6. Reductions, exclusions and penalties
Failure to declare all the agricultural land on your holding
If you do not declare all the permanent and seasonal agricultural land that you have on the 15 May 2008 on your SAF (not just land on which you are claiming SFPS), we will reduce your SFPS payment.
If there is a difference between the total area you declare on your SAF and the total agricultural land that you should have declared, we will reduce your payment as follows:
Up to 3%
No reduction in payment
More than 3% and up to 20%
21% to 50%
More than 50%
If you have any doubt about what areas you should declare, you should contact your SGRPID area office or seek professional advice.
Discrepancies in areas declared
We cannot pay on an area greater than the area you declare on your SAF. If we find that the area of a crop group is greater than the area you declared on your SAF, we will pay on the area you declared. For the SAF, the crop groups are:
- SFPS use, including set-aside;
- Energy crops;
- Protein crops;
If we find a difference between the number of SFPS payment entitlements you hold and the number of eligible hectares you declared on your SAF, we will calculate your SFPS payment on the lower number.
You must declare sufficient land to match the number of set-aside entitlements you hold. If you do not, we will reduce your other eligible land by the shortfall and over declaration penalties will be applied where applicable. You will not be paid on the shortfall on set-aside entitlements, nor will these entitlements be counted as having been used in the scheme year. If we find that land you declared as SFPS set-aside was not set-aside, we will deduct it from the overall area you declared.
Within the same crop group, we can offset an over declaration of one land parcel's area against an under declaration of another's.
If the determined area for a crop group is less than that declared on the SAF, payment will be calculated on the area determined or, for SFPS only, the number of payment entitlements held, if this is less than the area determined.
These rules will apply in cases where the number of hectares of eligible land found is less than the number of hectares declared as part of the SAF, or for SFPS, the number of payment entitlements held.
Whether penalties are appropriate depends on a comparison between the number of hectares of eligible land declared; the number of hectares found; and the number of entitlements held.
- If the land found is less than the land declared but the land declared is equal to or less than the number of entitlements held, penalties will be applied based on the difference between land declared and found.
- If the land found is less than the land declared but the land declared is greater than the number of entitlements held, penalties will be applied based on the difference between the land found and the number of entitlements held.
- If the land found is less than the land declared but the land found is greater than the number of entitlements held, no penalties will be applied.
If you declare more land than you require to activate your payment entitlements, providing all the land declared is found to be eligible, we will not apply any overdeclaration penalties. For example:
Number of entitlements held = 10
Number of eligible hectares declared = 15
Number of hectares found = 12
Land found is higher than the number of entitlements held, therefore, no penalties are applicable.
Even if the land found is less than the number of entitlements held, we will only apply an overdeclaration penalty based on the difference. For example:
Number of Entitlements held = 15
Number of eligible hectares declared = 10
Number of hectares found = 8
Penalty will be based on the 2ha shortfall.
Where there is a difference between the number of hectares found and the number of hectares of eligible land declared or the number of entitlements held (whichever is the lesser), reductions in payment will apply as follows:
- If the difference is more than either 3% or 2 hectares, but not more than 20%, the payment will be reduced by twice the difference found.
- If the difference is more than 20% no payment will be made for the crop group concerned.
If the area you declare on your SAF exceeds the area we find (for all crop groups) by more than 30%, no payment for the SFPS or other schemes covered by your SAF will be made. However, SFPS will be exempt from this penalty if the area determined is equal to or greater than the number of payment entitlements held.
If the area you declare on your SAF exceeds the area we find (for all crop groups) by more than 50%, no payment for the SFPS or other schemes covered by your SAF will be made. In addition the payment next year will be reduced by an amount correspoding to the difference in payments between the area declared or payment entitlements held and the area determined. If the full payment cannot be deducted from next year's payment, the remainder will be deducted from payments in the following two years. However, SFPS will be exempt from this penalty if the area determined is equal to or greater than the number of payment entitlements held.
Non-food set-aside and Energy Crop Scheme
If you fail to deliver the correct quantity of crops grown for non-food set-aside or under the ECS, you will be subject to the same reductions as set out above. The area is calculated by multiplying the area of land cultivated for these crops by the percentage shortfall in the delivery of the crop.
Intentional over declaration
If you intentionally over declare land within a crop group, and the difference between the area you declared and the area we found is 20% or less of the area found, we will make no payment for that crop group that year. If the difference is more than 20%, as well as making no payment that year, we will reduce your payment in the next calendar year by an amount which corresponds to the difference in payments between the area you declared and the area we found. If we cannot take the full amount from your payment in the next calendar year, we will take the remainder from payments in the two subsequent years.
A false declaration made intentionally or recklessly is a criminal offence which carries a maximum sentence of an unlimited fine or two years imprisonment. If we find that you have intentionally or recklessly made a false declaration you will be liable to prosecution.
Reductions for cross compliance failure
These are detailed in the Cross Compliance Notes for Guidance.
Force majeure and exceptional circumstances
We may accept that a farmer was prevented from meeting certain obligations due to either force majeure or exceptional circumstances. If so, we may not apply penalties. Force majeure is defined as "unusual circumstances, outside a farmer's control, the consequences of which, in spite of all due care, could not be avoided except at the cost of excessive sacrifice on their part". Examples of force majeure and exceptional circumstances include:
- The death of the farmer
- The long term professional incapacity of the farmer
- A severe natural disaster affecting the holding's agricultural land
- The accidental destruction of livestock buildings, and
- An epizootic disease affecting livestock.
To apply for force majeure or exceptional circumstances, you must write to your SGRPID area office within 10 working days of the event and provide as much evidence as you can to support your case, including proof that the event occurred. We will consider each case on its merits.
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