Historically, Defra has allocated a number of entitlements against the eligible area of a common. The entitlements were then allocated to everyone that held common rights, whether they claimed the payment (SPS and now BPS) or not. This meant that some money on some commons was not claimed each year.
The Gloucestershire commoners have successfully changed the policy so that the entitlements for the common are allocated only against those commoners who claim the government grant. This should mean that, for some commons, the commoners will have the right to more entitlements and therefore a higher payment.
To be eligible for the entitlements on common land, a claimant must be an active farmer for the purpose of BPS and the farmer must use or actively manage the common. This can involve grazing livestock, partaking in a countryside stewardship scheme, or managing scrub so that the common land is able to be grazing or cultivated.
The changes to entitlements and their allocation will be retrospective to 2005, however additional payments for previous years can only go back to 2009 due to the six year limitation rule. To be eligible for previous payments under the SPS scheme, a farmer must have claimed the entitlements for common land in 2005 and every year since. Where land has been bought since, a new farmer wanting to claim the extra entitlements retrospectively