The Rural Payments Agency (RPA) has today (8 April) issued more detail on next steps for farmers and landowners who wish to claim for Basic Payment Scheme 2015.
The Agency says that pre-populated BP5 claim forms will start to be sent out next week by email to everyone who has registered on the Rural Payments online system.
They will also get guidance on how to apply via email initially with paper copies to follow in the post. Farmers and agents are advised to check their email accounts and look out for the email from the RPA.
Where a farmer has fully empowered an agent to act on their behalf, these communications will go direct to the agent.
Map packs will arrive this week for those who have not received an up-to-date map of their land in the past six months. These show all the information currently held about the land including permanent field boundaries (such as hedges, fences or watercourses) and permanent ineligible features which the RPA knows about.
‘Request for changes to the Rural Land Register and for the transfer of entitlements’ (the RLE1 form) which has recently been made available on GOV.UK, should be used to tell RPA about changes to land or to transfer entitlements.
RPA Customer Director Justin Chamberlain said:
From next week we will start sending out to farmers everything they need to make their claims. For now, our advice would be to get ready to apply by reading the scheme guidance, use the blank form to start to gather any information you may require and think about any help you might need.
While we welcome confirmation that the deadline for BPS 2015 applications is now 15 June 2015, we would still advise farmers to get their claims started as early as they can so we can give them the help and support they may need.
All farmers are reminded that registering on the online Rural Payments system is still the only way to begin the process of making their claim and I would encourage all those who have not done so to get registered straight away.
New and young farmers are reminded they are now able to start the process to qualify for BPS entitlements under the ‘national reserve’. To apply for entitlements or the new young farmer payment, farmers must send a completed ‘Accountant or Solicitor Certificate to confirm new or young farmer status’ to the Rural Payments Agency by the 2015 claim deadline. An accountant or solicitor will need to fill it in. The forms can now be found at GOV.UK.
Under Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) reforms, up to three percent of the total BPS budget this year has been earmarked to create entitlements for new and young farmers. A further two per cent of the BPS budget will be used to fund extra money for young farmers who have set up or taken control of their farm in the last five years. They must be aged 40 years or under in 2015 and could get up to 25 per cent extra on the average value of their first 90 entitlements.
More information on the Basic Payment Scheme can be found on GOV.UK. If you need help, call the Rural Payments helpline on 03000 200 301.