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RPA Tighten up Cross Compliance Breach Fines, January 2009
The Potential Effects on Roundup Users
 
The following briefing has been compiled using the RPA website and glyphosate label information.
 
Background

Recently the Rural Payments Agency announced that the standard reduction for a first time breach of cross compliance standards will be 3% for SPS 2009 (including direct payments for Area Payments for Nuts, Protein Crop Premium and Aid for Energy Crops) and for Pillar 2 schemes such as Environmental Stewardship schemes.
 
When cross compliance was introduced in 2005 a key requirement of the legislation was to inspect against a set of specific standards. Where farmers were found to be in breach of the requirements, their payment was to be reduced. Until now RPA has implemented a ‘light touch’ approach and approved a reduction matrix based on issuing warning letters for the majority of first time breaches, particularly for cattle inspections.
 
However recent EU audits have deemed RPA to have been too lenient. RPA has been advised that disallowance fines will be imposed if we do not implement the regulations correctly.
 
For all 2009 SPS inspections RPA will be issuing 3% reductions for the majority of cross compliance breaches found, though this can be increased or reduced depending on the severity of the breach. The RPA inspectors will carry out random spot checks on a minimum of 1% of all farmers and at least 1% of farmers entering into new rural development schemes since 2007.
 
Although the majority breaches of Cross Compliance in 2006 and 2007 in numerical terms were from animal identification and movement breaches, there are three significant areas relating to pesticide use, SMR9 and GAEC 11 and 12. Breaches are categorised into minor, medium or severe and as either negligent or intentional and the fines imposed vary from a warning letter for negligent breaches with no effect off the farm to intentional breaches with a high severity off the farm at 100%.

RPA Cross Compliance Breach Statistics From Previous Years
 
 
Number of Failures
Warning Letters (WL)
1% of SPS Payment Deducted
2% of SPS Payment Deducted
3% of SPS Payment Deducted
2006 SMR9
23
4
12
 
7
2006 GAEC11
15
10
4
 
1
2006 GAEC12
4
 
3
 
1
2007 SMR9
16
 
11
5
 
2007 GAEC11
10
 
9
 
1
2007 GAEC12
3
1
2
 
 

Breaches of SMR9

It can be seen from the 2009 Verifiable standards table below that breaches concerning the label and approval of pesticides are likely to result in at least a ‘medium’ level of severity. Where this is intentional e.g use of a known non-UK product the reduction will be 30-100% and a mandatory 100% reduction for a second offence.

Even where a use could be argued as negligent such as the use of product for a non- approved use like multiple stubble applications when the label states ‘one per situation’ and the grower claims he did not realise, then the severity is still at least ‘medium’ and so will attract a 3-5% fine. Where an advisor or agronomist recommends a product outside its label approval the grower may argue his breach was negligent because he relied on the agronomist’s recommendation, but the farmer/user also has responsibilities to read the label before he uses a pesticide product under FEPA. Either way the supplier should check the product is suitable for the grower when he supplies/recommends it and the farmer should be sure he is using it legally before he applies it to avoid any unintentional breaches of SMR.

Common glyphosate label differences which could affect SMR9 compliance

Application to Stubbles Post Planting, Pre-emergence Treatment
Split applications allowed for multiple stale seedbeds Maximum use rate to allow for control of difficult perennial weeds Post plant pre-emergence allowed PPPE in tank mix with residual herbicide Cultivation intervals Grassland pre-cut
Roundup Brands Yes
Yes - 1,800 gai/ha
Yes Yes, wide range of supported mixes As low as 6 hours Yes
Other Glyphosates No for majority of products No - 1,440 gai/ha maximum rate Variable, many no Many prohibit tank mixing with other herbicides Variable but up to 7 days Variable, many no

Breaches of GAEC11

Failure to take reasonable steps to prevent the spread of notifiable injurious weeds (Common Ragwort, Spear Thistle, Creeping (or Field) Thistle, Broad-leaved Dock and Curled Dock) will result in at least a ‘medium’ severity breach and of invasive weeds (Rhododendron, Japanese Knotweed, Giant Hogweed and Himalayan Balsam), will always be a ‘high’ severity breach. Fines will therefore be at least 3-5% of the SFP in the case of negligence and 30-100% for intentional breaches.
 
