The RPA has confirmed that BPS 2016 online claims can be completed using the Rural Payments service from Saturday (19 March). Alice De Soer from the Central Association of Agricultural Valuers (CAAV) sets out what needs to be done to complete an online claim for this year’s payment.
Guidance will also be issued by RPA to help claimants through the new process. This year’s online service includes helpful elements such as a summary detailing whether crop diversification and Ecological Focus Areas (EFA) requirements have been met.
I used a paper BP5 form in 2015, why should I claim online this year?
Applying online in 2016 is different to 2015. Unlike last year, you’re entering information straight onto the RPA’s system. The benefits of claiming online include: automatic calculation of land use areas; built-in checks for under and over declaring a field parcel, crop diversification and EFAs; and an instant confirmation of receipt when your claim’s submitted.
If you didn’t use SPS Online for your 2014 claim, you should automatically receive a pre-populated paper BP5 form shortly. If you’d prefer to complete your claim online, phone the RPA (03000 200 301) to activate your online application.
How do I start my BPS 2016 online claim?
You need to be registered on the Rural Payments service https://www.ruralpayments.service.gov.uk. Sign in using your customer reference number (CRN) and password. Once signed in, click “view business” on “your businesses” screen. You’ll see your “business overview” screen and this is where you’ll find the links for completing your BPS 2016 online claim.
What should I check first?
Start by checking your personal and business details and give “permissions” to anyone you’d like to complete your BPS claim on your behalf, for example, an agent. You need to do this even if you’re completing a paper BP5 form.
Alice de Soer, Central Association of Agricultural Valuers (CAAV
Then print your “application summary”, which looks like a pre-populated BP5 form (access this from your “business overview” screen using “applications” and then “apply for BPS”. Click on “create a new direct payments application”, press “open”.
To create your “application summary” press “generate”, then “download” and “back”). Use this to check the information shown and to mark any changes needed. Don’t submit the “application summary” as a paper form.
What land details are pre-populated on my “Application summary”?
Some land details on the field data sheet (Part C) are pre-populated using your BPS 2015 claim information, but certain elements are from the RPA’s mapping system (LPIS).
The “total field size” (C3) and “maximum area eligible for BPS” (C4) may be incorrect if you sent in an RLE1 form in 2015 for a mapping change to a field, for example, a permanent boundary change or a new Permanent Ineligible Feature (PIF), but the RPA has not completed that and updated the LPIS yet.
This does not prevent you from completing and submitting your BPS 2016 claim. If an RLE1 has not been processed yet, you can check this on the land viewer from your “business overview” page – an exclamation mark icon should show next to the affected land parcel.
The “part field size” (C6) and “land use” (C7) should usually be pre-populated with your BPS 2015 claim information, but C7 may have a different land use code.
Part D (greening: EFA) should show any EFA buffer strips, hedges and nitrogen-fixing crops you included on your 2015 BP5 form. It won’t show catch or cover crops.
How do I update my field data sheet?
You need to update your “land use”. The information entered here will pre-populate the field data sheet (Part C) on your BPS 2016 application, so it’s an important part of your claim. From your “business overview” page, click “land” and then “land use”.
You will see your “land use” table listing your field parcels with areas shown to four decimal places. There are two columns that you can’t update – “field size” (equivalent of C3) and “maximum eligible area (MEA) for BPS” (same as C4). The areas shown in these columns may be incorrect if you submitted an RLE1 form in 2015 for a mapping change, but the RPA has not processed it yet. That does not prevent you from completing your claim.
Instead, you need to update the “land use” column (same as C7) and enter the area in hectares (like C6) for each eligible and ineligible area in the field parcel. This should be used to show different cropping in a field.
Use the “edit”, “add” and “del” buttons to change land use codes and areas. The total eligible land uses entered for a land parcel automatically updates the area you can claim for BPS (column C8).
There’s a new land use code list for 2016. As well as entering land use codes for your eligible land uses, all your ineligible land uses will need a code this year as there’s no generic NA01 code.
To enter a land use code, type the crop name, for example, “wheat” and a drop-down menu will display the possible codes. Your eligible land uses will be used to calculate crop diversification.
Where do I complete my EFA information?
