BPS Greening and Mapping Update
Published August 14th, 2017
DEFRA have confirmed some changes in relation to the ‘greening’ requirements for BPS 2018 applicable in England (the greening changes will apply in other parts of the UK, but may be implemented differently). There are some outstanding decisions yet to be made, but the main headlines of DEFRA’s changes are as follows:-
- Using Hedges as an EFA option has been extended to include trees in a line.
- Areas under EFA Catch or Cover Crops must be maintained for a minimum period of 8 weeks which is already met in England with the 15 week period set for EFA Cover Crops, however EFA Catch Crops will be subject to an extended period and therefore will have to be established by 20th August 2018 and retained until at least 14th October 2018.
- Nitrogen-fixing crops can be mixed with other crops as the nitrogen-fixing crop is ‘predominant’. We await to hear confirmation of the definition of ‘predominant’ from DEFRA.
- Finally we have clarification in relation to Plant Protection Products (PPPs). PPPs may not be applied on any areas of fallow, catch/cover crops or nitrogen-fixing crops being used for EFA from BPS 2018. Although not confirmed, the current understanding is that this ban will apply for the life cycle of the crop for nitrogen-fixing and catch/cover crops and for the EFA fallow period of 1st January to 30th June 2018 for fallow areas. No confirmation has been provided as to how this affects 2017 sown crops as the rules do not apply until 1st January 2018 however it would be advised to assume that the ban applies from when the crop is sown up until 31st December 2017. It is likely that this ban will also apply to seeds which are treated/dressed prior to sowing, but confirmation from the European Commission is also awaited.
- The RPA have commenced a mapping update known as Proactive Land Change Detection (PLCD) which may affect two thirds of the 2.1 million land parcels which are digitally mapped on the RPA’s system. The intention is to bring the RPA’s mapping system up to date with recent Ordnance Survey mapping data.
- The RPA will notify claimants that they have been subject to PLCD on the rural payments website in the messages section when logged in. This notification will list the fields which can then be checked by going into the ‘Land’ section and then ‘View Land’ for the relevant SBI. If you do not agree with a PLCD mapping update then an RLE1 form and sketch map will need to be completed and submitted to the RPA.
- The mapping updates may have an impact on payments for BPS 2017, Countryside stewardship, Environmental Stewardship and woodland schemes. Parcels may see changes to their boundaries, BPS Eligible area and Land Cover (i.e. permanent grass vs arable land which can affect greening). If changes have been requested by claimants following PLCD work and are not rectified by 1st December 2017, then this will also impact on their 2017 BPS payment.