Approval for Concentrating Entitlements

FARMERS IN both Scotland and Wales will be allowed, in some circumstances, to concentrate their entitlements.

In line with England, the devolved administrations both confirmed on Tues (Nov 2) that new entrants who started farming during or after 2002, will be eligible to apply to the national reserve (see above for details).

But in their separate announcements they also confirmed that producers will be able to concentrate their SFP entitlement on fewer hectares if they are farming less land in 2005, when the SFP begins, compared with the 2000-2002 reference period used to allocate SFP entitlement.

Eligibility

Details are yet to be finalised in Wales, but in Scotland it is known that this will not apply to those who have reduced acreage because they have sold or leased land. Eligibility will instead include those whose seasonal lets are not renewed by May 15, 2005, or to those whose tenancy agreements have either expired or changed by that date.

 “The decision to allow farmers to concentrate their entitlement will help to reduce distortions in the land market which have arisen from the existing support system,” said Scotland”s rural development minister Ross Finnie.

The Welsh Assembly’s rural affairs minister Carwyn Jones pointed out the EU regulations offered virtually no scope for the reserve to operate at a regional level.

But access to the reserve for amenity woodland conversion would apply in Wales, as it would in Scotland and Northern Ireland.