BPS documents © Tim Scrivener© Tim Scrivener

Farmers are being urged to get on with their 2016 Basic Payment applications sooner rather than later, basing their form on what they believe they are entitled to if they have outstanding queries relating to their 2015 claim.

With the bulk of claim statements (confirming the 2015 claim and payment) now with farmers, significant numbers have found they have been penalised for making an over declaration, with many losing entitlements too, under 2015’s “use them or lose” them arrangements.

Yet many farmers and agents have found, when examining their data, the problem looks to be down to missing field parcels on their claim.

See also: RPA admits complex BPS claims harder than anticipated

Claim statement queries

A spokesman for the Rural Payments Agency (RPA) said anyone who believed their claim statement was wrong should contact ruralpayments@defra.gsi.gov.uk or write to RPA, PO Box 352, Worksop S80 9FG, to explain why.

They should use “BPS 2015 payment 2015” as the heading in the email subject line and include their SBI and business name.

Option to add back field parcels

The RPA’s original guidance if fields are missing was to submit the relevant parcels on a separate paper BP5 continuation sheet, and this is still an option.

However, the agency has now decided that farmers can also email to ask for parcels to be added back ahead of them making their 2016 application.

Farmers can send an email to ruralpayments@defra.gsi.gov.uk, using the heading “BPS 2016 add land” in the subject bar. 

The email must include the SBI and name of the business making the application, name and contact number and the land parcel reference numbers for the missing parcels, including sheet reference numbers and parcel IDs. The changes will normally take three days to effect. 

David Hill, BPS national adviser for the Country Land and Business Association, said it was a sensible move. “It will resolve a lot of issues, so long as the emails are dealt with correctly and quickly.”

2016 application form

Overall, the RPA said farmers should use the latest information they have available when completing their 2016 application: “If they’re not sure what the correct information is, they should claim for what they believe they are entitled to, based on the evidence they have.”