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Guide to cross compliance in England: 2016

Rural Payments Agency
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Claimants may have their scheme payment(s) reduced if they don’t meet the cross compliance rules which apply to their holding.

If a claimant doesn’t meet (even by mistake) all the GAEC and SMR rules that apply to them, their scheme payment(s) may be reduced. These penalties will apply to all the schemes which they have claimed for payment in that calendar year and which are affected by cross compliance.

Refusing an inspection

You could lose all your payment(s) and all your BPS entitlements if you don’t allow an inspection to be carried out on your holding.

‘Negligent’ penalties

Claimants may still get a penalty even if they didn’t know that they hadn’t followed the rules properly. RPA calls these cases ‘negligent’ if the non-compliance falls below the standard of care expected of a competent claimant.

For these cases, payments will normally be reduced by 3% (for each non-compliance). However, this could be either 1% or 5% depending on the extent, severity and permanence of the non-compliance.

Where the extent, severity and permanence are at their lowest and have not caused a risk to public or animal health, an ‘early warning system’ letter may be issued. This may require a claimant to take action to correct the non-compliance.

If a claimant breaks the same rule more than once in 3 consecutive calendar years (known as reoccurrence), the penalty will get bigger. The second time a rule is broken, the resulting penalty is multiplied by 3. Any further penalties will be 3 times the size of the previous one (even if that dates back to old SPS or rural development schemes).

This will keep happening if the claimant keeps breaking the same rule – until the penalty reaches 15%. After that, any more instances of non-compliance will be treated as ‘intentional’.

‘Intentional’ penalties

Claimants get an ‘intentional’ penalty for repeating the same ‘negligent’ penalty (as described above). They can also get an intentional penalty for breaking a cross compliance rule only once.

‘Intentional non-compliance’ is defined by the European Court of Justice as ‘where a claimant seeks a state of non-compliance with the rules or, without seeking such a state, accepts the possibility that it may occur’.

For intentional cases, payments will normally be reduced by 20%. This may be reduced to 15%, or increased up to 100% depending on the extent, severity, reoccurrence and permanence of the non-compliance. In some extreme cases, claimants may not be paid for the Basic Payment Scheme and/or rural development schemes in the following year.