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«Please read this important information Contents Latest news - page 2 Cross compliance: latest news - page 6 CAP Information Service - page 7 ...»

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The new Common Agricultural Policy

schemes in England: August 2014 update

Including ‘Greening: how it works in practice’

Please read this important information


Latest news - page 2

Cross compliance: latest news - page 6

CAP Information Service - page 7

Greening: how it works in practice - page 9

In this leaflet, you’ll see the following icons.

When you see this icon: It means that this information:

is important information that you need to know has been decided and will be part of the new schemes hasn’t been agreed yet – we’ll give you more information about it later this year Since we published our last leaflet ‘Greening: Work out what it means for you’, more decisions have been made. When you see the two icons below next to each other, this means this information wasn’t agreed in an earlier leaflet, but is now.

CAP Reform Introduction Countdown This leaflet follows the one we sent in April 2014, called ‘An Introduction to the new Common Agricultural Policy schemes in England’. It explains what’s happened since, provides updates about the new schemes and more information on the greening rules.

The first leaflet can be found on GOV.UK: www.gov.uk/cap-reform.

Throughout the CAP implementation process we have been determined to meet our EU obligations, whilst at the same time ensuring maximum flexibility for farmers to manage their business in the way they see fit. We want to have a system that minimises red tape and bureaucracy and keeps things as simple as possible. We do not intend to change rules for the sake of it and where the opportunities have presented themselves we have consolidated or simplified existing ones.

Through this document we are seeking to provide farmers and landowners with as much clarity as possible, enabling them to plan for the future. Where issues remain unresolved, we aim to give a clear indication of the way we’d like to do things, with a commitment to provide further information in due course.

Greening In 2015 the Single Payment Scheme will be replaced by the Basic Payment Scheme (BPS).

The BPS will include new ‘greening’ rules farmers must follow to get a greening payment that will be worth about 30% of the total payment.

If you’re going to claim BPS in 2015, you should start thinking about the new rules and how they might affect your business. The rules may cover things you’re already doing – in which case you won’t need to do anything differently – but it is worth checking now.

This leaflet explains what we know so far about the new schemes and what they may mean for farmers. The information in this leaflet replaces and updates the information that was published on the GOV.UK site in June.

We’ve included as much information as we can in this leaflet. We don’t know all the details about greening yet, because the European Commission hasn’t finalised all the guidance. More information on greening will be available in October.

If you currently have a holding that is less than 5 hectares in size, we’ll be writing to you soon. Claimants that don’t have at least 5 hectares of eligible land and 5 entitlements to activate in 2015 won’t be able to apply for the new Basic Payment Scheme.

–  –  –

The latest information we have about the new CAP schemes.

Active farmer test The April 2014 leaflet explained the new active farmer test in the Basic Payment Scheme. As part of this test, the European Commission asks us to classify land which is ‘naturally kept in a state suitable for cultivation and grazing’ and then decide the agricultural activity that needs to be done on it.

We have not identified any land in this category in England. As a result, only the first part of the active farmer test, about business activities, will apply. More details about the active farmer test will be published in October.

New deadline for transferring SPS entitlements On 1 January 2015, SPS entitlements will become BPS entitlements. If you want to transfer your SPS entitlements before that happens, you need to tell the Rural Payments Agency (RPA) by 21 October 2014.

To transfer your entitlements, you will need to fill in an ‘RLE1 form’ and send it to the RPA. The RPA must receive your RLE1 form by midnight on 21 October 2014. This date has changed since our April 2014 leaflet. Your ‘effective date of transfer’ must be on or before 3 December 2014.

The RLE1 form and guidance on the rules for transferring entitlements in 2014 are on GOV.UK: www.gov.uk/transfer-sps-entitlements.

Any leased entitlements that are due to be returned to their owner after 21 October 2014 will still be returned. We’ll also still be able to transfer any entitlements that are part of an inheritance after this date.

In January 2015 entitlements will automatically become BPS entitlements. These can be transferred to an ‘active farmer’ from early in 2015 using the new CAP Information Service (see page 7).

Common land Common land will be eligible for the BPS. We’re still working on the detailed rules, but commoners are likely to activate their entitlements against a ‘notional area’ of a common based on the number of rights they hold to graze animals on the common. We also

know that:

• your notional area of the common will count towards your eligible agricultural area under the greening rules (see page 12) – so if the common is permanent grassland, it may help you qualify for an exemption from the greening rules.

• the permanent grassland rules for greening will apply to most commons.

• we will be using new maps of common land, so the notional area of the common may be different from 2014 – we‘ll consult on these maps over the next few months.

• we’ll continue to calculate the notional area for the New Forest differently to other commons.

• shared grazing will be treated in much the same way as common land – graziers will activate their entitlements against a ‘notional area’ of the grazing in proportion to the share of the rights they hold to graze animals on it.

Pollinators and the new CAP Farmers are ideally placed to adopt measures which can help bees and other pollinators. Advisers from the Campaign for the Farmed Environment can help all farmers manage their land in a way which maximises such benefits.

The new Ecological Focus Area (EFA) rules present an excellent opportunity to help pollinators. We have already announced that farmers in England will be able to choose from hedges, nitrogen-fixing crops, catch/cover crops, buffer strips and fallow land in order to comply with the new greening requirements. In deciding which EFA options to select, we would like farmers to consider, on a voluntary basis, how their selection and the management of those EFA options can bring the greatest environmental benefit on their holding, particularly for bees and pollinators.

