Preliminary checks will be introduced for the first time on all Single Applications this year, DAERA Minister Michelle McIlveen has announced.
Preliminary checks will alert applicants to where they have claimed a duplicate field, declared fields not on the Land Parcel Identification System, or claimed more than the Maximum Eligible Area of a field. Errors arising from preliminary checks can be corrected without penalty provided the applicant notifies DAERA of the error within the required timescale.
Minister McIlveen said: “This is the first year that the option to introduce preliminary checks is available and I want farmers in Northern Ireland to benefit from the start. I am pleased to announce that for the first time my officials will carry out preliminary checks on all applications.
“These checks will alert applicants to any possible errors, for example, claims on duplicate fields, or where a farmer has claimed more than the Maximum Eligible Area of a field. Such errors identified through preliminary checks can be corrected without penalty provided the applicant notifies DAERA of the error within the required timescale.”
The Minister added: “There is a very tight timeframe for the notification of preliminary checks to affected farmers and an equally strict deadline for farmers to respond if they want changes made without penalty.
“Letters advising farmers of preliminary checks will issue from 9th June and responses must be back with DAERA no later than 20th June. I strongly encourage farmers who receive these letters to respond to them as soon as possible.”
Ulster Farmers’ Union president, Barclay Bell, has described the move as a ‘good and sensible’ decision.
“Since the SAF deadline in May, the UFU has been in discussions with DAERA about preliminary checks. We are pleased this option will now be implemented for the first time,” said Mr Bell. The checks will address three areas - where a duplicate field has been claimed, fields declared that are not on the Land Parcel Identification System, or where more than the maximum eligible area of a field has been claimed. “These checks are now permitted under EU rules. They allow farmers to correct errors without penalties - provided they notify DAERA inside the tight time-frame allowed. We have always believed this is the right approach and pressed for this from the European Commission for some time,” he said..