We urge commoners to claim extra payments and entitlements for common land

As we mentioned in a previous article  Defra is changing the way that payments on common land are calculated. There is now a new way of working out how much of the eligible area of a common or shared grazing a farmer can claim. This means that some farmers should have received larger allocations of common land than they actually did. These farmers may now be able to receive the entitlements they should have been given in 2005, as well as extra payments for:

  •     Single Payment Scheme (SPS)
  •     Hill Farm Allowance (HFA) 2010
  •     Uplands Transitional Payment (UTP)
  •     Basic Payment Scheme (BPS)

Defra have published a  list of commons with more eligible area to allocate under SPS on gov.uk..

The RPA has started sending out forms from 18 September to those farmers they believe are eligible to claim. Look out for this form arriving, or you can download a copy here.  Even if you don’t receive a form, you can still submit a claim if you feel you are eligible.

This exercise is being carried out separately to the 2015 BPS application processing. Any payments due will be made separately and are likely to be paid after any BPS 2015 payment that a farmer may receive, therefore not impacting on the timing of your 2015 BPS payment.

Criteria for eligibility

You can apply if you did any of the following on one (or more) of the commons on the list that have more eligible area to allocate:

  • established SPS entitlements in 2005 and then claimed SPS continuously until at least 2009 (these farmers can apply for SPS entitlements and associated payments)
  • submitted a valid SPS application in any of the year(s) from 2009 to 2014 and held ‘spare’ SPS entitlements which you  couldn’t get paid for that year because you didn’t have enough land to activate them. You can use any new allocation of common land you receive to apply for payments for those spare entitlements
  • claimed HFA 2010 or UTP payments
What if you don't meet the criteria?

For the RPA to consider claims in any other circumstances, you must show that you suffered a financial loss as a direct result of the incorrect method RPA used to allocate common land under SPS. We would suggest you take professional advice before you apply in these circumstances. if you belong in this category please let us know. We are trying to gather and collate information on these cases to ensure that all are treated equally and fairly.

When should I fill in the form?

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 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.

For more details see gov.uk