The Harrison Drury Blog

Commons backdated farm payments

Farm payments - sheepFollowing a legal challenge, Defra has concluded that the basis adopted for common land in 2005 did not comply with European regulations and it should have been allocated differently.

The full eligible area of a common should have been allocated every year, so that there were no ‘naked acres’. A new list of commons with more eligible areas has been published.

The RPA has started sending out forms to those farmers they believe are eligible to claim.

Here is a link to the claim form:

The RPA can only make farm payments for the years a valid SPS, HFA, UTP or BPS application was submitted.

Do not delay taking action with regards to this exercise.

Farmers can claim for backdated entitlements and farm payments, if any of the bullet points below apply – providing the common is listed as having more eligible area to allocate:

  • SPS entitlements established in 2005 and then claimed SPS continuously until at least 2009. These farmers can apply for SPS entitlements and associated payments.
  • A valid SPS application submitted in any of the years from 2009 to 2014 and held ‘spare’ SPS entitlements which couldn’t get paid for that year due to not having enough land to activate them. These farmers can use any new allocation of common land they receive to apply for payments for those spare entitlements.
  • HFA 2010 or UTP payments claimed.

For the RPA to consider claims in any other circumstances, farmers must show that they suffered a financial loss as a direct result of the incorrect method RPA used to allocate common land under SPS.

The RPA is encouraging eligible farmers to return their forms by 31 December 2015, as it will give the RPA the best possible chance to consider it before the BPS 2016 application window opens.

As the RPA will only make farm payments for the last six years, to claim for the SPS 2009 scheme year the form must be returned by 30 June 2016.

If a farmer wants to claim for HFA 2010, they should return the form no later than six years after the date of their HFA 2010 payment was received. If a farmer is claiming for both SPS 2009 and HFA 2010, they should return the form by the earlier of these two deadlines.

If unsuccessful, the RPA will inform the claimant of the appeals process.

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