Basic Payment Scheme online in 2016
The agency is encouraging farmers and agents who are planning to apply online to start their applications as early as possible, with a view to submitting completed applications from around mid-March.
Mark Grimshaw, Chief Executive of the RPA said: “I want to encourage applicants to claim BPS online in 2016. We have learnt from 2015 and have made changes to the Rural Payments service for 2016. Lots of farmers and agents have told us they are keen to apply online again but we also understand that some farmers may need a paper option and this will be available for those who need it.”
Applicants will be able to view their maps online for the first time and the service has built-in elements that help to check the application.
There are four stages to completing applications. From the first week of March until around the middle of the month, applicants will be able to check the information the RPA holds already and begin to make changes, including transferring land and entitlements.
From around mid-March onwards, applicants can complete their declarations and confirm the information in their application before final submission.
The RPA say help will be available for all. There will be on-screen assistance and the option to call the Rural Services helpline on 03000 200 301 if further support is needed.
David Ward, Rural Partner at Fenn Wright comments “We have found that in a number of cases fields are missing from the register of land parcels for a client. This poses several issues. Firstly, if the land parcel is not there then you may not have been paid on it in 2015. Furthermore, Entitlements may not have been activated against that land parcel and as 2015 was the “use it or lose it” year these Entitlements may have been lost to the national reserve. It is important that all clients check the land parcels registered against their holding now. This may highlight errors which need to be corrected for the 2015 claim and before starting the 2016 application. Farmers can check on-line using the ‘Land’ section. Any errors should be notified to the RPA as soon as possible.”
But what about BPS 2015?
At the end of February 2016, just over 81% of all eligible applicants have received their BPS 2015 payments, and the RPA say almost all eligible farmers will receive their payments by the end of March. Although a few thousand of the more complex cases may take slightly longer, as they did under the Single Payment Scheme.
To discuss any matters relating to buying, selling and valuing agricultural and amenity land in Essex & Suffolk, please get in touch with David Ward MRICS.