CAP Update - England
Date of Article
Sep 12 2013

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CAP Update – England

Basic Payment Scheme (BPS)
Scheme starts 1 January 2015

• Single Payment Scheme (SPS) Entitlements will become BPS Entitlements on 31st December 2014
• Note that where more entitlements than eligible hectares are held the surplus will be extinguished once the 2015 claim is made
• SPS entitlements can be transferred until 21st October 2014 (deadline for submission RLE1 transfer form)

• Those with excess entitlements should consider selling them asap 
• Rules on transfer under BPS to be confirmed but will be via an online system

• Claim deadline of 15th May remains 

Eligible Land
• Eligible hectares must be either arable, permanent grassland or permanent crops 
• Definitions in DEFRA August update
Arable land – cultivated for crop production, fallow land and temporary grassland
Fallow land – no crop production or grazing is allowed, but the land must be kept so it is suitable for these purposes.  More guidance on this is awaited
Temporary Grassland – land down to grass or other herbaceous forage for less than 5 years
Permanent Grassland – Definition as existing – land down to grass or herbaceous forage for more than 5 years.  Re-sown grass will be permanent grassland
Permanent Crops  - Crops which occupy the land for 5 or more years and provide repeated harvests.  These include short rotation coppice, miscanthus and nursery crops. The DEFRA August guidance provides a full list

• Clarification on detail between fallow and temporary grassland is awaited.  The DEFRA August update mentions that stubble with livestock on it will be counted as temporary grassland
• Confirmation is awaited on non-agricultural activity rules, but it is expected that the current rules will apply

Active Farmer Test
• The claimant’s activities must not appear on the ‘negative list’ which includes those operating ‘airports, railway services, waterworks, real estate services, permanent sports and recreation grounds’
• The test relating to whether a claimants land was mainly ‘naturally kept in a state suitable for cultivation and grazing’ has now been dropped

• The definition of ‘real estate services’ has not yet been defined.  This has implications for estates with let property
• Income from direct payments and agricultural activities will need to meet detailed criteria yet to be defined

• Compulsory for all claimants subject to exemptions 
• Applies on claim level to all ‘eligible hectares’ (including those not claimed).
• As it will include all land claimed under a Single Business Identifier (SBI) land farmed under different Holding Numbers will count as a single holding for this purpose
• Three elements to Greening:

- Maintaining permanent grassland
- Crop Diversification
- Ecological Focus Areas (EFA)

• Different crops and features can be used each year to meet the rules

Permanent grassland
• If the area of permanent grassland as a whole in England decreases by more than 5% areas that have been ploughed may have to be reinstated to grass
• Existing rules on ploughing sensitive grassland remain

Crop Diversification

Exemption A  
• >75% arable land will be fallow, temporary grassland or combination of both
• Remaining arable land 30 ha or less

Exemption B 
• >75% of all eligible land will be permanent grassland, temporary grassland or combination of both 
• Remaining arable land 30 ha or less

Exemption C
• More than 50% of arable land declared in 2015 was not declared in 2014 
• All arable land must be planted to a different crop in 2015 than 2014.  Records will be required for each parcel eg seed labels

10 ha to 30 ha Arable land 
• 2 different crops required
• Main crop cannot be more than 75% of arable land 

>30 ha Arable land 
• 3 different crops required 
• 2 main crops cannot cover more than 95% of arable land 
• If temporary grassland or fallow land covers more than 75% of arable land and remaining arable land is more than 30 ha these crops together can be counted as main crop, but 2 crops must be grown on remaining land with 1 crop not covering more than 75% of this remaining area 

• Spring and Winter crops count as two different crops ie winter and spring wheat are two crops for this purpose 
• Note that certain crops count as one crop for this purpose eg cabbage and cauliflower 
• A main crop undersown with a second crop will mean that the main crop only will count as the crop for Crop Diversification purposes  

• Assessed during a ‘Cropping Period’ 1st May to 30th June when crops need to be in the ground.  5% of claimants will be inspected 
• Clarification still required on situation where crops have not been planted or have been harvested during the cropping period

Ecological Focus Areas (EFA)


Exemption A 
• >75% arable land will be fallow, temporary grassland or leguminous crops or combination of these crops 
• Remaining arable land 30 ha or less

Exemption B
• >75% of all eligible land will be permanent grassland, temporary grassland or combination of both 
• Remaining arable land 30 ha or less
• This is the same as Crop Diversification Exemption B.

• Applies if more than 15 ha of arable land 
• Areas and features must equate to 5% of arable land in 2015 and 2016 
• Features include:
- Hedges- next to arable parcels 
- Buffer strips – next to watercourse, or parallel with and on a slope leading to a watercourse, min width of 1m 
- Fallow land – min width of 2m, fallow period of 1st  Jan to 30th June, can be temporary grassland provided it is not grazed or cut, wild bird seed and nectar sources can be planted
- Catch and cover crops – mix of 2 crops (1 cereal, 1 non-cereal), min area of 0.01 ha 
- Nitrogen fixing crops – leguminous crops and pasture legumes – see above

• Areas and lengths will need to be measured as appropriate to calculate how much they contribute
• Hedges – 1m length equals 10 sq m of area 
• Buffer strips – 1m length equals 9 sq m of area
• Fallow land – 1 for 1 basis 
• Catch and Cover Crops – 1 sq m equals 0.3 sq m of area  
• Nitrogen Fixing Crops – 1 sq m equals 0.7 sq m of area

• Leguminous crops include Beans and Peas. Seed will likely be in high demand so order early. Note that where pasture legumes are grown as a single crop or together (not mixed with grass) eg Clover, Lucerne and Sainfoin they will count as a leguminous crop
• Hedges – more information needed on shared boundaries, gaps in hedges and weighting of single sided hedges. DEFRA say using hedges in 2015 will delay payment as the RPA will need to verify each hedgerow
• Information awaited on what crops will count as catch and cover crops. Note that they must be planted in 2015. There are differences in the dates for establishment and retention for catch and cover crops.  It is unclear whether cover crops can be retained without replanting for more than one year    
• Weighting of nitrogen fixing crops to be confirmed 
• EFA will mean the return of measuring crop areas and a number of different crop codes to use on the claim form 

Cross Compliance
• Keeping land in Good Environmental and Agricultural Condition (GAEC) and compliance with Statutory Management Requirements (SMR’s) continues
• Soil Protection Reviews replaced with a minimum set of requirements 
• No cutting period for hedges extended from 31st July to 31st August

CAP Information Service 
• This will replace the existing system for SPS online and will include online mapping 
• Applicants are encouraged to log in and register as soon as they hear from the RPA about it 

This update is based on our best interpretation of the information currently available.  A number of issues remain and professional advice should be obtained