Single Payment Scheme

Single Payment Scheme

Date: November 24th 2004
Source: Defra

The details of the new Single Payment Scheme (SPS) has been announced by Food and Farming Minister Lord Whitty. This includes a package of measures and provides new details on:

  • the eligibility of land grazed by horses,
  • the inclusion of traditional orchards in SPS
  • the operation of the National Reserve, and
  • conditions for exemption from new hedgerow and ditch protection measures.

The Scheme seeks to simplify the ten existing major payment schemes into one, considerably reducing the administrative burden for many farmers.  Whilst some details are still unclear the new announcement does provide the following clarifications:

Access to the SPS - horse pasture. Land used for grazing horses will be included for purposes of the Single Payment.

Access to the SPS - Orchards. Land used for permanent crops, including orchards cannot be used to support a claim for the new Single Payment - this applies to all EU Member States. However, existing guidance from the European Commission does allow land in dual use, such as traditional grazed orchards, to be used to claim subsidy in certain circumstances, to be defined. This will continue.

National Reserve. This is a mandatory element of the Single Payment Scheme. It exists to minimise disadvantages to farmers, who for a variety of reasons may have seen changes in their business during or since the reference period (2000 - 2002) that would adversely affect their claim. All farmers who make a valid application for the single payment in 2005 will receive entitlements per hectare, which will comprise a flat rate area-based element and, where appropriate, an historic element (their reference amount) normally based on their subsidy receipts during the reference period.

Cross compliance - hedgerow protection - exemptions from 2m buffer zones. Fields of two hectares and under will not need to have protective buffer zones around hedges and ditches as part of cross compliance measures. This means that 90% of English farmland will have a buffer in which cultivation or the use of pesticides or fertilisers is not allowed from July 2005.

Additional resources:

The Cross Compliance Handbook for England will be issued to farmers in November/December 2004 and available on ADLib around the same time. Guidance notes for 'Soils' and for 'Habitats and Landscape Features' will be published in due course.

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