BPS 2018

Read the latest updates for the Basic Payment Scheme (BPS) 2018.

Latest news

Rural Payments service

You can now:

  • Apply for the Countryside Stewardship (CS) Arable Offer - before BPS 2018 applications are available. Or if you apply after you’ve submitted your BPS 2018 application, your online receipt will contain information about the CS Arable Offer. Find out more about the Arable Offer or request a pre-application pack on GOV.UK
  • Change your land use information – from the ‘Business overview’ screen click ‘Land’, then ‘Land use’. For more information about how make changes click the ‘Help’ link in the screens
  • Transfer entitlements and land parcels for BPS 2018 until 15 May.


  • Read the land use codes for BPS 2018.
  • Land use code for ‘spelt wheat’ (AC96) - for BPS 2018 this code will show as ‘Samphire’ in the Rural Payments service as the decision was made too late for RPA to be able to make a change to the service.
  • Add land - add land (that is already registered with RPA) to your business in the Rural Payments service by sending an email to Use the subject heading ‘BPS 2018 Add land’. The email must be sent from an email address registered to the business in the Rural Payments service. Include in the email:
    • the SBI and ‘Business name’ the land is to be added to
    • the land parcel reference number (OS sheet reference number and parcel ID) for the land you want to add
    • your name and contact number in case more information is needed.
    • RPA must receive your request by 5 May 2018 to make sure the land parcels are added before the 15 May BPS application deadline. You’ll receive confirmation by email when the land has been added, and shortly after that you’ll be able to see the land parcels in the ‘View land’ and ‘Land use’ screens.

Changes to the BPS rules for 2018

  • Active farmer - you no longer need to meet the ‘active farmer’ requirement under BPS for 2018 onwards. However, this change to the EU regulation was confirmed too late for RPA to make changes to the Rural Payments service or the BP5 application form for 2018. Therefore, for BPS 2018 you must fill in the first box of the ‘Active farmer declaration’ in the Rural Payments service, or on your BP5 application form stating ‘No - I qualify as an active farmer’. You must do this before you submit your BPS application’.
  • Young farmer payment - eligible farmers can apply for and receive the ‘young farmer payment’ for a maximum of 5 years starting from the year in which they made their first successful BPS application.
  • Greening rules - changes for BPS 2018 were updated below on 20 February 2018.

Basic Payment Scheme 2018 - changes to greening rules

The European Commission has published updated greening rules which will come into effect from 1 January 2018. You can read a summary of the updates below, more detailed guidance will follow.

Updates for BPS 2018

The main changes to the 2018 greening rules are as follows.

  • A complete ban on the use of Plant Protection Products on Ecological Focus Area (EFA) Fallow Land, EFA Catch and Cover Crops, and EFA Nitrogen-fixing Crops is introduced. The ban applies from the time of sowing the crop, even if this is before 1 January 2018, to harvesting. The ban also applies to seed dressings.
  • EFA catch crops must be maintained for a minimum of 8 weeks starting on 20 August 2018 and must be retained until at least 14 October 2018. The period for EFA cover crops remains at 1 October to 15 January of the following year.
  • As part of crop diversification, you can declare an area as ‘mixed crops’ that contains small areas of different crops grown next to each other. Individually these would otherwise be too small to claim (these are areas less than 0.01ha) but can be claimed as one ‘mixed crop’ area.
  • If you claim EFA nitrogen-fixing crops, in addition to pure stands of a nitrogen-fixing crop you will be allowed to use:
    • mixtures of different nitrogen-fixing crop species; or
    • mixtures of nitrogen fixing crops and other crops, as long as over 50% is nitrogen-fixing crops.

    If you sow your 2018 EFA nitrogen-fixing crops in autumn 2017, this more flexible rule applies.

  • The value of nitrogen-fixing crops for EFA has increased from 0.7 to 1.0. The greening calculator in the Rural Payments service has not been updated with this change as the decision was made too late for RPA to be able to make the change to the service for BPS 2018.
  • The limit of 30 hectares of remaining arable land has been removed from 2 of the crop diversification exemptions and both of the EFA exemptions.
  • The definition of the EFA option for hedges is extended to include trees in a line. The EFA value will remain the same - each metre of length equals 10 square metres of area for EFA.
  • The definition of the EFA buffer strips option is extended to include field margins as well as buffer strips. In addition to buffer strips adjacent or parallel with a water course, you can also claim field margins towards your EFA. The minimum width of 1 metre remains. The EFA value of field margins will be the same as EFA buffer strips - every metre in length equals 9 square metres of area for EFA.

During the EFA fallow period (1 January 2018 to 30 June 2018), you can do the following on your fallow land:

  • carry out drainage work
  • sow wild bird seed mixes and/or nectar sources and/or pollen sources
  • top green cover or previous crop residue.

You must not:

  • sow grass, unless you are required to do so for a rural development agri-environment scheme
  • plough or cultivate the ground
  • use cultivation to control weeds (for example, Blackgrass, Ragwort, Hemlock)
  • carry out any form of production including sowing, harvesting or grazing except where you are sowing grass specifically for a rural development agri-environment agreement or wild bird seed mixes, pollen sources or nectar sources (see above)
  • apply any fertiliser or farmyard manure
  • apply any plant protection products including herbicides, fungicides or insecticides.

What you need to do

The Rural Payments Agency (RPA) will publish more detailed guidance, but in the meantime you should consider these updates in any cropping decisions you are making for 2018.

Rural Payments service

You can use the Rural Payments service to:

  • register for rural payments
  • update your personal and business details
  • give someone else (like an agent) permission to act on your behalf
  • view your BPS entitlements
  • see and print digital maps of your land parcels
  • view your previous year’s claim
  • transfer entitlements to use in the BPS 2018 scheme year
  • transfer or remove land
  • edit land use

RPA will let you know when you can:

  • add or delete common rights
  • apply for BPS 2018 and view your application summary

How to use the Rural Payments service – help is available

There’s onscreen ‘Help’ in the service to guide you if you get stuck (you can also download a copy of the onscreen Help (PDF, 2.38MB, 52 pages) .

Updates to digital maps on the Rural Payments service

RPA is making a number of updates to digital maps. For more information on these updates please see the RLE1 page.

To view your individual land parcels, go to: From the ‘Business overview’ screen, click ‘Land’ then ‘View land’.

Forgotten your online password?

If you’re logging in with a Customer Reference Number (CRN) and have forgotten your password, you can create a new one from the sign-in page.

Click ‘Having trouble signing in?’ then ‘create a new one’.

If you can’t remember your CRN, call RPA on 03000 200 301.

Planned maintenance of the Rural Payments service

There are times when the Rural Payments service is unavailable because of essential planned maintenance and updates. Check ‘Rural Payments: registering and updating your details’ to keep up to date about availability of the Rural Payments service.

Contact RPA

Published 9 August 2017
Last updated 20 February 2018 + show all updates
  1. Added link to BPS2018 land use code
  2. Latest updates for BPS 2018
  3. Further updates made the greening requirements.
  4. Entitlement and land transfers now available for BPS 2018
  5. First published.