Cross Compliance: Guide to Cross Compliance in England 2015 (GCCE 2015 v1)

Meeting the rules

Claimants must follow cross compliance for the whole calendar year. However, in certain circumstances they can get an ‘exemption’ or ‘derogation’ from particular rules.

The claimant is the person responsible for making sure the cross compliance rules are met. They must make sure that the following people also meet the rules:

  • someone acting for them (or under their control) on their holding
  • someone with access to the holding under the terms of an agreement.

These people could include contractors, employees or family members.

However, for those GAECs about the identification and traceability of animals, it is the person with day-to-day responsibility for the animals on the holding who is responsible for meeting the rules (even if they don’t own the animals or the land that they graze on). Responsibility for the welfare of all farmed animals lies jointly with:

  • the person who has day to day responsibility for the animals, and
  • the owner of the animals.

The rules apply to all the land on a claimant’s holding (including common land and land under a rural development scheme).

All land declared under Basic Payment Scheme (BPS) must comply with the cross compliance rules for the whole calendar year – whoever claims it.

Who is responsible for meeting the rules if land is transferred from one BPS claimant to another?

If you declare a land parcel on your BPS application and then transfer it to someone else in the same year, you may still be responsible for making sure the cross compliance rules are met on the land (even after the transfer).

If the person you’ve transferred the land to:

  • is also a BPS claimant that year – after the transfer, they will become responsible for making sure the cross compliance rules are met on the land for the rest of the year (even though they didn’t declare it on their BPS application).
  • is NOT a BPS claimant that year – after the transfer, you are still responsible for making sure the cross compliance rules are met on the land. This is because all land declared under BPS must comply with the cross compliance rules for the whole calendar year, and you are the only BPS claimant.

If you’ve transferred land to someone else partway through a scheme year, and you’re not sure who is responsible for meeting the cross compliance rules on the land, contact the Rural Payments Agency.


Sometimes, a claimant may be exempt from a particular rule. This means they don’t have to meet that specific part of a GAEC and/or SMR.

Some examples of when an exemption could be used are if:

  • there is a risk to human or animal health or safety
  • a claimant needs to control or treat serious causes of harm to plant health
  • there is a serious pest or weed infestation.

Claimants don’t need to write to us in advance asking for an exemption but if they get inspected they must be able to prove how and why they used the exemption.

Exemptions can also be granted if work carried out under a statutory authority stops a claimant meeting one of the rules – for example, if a pipeline or railway is being built on their land. However, once the statutory authority has finished any work on the land, the claimant must return it to a state which meets cross compliance requirements.

We would not expect statutory bodies to have to use their statutory powers to get permission for access, or to carry out work, where voluntary consent already exists.

Depending on the circumstances, exemptions may last for a specific period of time only.


Claimants can ask for a derogation from some GAECs in a number of different circumstances. We’ve explained in this guide in the text of the relevant GAEC where derogations may be available.

Some examples of when a derogation could be used are if:

  • it would benefit the environment
  • it would benefit livestock or crop production
  • it would improve public or agricultural access.

If successful, this means that for a particular period of time, they wouldn’t have to meet that specific rule.

Claimants must apply in writing for a derogation from the appropriate authority (contact details for the relevant authorities are on page 76). They should send all the available evidence (for example, photographs or diagrams) and include the land parcel numbers they want the derogation for. Correspondence should be clearly marked ‘Cross compliance derogation’. They have to wait for written permission before carrying out any work.

Force majeure and exceptional circumstances

Sometimes a claimant might not be able to meet cross compliance due to ‘force majeure’ or exceptional circumstances. This could mean that we don’t reduce their payments (for more information about penalties, read page 11).

‘Force majeure’ means exceptional circumstances, outside your control, the consequences of which, in spite of all due care, could not be avoided except at the cost of excessive sacrifice on your part.

Claimants in a ‘force majeure’ situation should contact the RPA to discuss their circumstances. This should be within 15 days of the date the exceptional circumstance took place (or the date they first become aware of the exceptional circumstance).

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