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British farmers yet to receive Rural Land Registry maps

UK: The Rural Payments Agency (RPA) has admitted that over 6,000 farmers in England are still to receive completed Rural Land Registry maps. The agency’s Chief Operating Officer, Steve Pearce admitted that it was taking ‘significantly longer’ than anticipated to complete the remapping process.

When the agency executives appeared before the National Farmers Union (NFU) council towards the end of 2009, they confidently predicted all corrected maps would have been returned by the end of February. Yet, addressing the council, Pearce admitted 4,500 confirmatory maps were still to be returned to farmers. A further 1,200 farmers who had been subject to remote sensing checks are still to receive their maps, in addition to 500 farmers who had received physical checks.

The agency is planning to send the outstanding maps to farmers by May 1 and is due to send out a ‘big chunk’ of maps this week. NFU council members expressed anger at the situation. John Charles-Jones, from Nottingham, described the mapping process as a ‘sheer fiasco’ and accused the RPA of being ‘incompetent, unco-ordinated muppets’.

“It is just an absolute unbelievable mess you have got yourself in. Farmers are absolutely terrified of getting their SPS claims wrong,” he said. Lincolnshire council member, Jonathan Brant, said some farmers were being driven towards suicide because of the fiasco. “It is not just about profit and loss. It is a matter of life and death in some cases,” he said.

The RPA’s Simon Lunnis also admitted that 33,000 SPS 2010 application forms would have data missing in one or two columns.

Source: Farmers Guardian