Hedges have been in the news recently for two reasons causing farmers challenges whether regard to Basic Payment Scheme (BPS) applications or managing the extended hedge cutting rules. 

BPS errors

As reported in last week’s Farmers Weekly, farmers have started to complete this year’s BPS claims and have noted serious errors in mapping data held in relation to their hedges.  This year the RPA has introduced a new hedge layer which shows the location and length of hedges which are eligible to count towards the ecological focus area (EFA) obligations.  However farmers are finding that land parcels where hedges exist in reality are not showing on the RPA’s system along with non-existent hedges appearing where they should not be!!  Our advice and that of the RPA is that if you need hedges to meet your EFA and if they aren’t showing on the mapping hedge layer that you need to fill out and RLE1 form and get them added back in to cover your EFA hedge claim position.

If you need any assistance doing this then please contact Georgina Bush at our Cirencester office on 01285 883740.

Extended hedge cutting

In 2015 the hedge cutting period was extended into the whole of August meaning that the cutting band period is now 1st March to 31st August.  This has proved a real problem for farmers and contractors wanting to cut their hedges as they follow the combine which is common practice for many.  To help address this, if you want to sow oil seed rape or temporary grass during August 2018 you can now apply to the RPA for a derogation to do so.

Richard Greasby MRICS FAAV 

 

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