Breaches of GAEC12

For breaches of establishing and maintaining a green cover on non-cropped land the severity could be minor where it applied to <3ha of land and result in only a warning letter but if >5 ha is involved the severity level is medium and would attract a 3% fine if negligent and 30% fine if intentional. (See our section on the use of Roundup on Non cropped land, which details where a cover can be destroyed as part of the control of range of listed weeds or in preparation for the next crop.)
 
The following information is directly quoted from the RPA Website

New guidelines from RPA for 2009
 
Cross Compliance Failures - English Payment Reduction Matrices for 2009

Guidance for Paying Agency for fixing payment reductions and exclusions for negligent breaches
 

USE THIS MATRIX TO CALCULATE REDUCTION FOR FIRST NON-COMPLIANCE

Intent

Extent

Severity

Permanence

% Reduction

Negligent

Limited to an on-farm effect

Minor

Rectifiable

WL*

Rectifiable

1%**

Minimum

Rectifiable

1%

Permanent

3%

Medium

Rectifiable

Permanent

5%

High

Rectifiable

Permanent

Not limited to an on-farm effect

Minimum

Rectifiable

1%

Permanent

3%

Medium

Rectifiable

Permanent

5%

High

Rectifiable

Permanent

 
Cross Compliance Failures - English Payment Reduction Matrix for 2009

Guidance for Paying Agency for fixing payment reductions and exclusions for Intentional breaches

Intent

Extent

Severity

Permanence

Reduction for 1st Breach

Reduction for 1st Repetition

Intentional

On-Farm Effect

Minor

Rectifiable

15%

100%

Permanent

20%

Minimum

Rectifiable

Permanent

30%

Medium

Rectifiable

Permanent

50-100%

High

Rectifiable

Permanent

Off-Farm Effect

Minor

Rectifiable

30%

Permanent

40%

Minimum

Rectifiable

Permanent

60%

Medium

Rectifiable

Permanent

100%

High

Rectifiable

Permanent


Restrictions on the use of Plant Protection Products - PPPs (SMR9)

The aim of these requirements is to ensure that the plant protection products (PPPs) are used correctly and to minimise their risk to humans, animals and the environment.  They apply to you if you use these products on your land.
 
A1 You must not use any PPP unless it has been approved under relevant legislation

Description of breach

Extent

Severity

Permanence

The farmer has used an unapproved product (eg an older product that is no longer approved, in imported product that is not labelled in English)
Limited to an on-farm effect
 
Not limited to an on-farm effect: where environmental contamination or residues in foodstuffs arises from illegal use
 
Impact of the use if an illegal product will vary dependent on the product but may pose a risk to human health or the environment

High

Permanent
or
Rectifiable
B1 You must use approved PPPs in accordance with an requirement or condition which is: specified in the approval or in any extension of use: or on the labels of the product as required by the approval or the extension of use

Description of breach

Extent

Severity

Permanence

The farmer has used an approved product but has not complied with requirements or conditions of approval e.g.
  • Product not approved for intended use, crop, land or situation
  • Product not approved for intended method of application
  • Maximum dose/concentration exceeded number of permitted treatments/total dose exceeded
  • Application dates/harvest intervals not observed
  • Access restrictions for workers and/or livestock ignored

Notifications not given where appropriate (e.g. to neighbours when spraying sulphuric acid or to beekeepers when aerial spraying)

Limited to an on-farm effect
 
Not limited to an on-farm effect: where there is environmental contamination and/or damage to human health as a result of the non-compliance
Medium: where the breach is technical in nature
 
High: where the breach may have consequences for human health or the environment
Permanent or
Rectifiable
B2 You must use PPPs in accordance with the principles of good plant protection practice and, whenever possible, in accordance with the principles of integrated control, as explained in th Code of Practice for Using Plant Protection Products

