application deadline for BPS 2017 is midnight on 15 May 2018. Late applications will be accepted until 9 June but will incur a penalty. More information on how to claim or amend applications in the penalty claim period can be found in the Key Dates section of the 2018 guidance.

Mapping queries

This is the first year that hedges are shown in online digital maps. For those that want to use hedges as part of their application it’s important that they read our guidance on ‘How to check and change your hedge information’. This guidance explains how to check the information we hold about hedges, whether applicants need to tell us about changes and what to do if changes do need to be made.

Where an RLE1 form is necessary as part of a BPS 2018 application, farmers should submit their main application first and on time (by 15 May 2018). They can then submit any queries and send the RLE1 form to the RPA with the sketch map before 6 July 2018. This is to reduce the burden on applicants and allow them more time to complete the extra information required.

Published 16 April 2018