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The Hill Farm Allowance Regulations 2006

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Title, commencement and application

1.  These Regulations may be cited as the Hill Farm Allowance Regulations 2006, come into force on 1st March 2006, and apply only in relation to holdings situated wholly or partly in England.

Interpretation

2.—(1) In these Regulations—

“agriculture” includes horticulture, fruit growing, seed growing, dairy farming and livestock breeding and keeping, the use of land as grazing land, meadow land, osier land, market gardens and nursery grounds, and the use of land for woodlands where that use is ancillary to the use of land for other agricultural purposes;

“breeding cow” means a suckler cow or a heifer;

“claimant” means any person who has made a claim for hill farm allowance and “claim” shall be construed accordingly;

“claimant’s less favoured area land” means land entered in the claimant’s single payment scheme application which is within a less favoured area;

“claimed forage area” means land in respect of which a claimant has claimed hill farm allowance or a related less favoured area allowance in a single payment scheme application;

“Commission Regulation 796/2004” means Commission Regulation (EC) No. 796/2004 laying down detailed rules for the implementation of cross-compliance, modulation and the integrated administration and control system provided for in Council Regulation 1782/2003(1);

“Commission Regulation 1973/2004” means Commission Regulation (EC) No. 1973/2004 laying down detailed rules for the application of Council Regulation 1782/2003 as regards the support schemes provided for in Titles IV and IVa of that Regulation and the use of land set aside for the production of raw materials(2);

“common land” means any land which is registered as common land with grazing rights under the Commons Registration Act 1965(3);

“compensatory allowance” means any payment made under these Regulations, the Hill Farm Allowance Regulations 2005(4), the Hill Farm Allowance Regulations 2004(5), the Hill Farm Allowance Regulations 2003(6), the Hill Farm Allowance Regulations 2002(7), the Hill Farm Allowance Regulations 2001(8), the Hill Livestock (Compensatory Allowances) Regulations 1999(9), the Hill Livestock (Compensatory Allowances) Regulations 1996(10) or the Hill Livestock (Compensatory Allowances) Regulations 1994(11);

“Council Regulation 1257/1999” means Council Regulation (EC) No. 1257/1999 on support for rural development from the European Agricultural Guidance and Guarantee Fund (EAGGF) and amending and repealing certain Regulations(12);

“Council Regulation 1782/2003” means Council Regulation (EC) No. 1782/2003 establishing common rules for direct support schemes under the common agricultural policy and establishing certain support schemes for farmers and amending certain regulations(13);

“disadvantaged land” (except in the expression “severely disadvantaged land”) means any area of land shown coloured blue on the England LFA maps;

“eligible forage area” means such part of the qualifying forage area as lies within a less favoured area;

“the England LFA maps” means the three volumes of maps numbered 1 to 3, each volume being marked “Volume of maps of less-favoured farming areas in England”, dated 20th May 1991, signed and sealed by the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food and deposited at the offices of the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs at Nobel House, 17 Smith Square, London SW1P 3JR;

“ewe” means a female sheep which is at least one year old on 1st January 2006, or has lambed by that date;

“forage area” has the same meaning as in Article 131(2)(b) of Council Regulation 1782/2003;

“heifer” means a female bovine animal aged 8 months or over which has not yet calved;

“hill farm allowance” means the compensatory allowance payable in accordance with these Regulations and with Chapter V of Title II of Council Regulation 1257/1999;

“holding” has the same meaning as in Article 2(b) of Council Regulation 1782/2003;

“individual reference quantity of milk” has the same meaning as in Article 117(2) of Commission Regulation 1973/2004;

“less favoured area” means any area of land shown coloured blue or pink on the England LFA maps;

“livestock unit” means a unit of measurement of livestock numbers, and each of the following constitutes a single livestock unit—

(a)

one suckler cow;

(b)

one heifer aged 24 months or over;

(c)

1.67 heifers under the age of 24 months; and

(d)

6.67 ewes;

“moorland” means all the land which is shown as a less favoured area on the England LFA maps and which is also shown coloured pink in the three volumes of maps entitled “Moorland Map of England 1992” each volume being marked with the number of the volume, dated 20th February 2001, signed on behalf of the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food and deposited at the offices of the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs at Nobel House, 17 Smith Square, London SW1P 3JR;

“notional livestock density” means the number of livestock units per hectare of the claimant’s eligible forage area, calculated in accordance with Schedule 1;

“other competent authority” means the Scottish Ministers, the National Assembly for Wales or, in Northern Ireland, the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development;

“permanent pasture” means non-rotational land used for grass production (sown or natural) on a permanent basis (five years or longer) excluding land set aside pursuant to Article 6 of Council Regulation (EC) No. 1251/1999(14) and Article 54 of Council Regulation 1782/2003;

“qualifying forage area” means the relevant forage area or, in relation to a claimant to whom regulation 8 applies, such part of the relevant forage area as results from the deductions made to the relevant forage area in accordance with that regulation;

“related less favoured area” means, in relation to a claimant, all that claimed forage area in respect of which the Secretary of State has been advised by any other competent authority that the claimant is eligible for a related less favoured area allowance;

“related less favoured area allowance” means a compensatory allowance payable in relation to land situated in Northern Ireland, Scotland or Wales in accordance with Chapter V of Title II of Council Regulation 1257/1999;

“relevant animals” means, in relation to a claimant, the breeding cows and ewes determined as relevant animals in accordance with Schedule 5;

“relevant forage area” means any claimed forage area situated in England;

“severely disadvantaged land” means any area of land shown coloured pink on the England LFA maps;

“single payment scheme” means the support scheme established under Title III of Council Regulation 1782/2003;

“single payment scheme application” means an application to the single payment scheme submitted in 2005 in accordance with Article 34 of Council Regulation 1782/2003 and Title II of Part II of Commission Regulation 796/2004;

“suckler cow” has the same meaning as in Article 122(d) of Council Regulation 1782/2003.

