Farmers are being urged to inform the Rural Payments Agency (RPA) of any changes to their land as soon as they occur.

The RPA said many farmers only update their maps when they submit their single farm payment application forms.

But the agency said farmers should update their Rural Land Register Maps on a regular basis and let them know about land changes immediately.

RPA customer director Justin Chamberlain said: “It is in everyone’s interests to have maps that are as up to date as possible.

“Up-to-date information on customers’ maps helps to ensure that they apply for the Single Payment Scheme (SPS) on the correct areas and in turn ensures payments are accurate and timely.

“Now is a good time to act, as changes submitted before Christmas will be reflected on the pre-populated SPS forms next year.”

The RPA said keeping maps updated not only saves time later, but also ensures that pre-populated SPS application forms were up to date and accurate, making the application process smoother and easier to complete.

Last year, the RPA began using aerial photography alongside land inspections to help identify changes on the ground that need incorporating into RLR maps. But it is still better for farmers to act first and report changes, it said.

Typically, farmers forget to notify the agency about features that were ineligible for SPS, such as ponds, buildings and tracks with a hard surface.

However, the scheme requires farmers to inform the RPA of boundary changes to land parcels and permanent ineligible features as soon as they take place.

The Rural Payments Agency should be notified of changes to land on the Rural Land Register by using a RLE 1 form which is available from the RPA website.

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