BPS through our eyes

Adriana Vaux MSc MRICS FAAV

2018 has been an incredibly frustrating year for both farmers and agents in terms of the Basic Payment Scheme. The significant cause of this as has been down to the Proactive Land Change Detection (PLCD), this is an EU requirement for DEFRA to proactively check land parcels against the latest information available and update the RPA land databases. The aim of this is that land data on the RPA systems must not be more than 3 years old. This has resulted in the RPA re-mapping a large number of land parcels. The reason that this has caused such a headache is because due to the re-mapping, a significant number of changes have been made by the RPA to client’s fields which are often incorrect. These changes will not have been found by either the agent or the farmer unless the online notifications have been checked. These notifications have been sent with no business name in the title which makes things very difficult for agents who will be swapped with hundreds of notifications with no way of telling what and who they relate to unless each and every one is opened.

If any mapping is incorrect it will need to be amended by means of an RLE1 form and a sketch map for each land parcel with an explanation and other required details sent back to the RPA to prevent any incorrect payments for the 2018 claim being rectified. This means that agents are faced with the time consuming process of analysing and cross checking the 2017 claim form, the 2017 claim statement, the RPA online land viewer and generating a 2018 pre populated claim form to ascertain what is and isn’t correct. This process can take hours due to the RPA for example marking temporary boundaries and permanent and granting separate field numbers. Instances like this are incredibly frustrating when one large field is split into multiple electric fenced pony paddocks because the RPA will have created separate fields for each tiny paddock and often of each paddock is smaller than the eligible claimable area which results in the RPA marking the field as ineligible. This process is frustrating for farmers because they will be faced with additional fees for this due to the time involved in correcting the situation so that the 2018 claim can be correctly submitted. However even that is not straight forward because agents will have a far lengthier process with applications this year due to the incorrect re-mapping, cover letters to the RPA may need to be sent explaining the changes from the pre-populated 2018 claim, continuation sheets may need to be filled in to mark new land parcels where parcels have been incorrectly merged or split and incorrect land covers changed.

Madeley’s are extremely concerned about the amount of work the RPA will have to get through this year but hope that common sense will prevail when looking through BPS applications this year.