Wednesday 6 December 2017

Over the last two weeks we have had further conversations, correspondence
and meetings with Paul Caldwell (CEO), Ali Johnson (BPS Operations
Director) and Simon Lunniss. The Foundation for Common Land’s current
understanding is as set out below. The RPA repeatedly comments they are
very conscious there has not been the progress with the New Forest that is
needed. We have stressed that lack of communication and dialogue, as well
as lack of action, is resulting in an erosion of trust. This message is also being
reinforced by other organisations such as the NFU and CAAV.

Post Payment Allocations for 2015 and 2016 BPS
Some New Forest claimants still require post payment allocations (top up
payments) to correct their 2015 and 2016 payments using the current area of
16,125 ha. These have not yet been made with RPA’s current plan to action
“early in the New Year”. The delay is due to there being over 250 claimants
and 500 land parcels which cannot be processed unless other processing
activity is suspended. RPA are currently prioritising the 2017 BPS payments.

A Plan to arrive at an agreed Eligible Area for the New Forest
There has been no action on updating the land cover control data (eligible
area). The RPA are still considering whether their new remote sensing data
will provide a better alternative than the Lidar data that Bournemouth could
use. The RPA say, “As the immediate pressure of 2017 payments recedes,
we will focus our efforts to conclude the review and end the present
uncertainty”. There is of course a risk with any detailed study that the answer
may be less than the current eligible area. Another option to move the position
forward is for parties in the New Forest to collectively commission the Lidar
study being careful to ensure the method has regard to EU eligibility rules for
parcels with trees in them and preferably agreeing a protocol with the RPA.
Simon Lunniss has offered to meet with you early in the New Year with input
from their GIS experts to decide on the next steps. With regard the boundary
(perambulation) the RPA considers this is now finalised but if errors are
spotted the door remains open to review this.

When can New Forest claimants expect to receive their 2017 BPS?
The RPA are still awaiting 3-4 receipts and will be chasing these directly from
the Verderers’ office. The allocation of the New Forest common is planned to
take place in early January and payments for New Forest commoners should
start to be issued later in January. In all cases if a commoner has issues
related to their claim that arise from their back up grazing or other land then
these could delay their payment being made. These payments will be made
with the existing area of 16,125 ha.

Julia Aglionby
Foundation for Common Land