FWAG South East Farm Advice

Compliance Checks

FWAG South East has many years’ experience dealing with compliance issues

and can advise farmers and landowners accordingly.

Cross Compliance

Probably the most prevalent of the regulations surrounding farming, it is linked to a farmer’s eligibility to receive direct BPS (Basic Payment Scheme) payments. Introduced in 2005 as part of the CAP, the aim is (was) to encourage farmers to comply with European Union Standards for public, plant, and animal health and welfare.

With the advent of Brexit, the countries of the United Kingdom are now able to develop their own domestic schemes and compliance. However, it is important to note that Environmental Schemes (ELS, HLS, CS) that commenced before 1 Jan 2021 are still subject to the European rules, therefore it is important to keep up to date with Cross Compliance until the schemes work themselves through and ELMS is fully in place in 2024.

To receive EU income support, farmers must respect a set of basic rules.  Rules farmers are expected to comply with include:

  • statutory management requirements, (SMR’s*), these apply to all farmers whether they receive support under the common agricultural policy (CAP).
  • good agricultural and environmental conditions, (GAEC’s) these apply only to farmers receiving support under the CAP.

Farmers violating EU law on environmental, public, and animal health, animal welfare or land management will have their EU support reduced and may face other penalties.

*All farmers, whether receiving CAP support or not, must respect statutory management requirements (SMR).

SMR’s – Statutory Management Requirements

There are 13 SMR’s which include EU rules on public, animal and plant health; animal welfare; and the environment. This covers general food law, identification and registration of farm animals, plant protection products, nitrates, wild birds and wild flora, fauna, and habitats.


GAEC’s – Good Agricultural and Environmental Conditions

In addition to the statutory management requirements, farmers receiving CAP support must respect EU standards on good agricultural and environmental condition of land (GAEC).

These standards are designed to:

  • prevent soil erosion by defining minimum soil cover and minimum land management practices;
  • maintain soil organic matter and soil structure;
  • maintain permanent grassland;
  • protect biodiversity and ensure the retention of landscape features for example, through a ban on cutting hedges and trees during the bird breeding and rearing season;
  • protect and manage water through the establishment of buffer strips along water courses, authorisation on water for irrigation and protection of ground water from pollution.

Cross Compliance is delivered by the RPA (Rural Payments Agency), for full details a link to the England 2021 Guide is available here.



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