Land at your disposal – FAQ
Q3 updated 12 May 2008
1) What is being announced?
Following agreement at the EU Agriculture Council meeting on 21 January 2008, farmers will be required from the 2008 scheme year to have the land used to support their SPS claims at their disposal on just one day. In the UK, that day will be 15 May each scheme year. This replaces the previous requirement for farmers to have land at their disposal for a period of 10 months.
2) How does this affect me?
Land which you use to activate an entitlement under the SPS must be at your disposal on 15 May of the scheme year (this date is the same throughout the UK). This applies from the 2008 scheme year.
If you are transferring land (either in or out) during the year, you should carefully consider the terms of any contractual arrangements between you and the transferor or transferee. This is so you can make sure that your interests are protected if a cross compliance breach occurred before or after the land transfer (see question 3). Similarly, you should bear in mind the risks of not having contractual arrangements agreed and in place.
3) How does this affect cross compliance and inspections?
It is the SPS applicant who is responsible for making sure that cross compliance requirements are met for the whole calendar year on all the agricultural land that formed part of their holding on 15 May. They are also responsible for ensuring that access is granted to inspectors in respect of this land. From 1 April 2008 this applies even if the applicant is not in occupation of the land for the entire year.
If the applicant were to take on some agricultural land after 1 April 2008 and it formed part of their holding on 15 May, they would be liable for any cross compliance breaches that occurred during the whole period 1 April to 31 December and for ensuring that access is granted to inspectors, including, where relevant, any period between 1 April and the date they took on the land. (In future scheme years they would be liable for any breach which occurred during the calendar year.)
Similarly, if an applicant had some agricultural land on 15 May which they then transferred out later in the year, they would remain responsible for ensuring that the cross compliance requirements relating to that land are met until the end of the calendar year and that access is granted to inspectors.
4) When does land have to be eligible?
Land must remain eligible throughout the calendar year.
5) Does this change the way I will fill out my SP5 form?
Guidance on how to complete the SPS application form will be given in the SPS Handbook and Guidance for England 2008 and SPS How to Complete Your SP5 Application Form when available.
Page published: 8 December 2011