RPA announces paper forms for BPS claims
The Rural Payments Agency has announced that paper applications forms will be made available for the Basic Payment Scheme and it is extending the deadline for submission to 15th June 2015.
This is as a direct result of functionality issues with their new online mapping software. The registration element of the system has been working well, yet the online mapping tool has been dogged with problems. Mark Grimshaw, RPA Chief Executive said “my priority is to ensure that every farmer and agent has the help they need to make their claims on time. Using tried and tested RPA forms will make that happen”
From Monday 23rd March two forms will be available to download from the RPA’s website, www.Gov.uk. These are the RLE1 form which can be used to transfer land and entitlements and make changes to land, and the BP5 claim form.
Claire Bainbridge, Rural Practice Surveyor at George F White commented that “This announcement will be welcomed by the majority of farmers in our region. Those farmers who were confidently attempting to complete the land element online have been frustrated by the slow and often unavailable system. Many farmers were feeling considerable concern about submitting such a critical form, online with limited or no experience with this online system”.
“Claimants that have not yet registered will still need to register to be able to claim, irrespective of these changes. As a firm we have most of our clients registered now, which has been a relatively simple exercise since the RPA introduced telephone registration. We had started to build our clients land element on the system, but it has been frustratingly slow progress. The RPA have made the difficult, but right decision to pull the plug on a failing online system and allow farmers plenty of time to get to grips with a new claim form, new scheme, without being dogged by computer issues”.
The RPA will start to email all farmers and agents who have already registered to provide further information on completing and submitting claims. Those farms which have little change to their land will be fast-tracked by the RPA, these are farms that aren’t needing greening, less than 10ha or have more that 75% permanent pasture.
Claire added “it should not be forgotten that this is a new scheme, with new elements. Although we have a new deadline of 15th June, please don’t leave it to the last minute to complete your claim. Greening still needs to be implemented on many farms, with complex rules, so although the submission deadline has been relaxed, the scheme rules have not. In 2005 we assisted farmers across the region in getting to grips with a new scheme and rules. We are anticipating helping significant numbers with this scheme. It’s new, it’s complex and as always, it’s at our regions busiest time of year with lambing, calving and spring drilling”.
Farmers who have not received up to date maps within that last six months will receive new maps of their land from the RPA during April, Agents will also receive copies of maps for their registered clients. The RPA will also have drop in centres where claimants can get help or they can contact the helpline on 03000 200 301. The RPA is also providing mobile units to help reach the most isolated and vulnerable farmers.