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RPA Proactive Land Changes Detection (PLCD)

The RPA are currently undergoing proactive remapping changes. They are updating current parcels from aerial imagery, OS maps and inspections between 16th August and October 2017, as the European commission dictates that maps must be updated every 3 years.

  • The changes include parcel merges and splits, boundary accuracy and land cover changes, which may result in area changes. It is advisable to check all changes. If you do not agree with the changes, then an annotated sketch map and RLE1 stating it’s an ‘Unrequested change query’ should be submitted.
  • Notifications will be send to the ‘messages’ tab on the Rural Payments portal when parcel changes are complete. Changes can be viewed on the parcel viewer within 48 hours of notification – parcels cannot then be viewed pre-change.
  • Changes may impact on 2018 Stewardship applications. Natural England’s advice is to continue with the application based on the information Natural England provided and they shall incorporate mapping changes upon an applications success.
  • If the changes will impact on current Stewardship schemes then Natural England should contact you directly.
  • 2017 BPS applications do not need to be adjusted. In the event that changes result in reduced payment or penalties Recovery Action can be taken. It will not however be back dated for 2015 and 2016 claims.

If you require any further advice on how the PLCD will impact you or assistance with dealing with the changes then do not hesitate to get in touch with Wilson Wraight.

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Grants for Water Resource Management

Given the difficulty faced by many farmers in getting cereal harvest completed due to the weather, it may seem untimely to talk about water shortages and the need to bolster supplies.  However prior to August, UK rainfall in 2017 had been down on average and those with irrigated crops have had a high usage year.  For those looking to increase their water security, storage is the most important way to achieve this.  DEFRA have recently launched the RDPE Countryside Productivity Scheme which includes Water Resource Management.  This is similar to Water Resource grants under the Rural Enterprise Scheme in the mid-2000’s.

The basics of the Water Resource grant package are:

  1. Grants available for improving water use efficiency and to secure water supplies.
  2. Can help towards:
    1. Construction of reservoirs.
    2. Pumps and pipework to fill the reservoir
    3. Pumps, controls and underground mains.
    4. Water metering equipment.
    5. Application equipment such as boom or trickle irrigators
    6. Software to optimise water application
  3. Ineligible costs include:
    1. Borehole installation.
    2. Hose reels.
    3. Rainguns.
    4. Permissions, consents, statutory requirements etc.
    5. Finance costs.
  4. Any planning consents, abstraction licence variations etc must be completed before application.
  5. Grants are for a minimum of £35,000 up to 40% of project costs, i.e. minimum project cost £87,500. Maximum grant is £1,000,000.
  6. Competitive application process.
  7. There could be restrictions if the project increases the irrigated area; depends on status of abstraction area.
  8. An application has to demonstrate one or more of the funding priorities are being achieved:
    1. Improve productivity.
    2. Enhance resilience.
    3. Improve efficiency.
    4. Introduce innovation.
    5. Grow your business.
    6. Encourage collaboration and partnerships.
  9. Deadline for applications is 3rd April 2018. Projects have to be completed, paid for and grants claimed by 31st March 2019 although there is an ultimate completion date of 15th January 2020 in exceptional circumstances.
  10. Funding is guaranteed if grants are agreed before the UK leaves the EU.

If you are considering reservoir construction or are concerned about your future water supplies now is the time to act.  Further information is available at www.gov.uk/rpa/countryside-productivity-scheme or contact Wilson Wraight.

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Important changes to Greening Requirements for 2018

The EU Greening requirements for the 2018 Scheme Year have been amended and DEFRA have partially clarified how they will implement these new Regulations in England.

 

The key changes are expected to be as follows:

 

  1. There will be a ban on the use of Plant Protection Products on EFA Fallow Land, Catch & Cover Crops and Nitrogen Fixing Crops.  This ban is expected to apply to the full lifecycle of the crop (or 1st January to 30th June in the case of Fallow) and will include a ban on seed treatments.  Further details and clarification is sought, but may not be available until the autumn.
  2. The EFA option of Buffer Strips (1m adjacent to watercourses) will be extended to include a buffer strip against any Field Margin.  DEFRA are hoping to clarify that the buffer can be against any field edge and need not be adjacent to an environmental feature.  It is expected that the weighting will remain at 1m length (and minimum of 1m width) = 9m2
  3. An EFA Catch Crop must be established for the extended period of 20th August to 14th October.
  4. The EFA option for Hedges will be extended to include trees in a line.
  5. The EFA option for Nitrogen Fixing Crops will be extended to include mixtures of nitrogen fixing crops and also mixtures of nitrogen fixing crops and other crops.

 

We anticipate a reduction in pea and bean crops grown for EFA purposes, but expect that many farmers will be able to meet their EFA requirements though use of Hedges and Field Margin buffer strips, without having to remove large areas from production.