As at the start of February 2016, many farmers will not have received their 2015 BPS payments. The RPA is under increasing pressure to make these payments and we hope that the majority will be made in the next few weeks.
The 2016 BPS year is underway and the RPA are already giving indications that the new electronic application system may not be fully operational in time for the required submissions. We will have to wait and see if paper submissions will be required for some in 2016, as it was intended that all applications were to be made online from 2015.
Although the new Countryside Stewardship (CS) process started last year many have claimed the application process to be overcomplicated and as a result new applications have been lower than anticipated. There has been much lobbying to get a simplified scheme in place, but we are only likely to see slight modifications this year. CS is now a competitive process with applicants judged against one another. We expect an increase in interest in new schemes this year in order to bolster reduced farm incomes and as more farmers come out of historic agreements with Natural England.
Please get in touch if you need support with any BPS claims, entitlement transfers or new CS applications.