ARCHIVE: Entry Level Stewardship Handbook 2005 (PB10355)

Appendix 5 - Penalties which can apply to breaches of your agreement


As referred to in section 7 of this handbook, if you breach your agreement you may be liable to a penalty, depending on the circumstances of the breach.

In all cases, any penalties applied will be proportionate to the severity of the breach.

Penalties will be applied to the following four types of breaches:

  1. Where, on inspection, the total area of eligible land you have declared, or the points you are claiming for a particular option in a specific location, are found to be incorrect or the option is not in that location (e.g. a length of hedgerow on the boundary of one field is too short or is not there at all);
  2. Where the management requirements for an option are not being followed (e.g. where a hedgerow has been entered into a hedgerow management option but has subsequently been cut during the period 1 March to 31 July when this is not permitted);
  3. Where your FER features have been removed or damaged;
  4. Where the requirements of Good Farming Practice are not being followed.

Further details are set out below.

In addition, if you are found to have made a false declaration as a result of serious negligence, you can be excluded from all agri-environment measures for the calendar year in question. If you make a false declaration intentionally, you can be excluded for the following year as well. In these circumstances, or if you breach your agreement intentionally or as a result of serious negligence, you may also be required to pay a penalty of up to 10% of the payment made or payable to you.

1. Points claimed cannot be found

Where inspection reveals a discrepancy between what you are claiming for a particular option in a particular location and the actual length/area/number on the ground, the points value for that option and location will be deducted from your total points. This shortfall can be offset against any surplus points from other options on land receiving the same area payment (i.e. 30/ha or 8/ha, see section 1.1.4). But if you do not have surplus option points and this reduction reduces your total points below your target points, your annual payment for that year will be reduced and penalties applied on a sliding scale as follows:

Difference between target points claimed and points found Penalty
Points found are less than your target points, but the difference is not more than 3% Payment will be reduced (or recovered) based on points found.
The difference is more than 3%, but not more than 20% Difference between target and found points multiplied by 2 and deducted from found points and payment reduced (or recovered) accordingly.
Difference is more than 20% Total annual payment for the corresponding payment area (area of land receiving 30 or 8 per hectare) withheld.
2. Option management requirements not being followed

If you do not follow the management requirements for a particular option, you will lose all the points for this option where it is located and the points claimed will be deducted from your total points. This shortfall can be offset against any surplus points from additional options located elsewhere on other land receiving the same area payment. But if you do not have surplus option points and this reduction reduces your total points below your target points, your annual payment for that year will be reduced and penalties applied on a sliding scale as outlined above.

3. Damage or removal of FER features

If you damage or remove any of your FER features, your annual payment will be reduced. Any penalty will be proportionate to the nature and severity of the breach, and whether it is repeated.

Consideration will be given to the control you had over the damage or removal, for instance, where this might have been wholly or partly due to the action of a third party.

4. Breaches of Good Farming Practice

Similar penalties as under 3 above will be applied to breaches of Good Farming Practice, related to the severity, permanence and frequency of the breach.

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