You also need to update the “land use” to give details of your EFAs. Use the relevant land use code for fallow or nitrogen-fixing crops. Add your EFA buffer strips and hedges to the relevant field parcel by entering the land use code and giving the length in metres. For EFA catch and cover crops, you’ll need to give the land parcel two land use codes – one for the land use at 16 May 2016 and the other (rotation 2) for the EFA catch or cover crop. This information is used to pre-populate the EFA details (part D) on your BPS 2016 claim.
How do I add or delete a land parcel from my BPS 2016 claim?
If land is already on the RPA’s mapping system (LPIS), the easiest way to add a field is to get the previous occupier to transfer it to you online. If this isn’t possible, use a paper BP5 continuation booklet. To delete a field, transfer it online to the new occupier. If you can’t do this, leave the “land use” blank and change the area to “0.0000”.
How do I increase or decrease the size of a land parcel?
If there’s been a permanent boundary change, the total size of the land parcel may have changed. To increase the size, increase the land use areas entered. As the total area of eligible and ineligible land uses will be bigger than the total “field size”, it will show an “overdeclared” warning.
To decrease the size, reduce the land use areas entered (you can also do this if you share a land parcel with other farmers and each of you only claims part of the field). That will show an “undeclared” warning to tell you the total area of land uses is less than the total “field size”. You can still submit your BPS claim with these warnings. If you haven’t already sent an RLE1 form and sketch map for this change, you need to.
How do I permanently split or merge a land parcel?
To split a land parcel, leave it showing as one parcel on your “land use” table. Then use the land use codes and areas to show how the field has been split. In order to merge two or more parcels, leave them as separate parcels and update the land use codes and areas. Complete an RLE1 form and sketch map if you haven’t already done so.
When should I use an RLE1 form?
Use a paper RLE1 form (and sketch map) to register new land parcels, transfer part of a field, make a new permanent boundary change, add a new PIF or delete a PIF. You don’t need to complete an RLE1 form or sketch map for a temporary ineligible feature.
England claims summary
Log on to the Rural Payments service –
You can already check your personal/business details, give permission for an agent to act for you, check and transfer land and entitlements
From Saturday 19 March, you should be able to:
- Update your “land use” (field data sheets and EFAs)
- Complete declarations
- Submit your claim (by midnight on 16 May 2016)
I’ve updated my ‘land use’, what should I do next?
If you’re claiming the young farmer payment or want to reduce the eligible area claimed or area of EFAs, go to “make changes to my application”. (From your “business overview” page, click “applications” and “apply for BPS”).
The area of EFAs should only need to be reduced if you’ve included fallow land on the “land use” table that doesn’t meet the EFA fallow period (1 January – 30 June 2016) or you’ve got “overlapping” EFAs (an EFA hedge next to EFA fallow, nitrogen-fixing crops or catch/cover crops).
What declarations do I need to complete?
You’ll need to complete the “active farmer” declaration, say what currency you want to paid in and state if you’re a cross border farmer or if you’d like to use the greening organic exemption.
You must also complete “your declarations and responsibilities. You’ll find these under “declarations” in “apply for BPS”.
How do I check my BPS 2016 claim before submitting it?
To check changes to the pre-populated information, print a new “application summary”. This should show the changes you’ve made to “land use” (part C: field data sheet and part D: greening: EFA).
There’s a helpful summary of what you’ve declared and whether crop diversification and EFA rules have been met. It also includes other parts you’ve updated like your “active farmer” declaration, whether you’re a cross border farmer or if you’re applying for the young farmer payment.
How do I submit my BPS 2016 claim?
Press “submit” under “make/manage your application”. That should give instant confirmation of receipt and your application status will change to “submitted”.
Submit the claim by Monday 16 May 2016 to avoid late claim penalties. If you have submitted your claim by 16 May, you can amend it without penalty until 31 May. To do this online, you’ll need to “create a new direct payments application” and resubmit it.
What supporting documents do I need to post?
Some elements of your BPS 2016 application still need to be submitted on paper (by 16 May 2016): continuation booklets; a new “active farmer” certificate; greening exemption and young farmer payment evidence; and RLE1 forms/sketch maps for new mapping changes. Write your SBI on every sheet and keep a copy for your records. Post any documents to the RPA (Rural Payments, PO Box 352, Worksop, S80 9FG) preferably using special delivery or hand deliver them to an RPA support centre.
Where can I find guidance to complete my BPS online claim?
There’s onscreen “help” on the Rural Payments service. The RPA is also issuing “How to claim BPS online” guidance. Find the BPS 2016 rules at www.gov.uk/rpa/bps2016.