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BPS: Greening Rules 2018
7 September 2017

We have been awaiting confirmation from DEFRA of the proposed changes to the Basic Payment Scheme Greening rules proposed for the 2018 scheme year. On 9th August Defra confirmed the following key changes:

  • There will be a ban on the use of Plant Protection Products (including seed dressings) on Fallow Land, Nitrogen Fixing Crops and Catch & Cover Crops where they are used towards Ecological Focus Area (EFA). The ban will apply for the lifespan of the Nitrogen Fixing Crop and Catch & Cover Crops. For EFA Fallow land the ban will apply from 1st January to 30th June 2018.
  • The EFA option for hedges will be extended to include trees in a line. The EFA value will remain the same at 10 square metres per linear metre of hedge or trees.
  • The EFA buffer strips option will be extended to include field margins around all arable fields. They will no longer only apply where next to a watercourse. Strips must be at least 1m wide and then each linear metre will count as 9 square metres of area for EFA.
  • EFA catch crops must be maintained for a minimum of 8 weeks starting on 20th August 2018 and must be retained until at least 14th October 2018. The period for EFA cover crops remains at 1st October to 15th January of the following year.

Whilst the plant protection product ban is disappointing for those who have previously gained their EFA area from Nitrogen Fixing Crops, the inclusion of field margins in the buffer strip option will be of assistance in reaching the 5% EFA requirement.

Mapping

The RPA are also in the process of a mapping update or ‘Proactive Land Change Detection’. They will review all 2.1 million mapped land parcels and expect around two-thirds of parcels may be subject to change. We urge farmers to carefully check their maps for changes and alert the RPA to any issues. You will receive a notification in the ‘messages’ section of RPA online which will tell you the fields which have been altered.

If you have any queries or need assistance calculating you EFA requirement please contact:

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