The Foundation for Common Land is pleased to report that the Rural Payments Agency has agreed to make BPS payments to as many commoners as possible by the end of 2016. These will occur even if there are unresolved issues with their 2015 payments. This has been authorised by Defra Ministers.
Over the last eight weeks the Foundation for Common Land together with the National Farmers Union (NFU) and the Central Association of Agricultural Valuers (CAAV) have been meeting regularly with senior RPA staff to highlight and work through the substantial number of issues that have affected payments on common land. Many of these are now being addressed and we will continue to meet over the Christmas New Year period to assess progress.
In the meantime Defra has made the decision that the fact that a farmer has unresolved issues on their common should not delay their 2016 BPS payment. Once any outstanding common land issues from 2015 have been resolved any top ups required can be made. It is excellent news that commoners and hence the management of common land will not be disadvantaged compared with other land. Common Land provides multiple public goods on many of our most iconic places but is dependent on active management by commoners to maintain these benefits.