As you will be aware, we are fast approaching the Basic Payment Scheme (BPS) application window for 2016. In light of this and of the difficulties experienced by the RPA for the 2015 BPS application this is an update on the current BPS situation.
2015 BPS CLAIMS
The RPA estimate that over 70% of claimants have been paid their 2015 BPS payment to date.
If you have been paid – Please carefully check your Claim Statement when it arrives to confirm whether or not you have been paid correctly (Claim Statements due to start being sent out in the next week or so by the RPA).
There seem to be a large number of claimants where their 2015 payment is incorrect. A common reason for this appears to include the failure of the RPA to process some entitlement or land transfers prior to making the payment.
Carver Knowles has a BPS Payment Calculator that can check whether your payment appears correct based on your 2015 claim data that was submitted. We can then make further checks against the Claim Statement to look out for any discrepancies. Please call if you would like to use this service.
If you haven’t been paid – You should have received a letter or email from the RPA explaining why you haven’t been paid yet. Claimants who have not been paid yet appear to be mainly those who have had inspections or those with commons or other “complicated claims”. Please let us know if you haven’t been paid and haven’t had any correspondence from the RPA either.
2016 BPS CLAIMS
The RPA have been working on their online claims system which they hope to roll out in early March. The 2016 BPS claim window shuts at midnight Monday 16th May 2016.
Any Entitlement and Land transfers will be able to be completed using the online system from early March.
As with the 2015 claim, the Greening requirements in terms of Crop Diversification and Ecological Focus Areas are still in place and will need to be calculated and entered into the online claim system.
Entitlement Trading – We are trading entitlements this year. Please let us know as early as possible if you have any surplus entitlements or are looking to purchase entitlements for the 2016 scheme year so that we can match buyers and sellers.
The website will be kept updated with further news on the 2016 BPS claim process and Entitlement availability.
In order to receive your 2016 BPS payment the RPA are required to check if someone is “accountable” for more than one business. An “accountable” person is someone who i). makes decisions about how the business is run and ii). who benefits financially from the business. This therefore applies to Sole Traders, Partners, Directors, Trustees and Executors.
ENVIRONMENTAL STEWARDSHIP CLAIM FORMS
Claim forms for clients with Entry Level or Higher Level Stewardship agreements in place will start to be sent out in March. The Claim forms need submitting back to Natural England by Monday 16th May 2016 in order to get paid for the scheme year.
NEW COUNTRYSIDE STEWARDSHIP CLAIM FORMS
Claim forms for those agreements that started in January 2016 will be sent out in March for submission by Monday 16th May 2016. We understand Natural England are still finalising the claims process and the website will be updated as and when there are further details.
The Hedgerow and Boundaries Capital Grant Scheme has just been launched offering one off grants of up to £5,000 for the repair or restoration of hedgerows and walls. The scheme is competitive and applications need to take account of the scoring system to have the best chance of success.
The Woodland Grant Scheme is open for applications from 16th February – 31st May 2016.
The Countryside Stewardship will be open for Mid Tier applications from 1st June until 30th September (tbc) with Higher Tier Expressions of Interest to be submitted from mid-February to March.
Please contact Mike Cluley for any further information that you require on any of the above.