Hedge-cutting derogation reminder for farmers

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Farmers in England still have time to apply for a derogation from the hedge cutting ban on land on which they will be drilling oilseed rape or temporary grass during August.

Cross-compliance rules governing the Basic Payment Scheme prevent the cutting or trimming of hedgerows until 1 September in order to protect birdlife.

However, farmers who have been granted a written derogation by the Rural Payments Agency, are able to cut or trim hedges from 1 August on land being used to drill OSR or temporary grassland during that month.

“Growers who have not yet applied for a derogation should still have time to do so,” says farm consultant Robert Gazely from the Chelmsford office of Strutt & Parker.

“The process is straightforward: Growers need to email the RPA with details of the land parcels they want the derogation for, along with their name, address and SBI number. The subject line of the email should be marked ‘Cross-compliance derogation’.

‘In our experience, the RPA usually comes back with written confirmation of the derogation within two or three weeks. Growers need to wait until they have written permission before carrying out any work, or they could face BPS penalties.”


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