Voluntary management actions on fallow land or buffer strips in particular can provide benefits for pollinators. Sowing nectar and pollen-rich wildflower seed mixtures can encourage high flower densities which attract pollinators. Managing buffer strips through grazing and cutting can help prevent grass domination and further encourage wildflowers and pollinators.

All farmers with hedgerows, whether they are being used to meet their EFA requirement or not, can consider voluntarily reducing the frequency with which they trim them in order to encourage flower production.

New scheme for environmental land management A new scheme for environmental land management will replace Environmental Stewardship (ES), the English Woodland Grant Scheme (EWGS) and capital grants from the Catchment Sensitive Farming (CSF) programme in 2015. The new scheme, part of the Rural Development Programme for England (RDPE), will deliver over £900 million for enhancing the countryside.

It will be open to all eligible land managers, owners and tenants. If you already have an existing agreement which runs past 2015, you’ll be able to carry on with this agreement until it ends.

Overall, biodiversity will be the priority for the new scheme, with water also an important area of focus. The scheme will deliver outcomes for the historic environment, landscape quality and character, genetic conservation and educational access. It will also contribute to climate change adaptation and mitigation.

Latest news

Alongside current Environmental Stewardship and English Woodland Grant Scheme agreements, the new scheme will be the main way of supporting a wide range of local, national and international environmental commitments. It will be delivered by Natural England, the Forestry Commission and the Rural Payments Agency.

How the scheme will work The new scheme will have 5-year voluntary contracts. There may be times when contracts will run for more than 5 years. You’ll be able to apply for the scheme in

three ways:

1. On the most environmentally important sites, holdings and woodlands – the application process will be similar to the current Higher Level Stewardship (HLS) scheme. In many cases these will be locations which need complex management, for example habitat restoration. The full range of scheme options is potentially available to applicants, along with one-to-one advisory support.

To apply for one of these agreements, applicants need to speak to Natural England or the Forestry Commission first.

2. For any other holding or site – agreements will be available nationally through a competitive online application process. Your application will be assessed against environmental priorities in the local area.

The range of management options available will be limited to those that are effective but simple to implement - especially when delivered across a wide area to address common goals. For example habitats for farmland birds and pollinators or water quality.

3. A range of capital grants will be funded from 2016 – grant funding of up to £5,000 will be available for land managers who do not have a current multi-annual agreement, or don’t wish to enter into one. It will focus on restoration of boundary features. Capital grants will also be available to support the production of woodland management plans and in response to tree health issues as well as targeted grants with associated advice for water quality benefits.

Applications are online To apply for the new scheme you’ll need to apply online through the new CAP Information Service (see pages 7 and 8). This can be accessed directly by applicants, or their agent. There will also be help available to those unable to access or use the online service (see page 8).

All the new multi-annual agreements will have a start date of 1 January with the first agreements starting in 2016. More information on how to apply, including details of the opening and closing date for applications, and what woodland and water quality grants may be available in 2015 will be published in October.

Growing the rural economy – update Government continues to work with Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs) and their local partners to develop the new Growth Programme, which brings together £177 million of Rural Development funds with European Structural Funds.

Local Implementation Plans will be agreed by the end of 2014 and calls for projects will begin to be published from January 2015 on GOV.UK. To find out more about what might be available in your area, check your local LEP website.

To receive regular updates on the Growth Programme please send an email to esif@communities.gsi.gov.uk.

The LEADER approach will be a key part of the new Rural Development Programme from 2015. More information on LEADER, including the National Delivery Framework and details of prospective groups, is on GOV.UK: www.gov.uk/government/ publications/leader-approach-in-the-rdpe-national-delivery-framework.

Prospective LEADER groups have been asked to submit their applications for the next Rural Development Programme by 5 September. The details of groups that have been selected will be announced in November.

An update on increasing farm and forestry productivity We are continuing to develop a £140 million scheme to support farming and forestry businesses. More information about this scheme will be available on GOV.UK in October.

The Forestry Commission (FC) will provide free support to forestry businesses interested in applying. If you are interested, register with your regional FC contact.

–  –  –

If you claim the Basic Payment Scheme (BPS) or have a Rural Development Programme land-based agreement, you will have to meet the new cross compliance rules. The main

changes from 2015 onwards are:

• all of the GAECs and most of the SMRs have been renumbered and some GAECs have been split or merged into other rules.

• there will be new rules for soils that will replace the current GAEC 1 (Soil Protection Review), which is being removed.

• GAECs 11 (control of weeds) and 12 (agricultural land which is not in agricultural production) will be removed. Instead, as part of the BPS eligibility rules, this land will need to be maintained in a state which makes it suitable for grazing or cultivation. More information will be provided on this in November.

• SMR 3 (sewage sludge) and SMRs 13, 14 and 15 (control of foot and mouth disease, certain animal diseases and bluetongue) will be removed.

There will also be a number of changes to landscape feature rules and under a new

GAEC 7A, these will be grouped together. The changes will include:

• a longer ‘no trimming’ season for hedges will run from 1 March until 31 August

2015. This will also apply to trees from the start of 2015. This and the previous tree protection rules will be included in a new GAEC 7C.

• stone banks or earth banks mustn’t be removed – (or stones or earth removed from these features).

CAP Reform CAP Information Service:

the new online service Countdown A new single online service is being built for the new CAP schemes, the ‘CAP Information Service’. This system will be where claimants apply and can keep track of their payments.

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