Whilst Monday 17 May 2021 is marked in our calendars for the relaxation of COVID rules, it should also be highlighted for another reason – for farmers in England it's the final date to apply for the Basic Payment Scheme in England for 2021.  To avoid incurring penalties all applications need to be submitted by midnight on this date.

There has been some simplification of the process for 2021.  Here is a quick rundown of some key changes: 

  • Applications this year will only relate to your English entitlements.  This means that if you previously received cross-border entitlements, this will no longer be treated as a single holding.  Land held in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland will need to be dealt with in separate applications according to their separate deadlines.
  • The deadline for informing the Rural Payments Agency about a force majeure event and exceptional circumstances has been extended from 15 days to 8 weeks.
  • All three greening requirements have been removed for the 2021 scheme year.  This means that you will not receive a separate greening payment as these will be added to the value of your BPS entitlements.
  • The requirement for you to use all of your entitlements at least once every two years has been removed.

Provided you have submitted your application before 17 May 2021, amendments and the submission of any supporting documentation can be done until midnight on 11 June 2021 without incurring a penalty.

For our Scottish clients, the deadline for submission is also Monday 17 May 2021.  For our Welsh clients, this deadline is even closer on Saturday 15 May.  

In England, 2021 will be one of the last years for claiming direct payments by reference to entitlements.  Entitlements may be cancelled with the proposed “de-linking” of direct payments that is currently proposed for 2024, subject to consultation.  Direct payments will be reduced over the period 2021 to 2027.  They will be replaced with the Environmental Land Management scheme that will pay for the delivery of public goods. 

For advice in relation to land and rural business matters, please contact Ross Simpson or your usual Burges Salmon contact.