Description of breach

Extent

Severity

Permanence

The farmer has used PPPs in a manner that is not in accordance with the principles of good plant protection practice as set out in the Code of Practice
Important requirements of the code include:
  • Application/use by competent operators and where appropriate holders of certificates of competence (City & Guilds/NPTC or SSTS)
  • Application equipment is maintained in good working order to ensure accurate application of pesticide e.g. current test certificate held/no obvious leaks, drips, damaged pipework
  • Application is confined to the target area, crop, land etc
  • Appropriate measures for preventing and controlling spillage and leakage e.g. during mixing and filling of equipment
  • Buffer zones, grass margins, and conservation headlands are maintained
  • Suitable PPE is available for used, where spraying is observed
  • Adequate arrangements for washing and cleaning equipment after use
  • Emergency action plan prepared and equipment available
Limited to an on-farm effect
 
Not limited to an on-farm effect: where, for example, there is contamination of water catchments
Medium: where the breach is technical in nature
 
High: where the breach may have consequences for human health or the environment
Permanent or
Rectifiable
The farmer has used PPPs in a manner that is not in accordance with the principles of integrated control, where this was possible (e.g. has not considered the need for treatment or the use of alternatives including non-chemical means of control)
 
Important requirements of the code include:
  • Use if the pesticide is carefully and properly planned, including completion of appropriate risk assessments, e.g. LERAP
Limited to an on-farm effect
 
Not limited to an on-farm effect: dependent on non-compliance

Minimum

Rectifiable

 
Control of weeds (GAEC11)
 
The aim of these requirements is to take reasonable steps to control the spread of injurious and invasive weedsthat can damage habitats and agricultural land.  They apply to you if you have invasive or injurious weeds
 
A1 You must take all reasonable steps to prevent the spread of injurious and invasive weeds on your land and onto adjoining land

Description of breach

Extent

Severity

Permanence

Reasonable steps not taken to prevent the spread of injurious weeds
Limited to an on-farm effect
 
Not limited to an on-farm effect

Medium

Rectifiable
or
Permanent
Reasonable steps not taken to prevent the spread of invasive weeds
Limited to an on-farm effect
 
Not limited to an on-farm effect

High

Rectifiable
or
Permanent
B1 You must not unreasonably fail to comply with a notice served on you

Description of breach

Extent

Severity

Permanence

Failure to resonably comply with  weed control notice(s)
Limited to an on-farm effect
 
Not limited to an on-farm effect
Medium: where there is partial compliance
 
High: where there is no compliance
Rectifiable

Agricultural Land not in agricultural production (GAEC12)

This aim of these requirements us to avoid encroachment of unwanted vegetation and to protect habitats.  They apply to all land that is no longer in production including land which has ceased to be in compulsory set-aside
 
A1 You must establish and maintain a green cover, either through seeding or natural regeneration, as soon as practicable on or after 1 March following the date when the land ceased to be in agricultural production: the requirement above does not apply in the following circumstances: you can show that you intend to return the land back to agricultural production by the following 15 May; you are managing the land to control an infestation of Blackgrass (Alopecurus myosuroides), couch (Agropyron repens), creeping thistle (Cirsium arvense) or dock (Rumex species) for the first 15 months from the date of harvest; you have spread soil dredged from watercourses or field ditches onto the land; you are taking reasonable steps to meet the GAEC requirements about the control of weeds (GAEC11)

Description of breach

Extent

Severity

Permanence

Failure to establish and maintain a green cover, either through seeding or natural regeneration, as soon as practicable on or after 1 March following the date when the land ceased to be in agricultural production
 
The farmer will not be in breach of these requirements if
 
They can show that they intend to return the land to agricultural production but the following 15 May
 
They are managing the land to control an infestation of Blackgrass (Alopecurus myosuroides), couch (Agropyron repens), creeping thistle (Cirsium arvense) or dock (Rumex species) for the first 15 months from the date of harvest
Limited to an on-farm effect
 
Not limited to an on-farm effect
Minor: where no green cover has been established or maintained on and up to and including 3ha of land
 
Minimum: where no green cover has been established or maintained on land over 3ha but not over 5ha
 
Medium: where no green cover has been established or maintained on land over 5ha
Rectifiable