Another change for next year: new requirement to submit an annual claim form for payment of UELS/HLS money

We have been told by Natural England that from next year (2015), existing Environmental Stewardship (ES) agreement holders will be required to submit a claim form by 15 May each year, in order to receive their scheduled ES payments. This new claim form is required because the EU rules that apply to current ES agreements are changing, as part of the new Rural Development Programme which starts next year.

The deadline for submission is the same as the Basic Payment Scheme deadline (15 May) and claims received after this will be subject to late claim penalties. The details around what information agreement holders will need to provide on the claim form are currently being established.

Natural England expects to send out claim forms and supporting information to all ES agreement holders in February/March 2015 and their Customer Services will make every effort to ensure they are all received back by the deadline.

Natural England have alerted stakeholders at a national level to this change. We thought it worth making our members aware. We plan to share more information on this as the detail from Natural England becomes clear.