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Cross Compliance Penalties

Farmers applying for a payment from the Agricultural Development Scheme will need to comply with two sets of Standards in order to qualify for their payment. There are 14 Statutory Management Requirements ('SMRs') plus 18 Standards of Good Agricultural and Environmental Condition ('GAECs'). The former largely relate to existing legislation which all farmers should be complying with already and the latter define good management and best practice which many farmers will be following.

Farms will be inspected to ensure that applicants to the Agricultural Development Scheme are meeting cross compliance standards.

Penalties will be applied where this is found not to be the case and these will be deducted from the second or final instalment of a Agricultural Development Scheme payment.

Farmers can appeal against the imposition of penalties. See the appeals process page for further details.

01 April 2017 Update: In respect of breaches concerning animal health issues: these may be of a fixed nature and set at a fixed fee.

Penalty rates

Where a penalty is applied, the relevant amount will be deducted from the amount due to the applicant in the Scheme year in which the non-compliance was found.

Penalty matrix (negligent)

1st breach
1st rep.2nd rep.3rd rep.4th rep.
Negligent On-farm Minimum Rectifiable (minor) WL 1% 3% 9% 15%
Rectifiable 1% 3% 9% 15% 81%
Medium Rectifiable
Permanent 3% 9% 15% 81% 100%
High Rectifiable
Very High Rectifiable 5% 15% 45% 100% 100%
Off-farm Minimum Rectifiable 1% 3% 9% 15% 81%
Permanent 3% 9% 15% 81% 100%
Medium Rectifiable
Permanent 5% 15% 45% 100% 100%
High Rectifiable 3% 9% 15% 81% 100%
Permanent 5% 15% 45% 100% 100%
Very High Rectifiable
  1. Penalties which have been capped at 15% are shown in bold
  2. WL = warning letter

Whilst the penalty matrix tables within each GAEC describe many of the anticipated problems, they cannot cover every possible scenario. Any breaches not covered in the guidance will be considered as and when they arise. Breaches of the SMRs will be assessed when the breach occurs and the penalty determined by reference to the penalty matrix.

IntentExtentSeverityPermanencePenalty for 1st breachAll subsequent repetitions
Intentional On-farm Minimum Rectifiable 15% 100%
Permanent 20%
Medium Rectifiable
Permanent 30%
High Rectifiable
Permanent 50 to 100%
Very high Rectifiable
Off-farm Minimum Rectifiable 30%
Permanent 40%
Medium Rectifiable
Permanent 60%
High Rectifiable
Permanent 100%
Very high Rectifiable

SMR 9 – Food & Feed Legislation

The penalty matrix for SMR 9, in place since March 2014 (notified to all CCS applicants 25/4/14).

Description of BreachExtentSeverityPermanence
No records kept or records incomplete On-farm Medium: missing information or errors that can be rectified and a full assessment is possible. Rectifiable
High: partial records / incomplete records. Only sufficient information to allow a partial assessment.

Very high: no records

Permanent – if there are no records or if records cannot be corrected.

Landscape, litter, waste and scrap severity calculator

The interpretation of Standard 13 Landscape, litter, waste and scrap breaches has always involved a degree of pragmatism, as the department recognises that the generation of 'waste' is an inevitable consequence of agricultural activity. Recent inspections have revealed instances where non-farm generated waste was being stored/tipped on farms. It was never the intention of the scheme to sanction the storage of non-farm generated waste on claimants' holdings.

The table below used by DEFA to calculate the severity of a breach for this standard has therefore been altered to take account of the disposal of non-farm waste on farms:

Severity optionWaste plastic, wood, building materials etc as by-products of agricultural activityImported waste materials, plastic, wood, building materials etcRedundant vehicles and farm machineryWaste pesticide or medicinal containers
    Number of land parcels affected    
  A B      
Non negligent 1 1* N/A 1 N/A
Minimum 2 2* N/A 2 N/A
Medium 3-4 3-4 1** 3 N/A
High 5 5 2 4 Farm steading
Very high 6+ 6+ 3+ 5+ 1 Field/pond

A: Area affected limited to land parcel boundaries

B: Main body of field parcel affected

* If the field contains a significant amount of scrap and animals have access to it, a medium severity breach would be deemed to have taken place.

** Intentional (if rectifiable this would equate to a 20% payment deduction)

From the 2011 scheme year onwards, if non-farm generated waste is found on any part of the agricultural unit a medium severity breach will be deemed to have occurred. If this breach is rectifiable a deduction of 20% from the claimants CCS payment will be made; if the breach were to be deemed permanent then a deduction of 30% will be made. If 2 instances of this breach were to be found then the deductions would be greater, as per chapter 6, page 38 of the Farmers' Handbook.

The interpretation of severity has also been altered to reflect the risk of injury posed to livestock by the presence of waste material in fields to which they have access. Therefore there will be situations where the presence of waste/scrap in only one field will lead to the imposition of a medium severity breach deduction.

All other penalties will be assessed in terms of their intent, extent, severity, permanence and repetition. Details of the meaning of these terms and the matrices used to calculate penalties can be downloaded on this page.

Farmers who feel that penalties have been incorrectly applied can appeal against the decision.

The Department of Environment, Food and Agriculture is committed to ensuring that its services are accessible to all. If you require these documents in an alternative format and / or language please contact us to discuss your needs.

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