The basic payment scheme & common land
Posted on 02 September 2015

A new approach to claim on common land through the Basic Payment Scheme; this principally means the eligible area of the common is divided up amongst common land right holders who are using the common.  A farmer who currently has common land rights must demonstrate they are using the common by:

  • Using his rights to turn stock out
  • PArt of an agri-environment agreement on the common; or
  • Contributing to “ the appropriate management of the common by keeping some of it in a state suitable for grazing or cultivation by keeping it clear of any scrub that can’t be grazed, or by some other beneficial activity” (DEFRA,2015).

This should mean any unallocated land will be allocated to farmers who are deemed to be using the common land.

The Application Process

The application form should now be available from September 2015 (delayed from June 2015); and it is advised to be submitted by December 2015 to meet the deadline of the 2015 claim. A single form will need to be completed but additional information or supplement documentation may need to be gathered later, depending on what  the Rural Payment Agency require to confirm usage of any particular common. 

Hill Farmers Allowance/ Upland Transfer Payments

If a farmer with common land rights was also claiming Hill Farm Allowance (HFA)/Uplands Transitional Payment (UTP), any increase in the notional eligible area of the common will have an impact on the HFA/UTP payment received previously. These farmers therefore also need to apply for the additional HFA/UTP payments (from 2009 onwards) they should have received in previous years.

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