(2) Any reference in these Regulations to a Community instrument is a reference to that instrument as amended on the date on which these Regulations are made.

(3) A reference in these Regulations to anything done in writing or produced in written form includes a reference to an electronic communication which has been recorded and is capable of being subsequently reproduced.

Payment of hill farm allowance

3.—(1) The Secretary of State shall, subject to regulation 5, pay hill farm allowance in respect of 2006 to any claimant who is eligible under regulation 4.

(2) Hill farm allowance is payable to a claimant in respect of eligible forage area not exceeding 700 hectares.

Eligibility for hill farm allowance

4.—(1) Subject to Article 14(2) (third indent) and Article 14(3) of Council Regulation 1257/1999 a claimant is eligible for hill farm allowance provided—

(a)his claim is made in a single payment scheme application;

(b)the claimed forage area entered in that single payment scheme application—

(i)complies with one of the conditions specified in paragraph (2),

(ii)was available to be grazed or have a forage crop taken from it for a continuous period of seven months, starting on any date between 1st January 2005 and 31st March 2005 inclusive, and

(iii)during that seven month period, was available to the claimant to be grazed or have a forage crop taken from it for a period, or periods in total, of not less than four months; and

(c)subject to paragraph (3), the notional livestock density is not less than 0.15.

(2) The conditions referred to in paragraph (1)(b)(i) are—

(a)the claimed forage area lying within a less favoured area is at least ten hectares; and

(b)where the claimed forage area lying within a less favoured area is at least one hectare but is less than ten hectares, the total claimed forage area includes land situated in a related less favoured area.

(3) The Secretary of State may determine that a notional livestock density of less than 0.15 is sufficient for the purposes of paragraph (1) if she is reasonably satisfied that it is appropriate to do so in all the circumstances of the case, including any obligation of the claimant as to the number of animals that may be kept on the land comprising the eligible forage area.

(4) In order to enable the Secretary of State to consider whether to exercise her discretion under paragraph (3), the claimant shall provide the Secretary of State with such information as she reasonably requires.

Condition as to continued use of land for the purposes of agriculture

5.  Hill farm allowance shall not be paid to a claimant unless—

(a)he gave an undertaking in writing, in such form as the Secretary of State reasonably required, that he would, for a period of five years from the date of the first payment to him of a compensatory allowance, continue to use for the purposes of agriculture at least three hectares of land which is situated either in a less favoured area or in a related less favoured area; and

(b)he is not in breach of that undertaking at the date of payment.

Release from undertaking

6.  A claimant is not in breach of the undertaking referred to in regulation 5—

(a)if he is prevented from continuing to discharge that undertaking by reason of any material circumstance beyond his control; or

(b)if he ceases to farm, but at least three hectares of the land in respect of which the undertaking was given continue to be used for the purposes of agriculture.

Amount of payment

7.—(1) Subject to paragraphs (2) and (3) and regulation 8, payment of hill farm allowance in respect of the descriptions of land specified in column 1 of Schedule 2 shall be made—

(a)in relation to the first 350 hectares of eligible forage area in respect of which the claim is made, at the rates specified in column 2 of Schedule 2;

(b)in relation to the next 350 hectares of eligible forage area in respect of which the claim is made, at one half of the rates specified in column 2 of Schedule 2.

(2) The amount of the payment shall be increased by 10 per cent if the claimant satisfies any one of the following criteria, and by 20 per cent if he satisfies any two or more such criteria—

(a)the claimant declared, in his single payment scheme application, both breeding cows and ewes for hill farm allowance for 2006, and at least 15 per cent of the total number, expressed in livestock units, of his relevant animals are breeding cows;

(b)at least one hectare, or 5% (whichever is the smaller), of the claimant’s less favoured area land is planted with arable crops in respect of which the claimant is not receiving any other financial support, and was not converted from permanent pasture after 1998;

(c)at least one hectare, or 5% (whichever is the smaller), of the claimant’s less favoured area land is planted with woodland in respect of which the claimant is not receiving any other financial support, and was not converted from permanent pasture after 1998.

(3) If the claimant submitted or amended his single payment scheme application after 16th May 2005, the amount of the payment shall be reduced in accordance with Article 21 of Commission Regulation 796/2004 as if that Article applied in relation to hill farm allowance.

(4) In sub-paragraphs (b) and (c) of paragraph (2), “other financial support” does not include financial support from the single payment scheme.

Deductions from relevant forage area

8.  In relation to any claimant who has an individual reference quantity of milk available to him, the deductions specified in Schedule 3 apply to the relevant forage area for the purposes of determining the qualifying forage area.

Holdings situated partly outside England

9.  The provisions of Schedule 4 apply in relation to holdings situated partly outside England.

Amendment of the England Rural Development Programme (Enforcement) Regulations 2000

10.  In Part II of the Schedule to the England Rural Development Programme (Enforcement) Regulations 2000(15), at the end, add “The Hill Farm Allowance Regulations 2006”.

Jim Knight

Parliamentary Under Secretary of State

Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

1st February 2006

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