BPS penalties: Common cross compliance breaches
Agribusiness lawyer Rachel Elliott outlines the most common cross compliance breaches for farmers to be aware of when claiming for BPS payments.
When submitting a Basic Payment Scheme (BPS) claim form, you commit to abide by the rules of cross compliance in order to successfully claim your BPS payment.
Cross compliance rules need to be adhered to all year round and with Rural Payments Agency (RPA) Inspectors able to arrive at farms unannounced at any time, farmers need to be prepared to ensure they are not at risk of losing their current and future years Basic Payment.
When it comes to farm inspections one of the most important points is to never refuse access. Preventing an Inspector from carrying out their inspection can result in you losing 100% of your Basic Payment.
Common cross compliance breaches
The most common cross compliance breaches that farmers need to be aware of are summarised as follows:
- farmers amending the date when the cattle was born as it has not been registered for a passport in the appropriate timeframe (usually 27 days)
- farmers moving cattle without passports
- failure to notify British Cattle Movement Service (BCMS) that an animal has been moved to another holding
- missing ear tags
- insufficient records of deaths, diseases and medicines
- inadequate buildings and facilities for animals on the holding
- lack of competence in animal care
Nitrate Vulnerable Zones (NVZs)
- temporary heaps of muck left in the same place for more than 12 months
- missing, insufficient and inaccurate NVZ documents
- not having a map to show all surface water on the holding (to include all surface waters and land within 10 metres of them, all springs, wells and boreholes on your holding or within 50 metres of the boundary and land within 50 metres of them)
- failing to maintain a 2 metre green buffer strip (from the centre of the watercourse) along all watercourses
- applying pesticides and fertilisers within 2m of the hedge
- cutting hedges on the wrong dates
Public Rights of Way
- obstructing rights of way
- not reinstating paths to the correct width
- failing to spray off crops along rights of way
New conditions from April 2018
Further cross compliance conditions came into force on 2 April 2018 and are briefly summarised as follows:
- planning the use of manures and fertilisers to improve soil nutrient levels and meet crop needs
- storing organic manures and positioning livestock feeders away from water bodies
- applying manures or fertilisers to minimise impact on the water environment
- precautions to prevent soil erosion
- reducing livestock compacting soil by trampling it.
Farmers may see cross compliance rules as an ongoing burden to their day to day activities. However, given the contractual responsibility and the potential financial risks at stake, they are certainly worth investing time and effort on in order to ensure they are adhered to in full.
For every act of negligent non-compliance there is a 1-5% penalty. If non-compliance continues, the next year the penalty will be three times it was the year previous. This continues until penalties reach 15% at which point negligent non-compliance is classed as intentional non-compliance where fines can be 20% – 100% of the Basic Payment.
For further information on how we can assist or help with any non-compliance claims which may be brought against you, contact our agricultural team on 01228 552222 or email Rachel Elliott on firstname.lastname@example.org.
About the author
Rachel Elliott is a Paralegal in the Agribusiness team at Burnetts.