Farmers must remember to let the RPA know of changes to eligible land area they have claimed on for the 2014 SPS claim if they are to avoid reductions in payment.

While 15 May is the deadline for submission of the annual claim, any subsequent change to the status of eligible land on which a claim has been made for 2014 should be notified to RPA so that the claim can be adjusted, warns NFU senior SPS adviser Richard Wordsworth.

New buildings, reservoirs, parking areas, roads, housing developments, sand and gravel extraction and so on could all reduce the eligible area. Such changes are often forgotten once the form has gone in and claimants are simply not aware that it is a requirement that land remains eligible for the whole calendar year said Mr Wordsworth.

See also: CAP reform at-a-glance guide for UK’s regions

“If you inform the RPA of changes before they notify you of problems this can help you avoid reductions in your SPS payment and a penalty. Otherwise, if the RPA consider an over declaration an intentional breach it would result in the loss of the whole payment, while a negligent breach could still see a reduction in the SPS payment – loss of the payment on the land considered ineligible plus a penalty representing double the area payment in question.

“If you inform the RPA of changes before they notify you of problems this can help you avoid reductions in your SPS payment and a penalty.”
Richard Wordsworth, NFU senior SPS adviser

“The land claimed on for SPS 2014 must remain eligible for SPS for the whole calendar year although there are rules which allow temporary non-agricultural use such as car boot sales,” said Mr Wordsworth.

Those whose claimed eligible area reduces before the end of 2014 should first notify RPA of the change to the land area claimed on their application. RPA should confirm the change, then the Rural Land Registry maps need to be updated by submitting an RLE 1 form to the RPA if the land change is a permanent one. More details on what land is eligible for SPS and penalties can be found in the SPS guidance for 2014.

While there are changes to cross compliance rules for 2015, 2014 cross compliance rules apply for the remainder of the year, points out Mr Wordsworth.

“The RPA will continue to carry out inspections on the back of SPS claims during the remaining months of 2014, with the bulk of these expected by the end of November, so it is important to remember the current rules whilst CAP reform takes the headlines.”