A farmer won their appeal over the Department’s decision to exclude them from Green Low Carbon Agri-Environmental Scheme (GLAS) due to a delay in communication between different sections of the Department, the agriculture appeals office annual report shows.
The farmer, who was a first time Basic Payment Scheme applicant, declared commonage land on his application form in May 2016. However, the commonage tab did not appear for him to include in his online GLAS application. This meant that under the selection criteria for the scheme, the farmer was classed as a tier three applicant and did not score high enough to be allowed into the scheme.
A relative of the farmer declared the commonage in 2015 for the Basic Payment Scheme (BPS) but passed away later that year. The farmer applied for the BPS for the first time in 2016, and as part of this they included two parcels of commonage; 2.81ha and 14.68ha.
The Department sent two letters to the farmer in December 2016 seeking proof of entitlement to claim these commonage parcels, advising that otherwise the Department would proceed with processing his BPS application without it. Documentation on the commonage was submitted in January 2017. The Department accepted this and the farmer’s BPS payment issued soon after.
However the Appeals Officer found the GLAS section of the Department did not accept this for GLAS purposes as the closing date for applications to GLAS was 15 December 2016.
However, the farmer submitted supporting documentation to the Department on his right to include commonage land for the 2016 BPS on 2 November 2016, which was before the GLAS 3 application closing date.
Therefore the appeals officer declared that the farmer should have priority access to GLAS as he had commonage area that should have been available to him when he was making his GLAS application.
GLAS issues lead the way for farmer appeals