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Time is now for farmers to ensure GLAS scheme compliance or face heavy penalties

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The GLAS scheme involves more than 50,000 farmers

The GLAS scheme involves more than 50,000 farmers

The GLAS scheme involves more than 50,000 farmers

The majority of farmers will be coming to the end of their current GLAS contracts in 2020 and 2021.

However, there is optimism that contracts may be extended by a further one or two years until a new CAP is agreed.

The different GLAS actions have minimum and maximum payable units and completion deadlines. Most if not all of the action completion deadlines have now passed.

GLAS actions will, however, have annual management requirements such as. LIPP, THM, Chough and so on.

It is important now to review your GLAS plan to ensure you have complied with the scheme specifications, as well as the terms and conditions of your contract.

GLAS records should be completed on an annual basis and be available upon inspection. All farmers in GLAS must submit their 2020 BPS application.

Where through a basic payment scheme inspection a breach of cross-compliance is detected, at a minimum, the level of penalty determined under BPS will also be applied to payments under the GLAS scheme.

All breaches of cross-compliance detected on a GLAS inspection will be cross-reported.

GLAS inspections are generally carried out in the second half of the year.

If you have made every effort to comply with terms and conditions and specifications in your GLAS plan and feel penalties applied following an inspection should not be applied, you will be given an opportunity to appeal within 10 working days after formal notification.

The appeal should be made in writing to the Department of Agriculture appeals office, stating the reasons why any penalty imposed should not be applied.

If a farmer is unable to continue to comply with the commitments of a GLAS plan for reasons beyond his/her control, a case may be made under force majeure (such as disease outbreak, natural disaster), and the respective payments shall be proportionately withdrawn for the relevant years.

Getting back to the GLAS specifications, it is important to note that GLAS participants that are approved for a nitrate derogation in any year of the GLAS contract are ineligible for both low-input permanent pasture and traditional hay-meadow payments, and there will be a clawback of any payments made to date.

GLAS farmers with commonage included in their contracts must follow the guidelines of the commonage management plan or commonage farm plan as completed by the appointed commonage advisor.

The commonage guidelines will include minimum and maximum stocking rates for each shareholder, and the whole commonage, burning, dumping and so on.

If you have designated chough land and this same land is ineligible land under the Basic Payment Scheme, this land will them be considered ineligible for chough payment under GLAS. This is because chough requires a tightly grazed short sward throughout the year on the areas within the GLAS contract

A sheep fence approved under the TAMS2 sheep-fencing scheme cannot be put along the same location, where a GLAS action that has a fencing component is located.

These GLAS actions includes planting of new hedgerow, coppicing, laying, riparian margins, traditional orchards, planting a grove of native trees and fencing off watercourse from bovines.

Due to exceptional circumstances, such as death of approved individual farmer, the GLAS contract will need to be transferred or terminated.

Any proposed changes to the herd number or, if the Herd number transferee wishes to continue with the GLAS contract, they must get prior approval from the GLAS section in the Department of Agriculture.

The advice is to review your GLAS plan to ensure you are in compliance; complete annual records and discuss any GLAS issues you might have with your advisor.

Kerryman