Farmers applying for cattle passports risk having their applications declined if they fail to comply with the new postal arrangements that came into place earlier this week.

Royal Mail has started charging by size of letter as well as weight and this has an impact on producers who send their passport applications by mail.

From 21 August the cost of sending a passport application using a pre-addressed envelope to the British Cattle Movement Service at Workington, Cumbria rose by 12p – 37.5% – to 44p for first class and to 37p for second class.

Currently BCMS receives 4000 passport applications a day rising to 9000 a day during peak times, such as spring calving.

The Rural Payments Agency has warned that applications received 27 days after birth will be refused, even if the value of postage applied to the envelope means it may have been received in time under the previous postal arrangements.

“Insufficient postage will not be considered suitable grounds for appeal so keepers must ensure they apply the correct postage,” said a spokesman for the RPA.

Ed Rees, NFU Cymru livestock board chairman, said:

“We don’t want to see any members get caught out by this new postal charging system.

If farmers do not put the correct postage on passport applications then delivery may be delayed, and ultimately result in applications missing the deadline.”

BCMS is also urging farmers not to fold their applications, in order to save postage costs, as this could cause problems with the scanning system and delay processing.