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Permanent Fruit Orchards, Nursery Crops and Vines – FAQ

FAQs issued 29-02-2008

1) What is the current position of permanent fruit orchards, nursery crops and vines under the Single Payment Scheme.

These crops are currently ineligible under the Single Payment Scheme (SPS).

2) What changes are happening for the 2009 scheme year?

Land under orchards and nursery crops will become eligible under the Single Payment Scheme (SPS) from the 2009 scheme year. This means that farmers may now use such land in support of payment claims against existing entitlements under the SPS.

In addition, EU rules are currently being amended so that land under vines will also become eligible under the SPS from the 2009 scheme year.

3) What are you now consulting on about these crops?

The consultation asks for views on:

  • the basis for allocating any new Single Payment Scheme (SPS) entitlements to farmers for permanent fruit, nursery crops and vines.
  • the first scheme year these new SPS entitlements should be allocated for land growing permanent fruit and nursery crops.

4) How could this affect growers of the relevant crops?

From the 2009 SPS scheme year, land used to grow these crops can be used to support claims for payment against existing SPS entitlements on the same basis as any other eligible land use.

Depending on the outcome of the consultation growers of these crops may also be allocated new entitlements.

5) How could this affect existing claimants of the SPS?

If, in the year new entitlements are allocated, there are not enough unallocated funds within the English SPS financial ceiling, the value of all existing SPS entitlements will need to be scaled back. This means all existing entitlement holders will potentially be affected by these decisions.

6) What assessment has been made of the possible level of scale-back
that may be required to fund any entitlement allocation?

Our assessment is that if scale-back is necessary to fund the allocation of new entitlements, then the value of existing entitlements would be slightly reduced. Initial estimates for allocation at the flat rate indicate the reduction would be less than 0.5%. Choosing an option that values the allocated entitlements higher or lower than the existing flat rate would increase / decrease the scale-back which may be needed on the value of all existing entitlements.

7) Has it been decided to use the national envelope funds provided
under reform of the EU wine regime for SPS purposes?

No decision has been taken yet on whether to use ‘national envelope’ funds for SPS purposes and this will be the subject of a separate consultation in due course. However, without prejudice to that wider consultation and to ensure that implementation in 2009 is a practical possibility should the option be chosen, we are consulting now on the detail of how any new entitlements for land under vines might be allocated.

8) Why are you not implementing these reforms in time for the 2008 SPS?

At the time the announcement was made in December 2007, we felt it was important not to introduce any changes which could have a negative impact on the processing of 2008 payments for all SPS applicants.

As far as vines are concerned, the reforms of the EU Wine regime (which were only agreed in December 2007) did not provide for an option to implement for the 2008 SPS.

9) When can growers apply for their new entitlements?

The timing and the basis on which any new entitlements will be allocated to growers for this land will be decided as a result of the consultation. Once those decisions are known, the RPA will advise on the application process.

10) When will the reforms be implemented?

Permanent fruit orchards and nursery crops will become eligible crops under the SPS for the 2009 scheme year and EU rules are being amended to make the same change for vines.

The timing and the basis on which any new entitlements will be allocated to farmers for this newly eligible land is the subject of the consultation paper issued on 29 February 2008.

11) What are nursery crops?

These are defined as areas of young woody plants grown in the open air for subsequent transplantation:

(a) vine and root-stock nurseries;

(b) fruit tree nurseries;

(c) ornamental nurseries;

(d) nurseries of forest trees (excluding those for the holding's own requirements grown within woodland); Commercial forest-tree nurseries, whether in woodland or outside, are included in the definition, as are non-commercial forest-tree nurseries for the holding's own requirements grown outside woodland.

(e) trees and bushes for planting in gardens, parks, at the roadside and on embankments, e.g. hedgerow plants, rose trees and other ornamental bushes, ornamental conifers, including in all cases their stocks and young seedlings.

12) I already use my traditional orchard to claim under the SPS. Can I continue to do this?

Yes. This announcement does not effect any of the rules of the scheme as they currently stand. This means land used to grow traditional orchards can continue to be used in support of an SPS claim. Please see Sections C27 to C29 of the SPS Handbook and Guidance for England 2008.

2008 FVP Authorisations

13) What announcement have you made?

In August 2007 we announced the abolition of the fruit, vegetable and potato (fvp) authorisation system in England from 2008, under the rules of the Single Payment Scheme (SPS).

14) What does it mean?

This means that growers will be able to use land under fruit, vegetables and potatoes in support of future claims for SPS payment against Normal or National Reserve entitlements. Before 2008 it was only possible if growers had a matching number of SPS entitlements with fvp authorisations attached.

15) Will I lose my authorised entitlements?

No. You will retain your entitlements. They will simply lose their authorised status as this will no longer be required if you wish to claim SPS using land under fruit, vegetable and potatoes.

Contact information

If you cannot find the answer to your question here, then please ring the Customer Service Centre on 0845 603 7777.

If your enquiry is not urgent please e-mail us at or write to us at:

Rural Payments Agency

PO Box 1058

Newcastle upon Tyne

NE99 4YQ

Normal CSC Opening hours: Monday to Friday 8.30am – 5.00pm

Page published: 17 March 2010