Farmers have been urged to make sure Soil Protection Reviews are fully completed and up to date to avoid potentially costly fines.

The Rural Payments Agency says not completing an SPR has been the most common breach of the cross compliance standards in the past four years and is currently the most frequent cause of failure for 2012 inspections.

Some 280 farmers have either not completed an SPR at all, or made some errors in doing so in the past four years, it said.

Most common SPR failures last year:
  • Failure to conduct an SPR 2010 and make it available to inspectors
  • Failure to update the SPR 2010 when required
  • Failure to adequately complete the SPR 2010

Under European rules, not completing the review can lead to a 5% reduction in single payment scheme payments and certain Rural Development Programme for England payments.

DEFRA’s Farming Advice Service (0845 345 1302) offers help on how to complete the SPR and the RPA’s operations director Paul Caldwell said that completing the review online would be quicker and easier than the paper version.

“The online version will also remember your data so you only need to amend your answers in future years, making it quicker to complete your annual review and any in-year updates.”

Access the SPR and other online cross compliance tools at www.businesslink.gov.uk/defra-farming-online