Moving on from Cross Compliance

As we move away from EU funding, we are seeing many changes in the farming landscape. One such change is the end of the Cross Compliance regulations.  These rules have been in place for any claimant under the Basic Payment Scheme since 2005.  Cross Compliance was brought in to ensure farmers kept their land in Good Agricultural and Environmental Condition and complied with Statutory Management Requirements, which officially ended alongside Basic Payment Scheme on 31st December 2023.

The end of Cross Compliance does not mean the end of rules and requirements for landowners and farmers.  Legislation such as Reduction and Prevention of Agricultural Diffuse Pollution (England) Regulations 2018, also known as the Farming Rules for Water still govern our land management practices in how we store and apply manures and fertilisers to reduce the risk of pollution.

Parliament have recently passed new hedgerow regulations regarding the management, maintenance, and protection of hedgerows in the UK.  The new legislation includes a requirement for a 2-metre buffer strip, measured from the centre of a hedgerow, where a green cover must be established and maintained.  Also, no cultivation or the application of pesticides or fertilisers should take place within this buffer strip, together with a hedgerow cutting ban from 1st March to 31st August (inclusive).

Exemptions to the rules include:

  • If the hedgerow is causing danger to or having a negative impact on a public right of way;
  • if the hedgerow is within the curtilage or on the boundary of a private dwelling house;
  • if cutting or removal of the hedge is required to protect human or animal health;
  • if you need to prevent a serious pest or weed infestation;
  • if the work is required by a statutory body;
  • to carry out hedge-laying or coppicing during the period 1st March to 30th April or
  • to trim a newly laid hedgerow by hand, within 6 months of it being laid.

In other circumstances you may need to apply to the Rural Payments Agency for a derogation to undertake hedge cutting or trimming works between 1st March and 31st August. At Armitstead Barnett, we are always happy to help if you have any queries on new legislation.  Please do give us a call.

Authored by

Samuel Dennis

07801 580838


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