Friday 6 January 2017

We along with the National Farmers Union (NFU) and Central Association of Agricultural Valuers (CAAV) met with the Rural Payments Agency between Christmas and the New Year to monitor progress on paying BPS on common land.

Julia Aglionby, our Executive Director said; “The RPA has made substantial progress paying commoners. They have informed us that over seventy percent of commoners have now received a 2016 BPS payment based on the control data they currently hold in their system. The RPA’s objective during December was to ensure as many farmers as possible with common land received a payment which will ease cash flow for these businesses The next phase is to update the control data on common land and then make further payments where required.”

“We are aware that many hundreds of commoners are still awaiting their 2016 payment and/or their top-up for 2015 BPS. We continue to press the RPA to keep to the timetable they provided to the Efra Committee that the 2015 corrections will be completed by the end of January 2017.”

Paul Caldwell, RPA Operations Director commented, “We understand how important these payments are to farmers, and are in regular discussion with the Foundation for Common Land and other key stakeholders, as we deliver our commitment to make sure that payments for commons claims are made as quickly as possible.”

Richard Wordsworth, NFU’s BPS Advisor added, “Working with the RPA, we have achieved a better outcome for many to this point.  The work is however not finished and we will continue to work with RPA and fellow stakeholders to achieve remaining 2016 payments being issued and remaining retrospective payment adjustments to be made."

Common Land provides substantial benefits to society and all common land has open access for walking but this access depends on active management by commoners and owners of common land. As agricultural returns are marginal government payments to commoners are required to ensure society can continue to enjoy our commons including iconic places such as Helvellyn, Yorkshire Dales, and the Dartmoor Tors. Commoners waiting for payments who are suffering hardship because of cash flow difficulties are advised to apply for a financial support payment.