With fewer than two weeks until the 15 May deadline for BPS 2019 claims, Alice De Soer at the Central Association of Agricultural Valuers (CAAV) gives essential tips about applying in England.
Read the 2019 guidance
It’s essential to read the “Basic Payment Scheme: rules for 2019” and “How to claim BPS online in 2019” booklets (available at www.gov.uk/rpa/bps2019).
Wherever possible, apply online at www.gov.uk/rural-payments. About 86% of 2018 claims were submitted online. To switch from paper to online, call the RPA on 03000 200 301.
Check digital maps
Land used to claim BPS 2019 must show correctly on your digital maps (sign in at www.gov.uk/rural-payments, go to “Land”, then “View land”).
Read the guidance about checking digital maps (search “land guidance” on www.gov.uk). To update maps, submit a form RLE1 and a sketch map.
Check and update land use
On the “Land use” screen (from “Land”, go to “Land use”), check and update agricultural and non-agricultural land use areas and codes to reflect the correct position on the ground as at 15 May 2019. Also declare EFAs. Use the document “BPS 2019 land use codes” at www.gov.uk/rpa/bps2019.
Remember, land must be “at your disposal” on 15 May 2019 (read “Basic Payment Scheme: rules for 2019” for more details).
Add or remove land
To add land, either transfer it online or email the RPA (email@example.com) by 4 May to request that it’s added (see the “How to claim BPS online in 2019” guidance for details). Otherwise, include it on a paper continuation booklet (available at www.gov.uk/rpa/bps2019) and submit an RLE1 form.
Land can also be removed online (from “Land” go to “Transfer land” and select “Remove” as the transfer type). Alternatively, delete the land use code and area so the claimed area (column C8) shows as 0.0000 and submit an RLE1 form.
Check land cover matches land use
The digital maps show “Land cover”, whereas the land use codes declared are not mapped.
Land cover is agricultural (arable, permanent grassland or permanent crops) or non-agricultural (tracks, ponds, etc). It should match the land use declared. For example, if the land use is winter wheat, the mapped land cover should be “Arable”.
If the mapped land cover does not match the land use, request that it is updated by submitting an RLE1 form.
Check greening calculations
The online “greening checker” is only a guide and is not always correct. Use the “Greening workbook for 2019” at www.gov.uk/rpa/bps2019 to check greening calculations. Also look at what’s shown on the “Use less EFA than available” screen (from “Apply for BPS” go to “Make changes to your application”).
Check the claimed area
Check the claimed area (C8) on the “Activate less BPS area” screen (from “Apply for BPS”, click “Activate less BPS area”). In some cases, it can incorrectly default to 0.0000.
Transfer entitlements by 15 May
To claim BPS 2019, entitlements must be held by 15 May 2019. They can be transferred online until the 15 May deadline.
Check the application
After you’ve updated all the information, “generate” a new application summary and carefully check what’s shown.
Apply by 15 May
Submit applications and supporting evidence by midnight on 15 May 2019 to avoid late claim penalties. A receipt showing the date/time of submission should be received and the application status should show “Submitted”.
Submit supporting evidence
Post supporting evidence to the RPA (Rural Payments, PO Box 352, Worksop, S80 9FG) or hand-deliver it to an RPA drop-in centre (details available at www.gov.uk/rpa/bps2019).
Write your SBI on every sheet and keep a copy for your records. If posting documents, use either Royal Mail Signed For or Special Delivery.
Amending a BPS 2019 application after 15 May
Certain amendments can be made to applications submitted by 15 May 2019 without penalty until midnight on 31 May 2019.
This includes adding land, increasing eligible area and changing land use. If amending an online application, email the RPA (firstname.lastname@example.org) to explain that it is a change to the originally submitted application. Use “Amendments to BPS 2019 application” as the subject of the email and include your SBI.
Save the submitted application
The information shown on your application is “live” on the RPA’s system and can alter after submission. Either save the submitted application on your computer or print it off.