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Farmer hits out at RPW for ‘pressuring’ businesses and disproportionate penalties

A farmer has hit out at Rural Payments Wales (RPW) for putting undue pressure on businesses and issuing disproportionate penalties.


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Farmer hits out at RPW for ‘pressuring’ businesses and disproportionate penalties

Geraint Davies, an upland farmer from Gwynedd, made the complaint after a series of alleged Glastir breaches left him facing the possibility of losing his entire payment.

 

The breaches include a footpath gate being left open on the day of an inspection and having a hardstanding area incorrectly marked as habitat.

 

He said: “We are in the middle of putting in an appeal for these breaches and they are ridiculous things. Somebody has left a gate open, there is nothing we can do about that.

 

“On this alone, we are going to be fined 8 per cent every year we have been in the scheme, going back to 2014. It is massively disproportionate.”

 

Mr Davies is also concerned about being unable to fill in this year’s Single Application Form (SAF) because he has not yet been given new maps from a whole farm inspection which took place last August.

 

“The new mapping for Glastir is wrong compared to my SAF maps,” he said.


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“We know the field sizes have been changed slightly, so that is going to put us in breach of penalty on our SAF, but we have not got any maps to be able to agree to them.”

 

Rural Affairs Minister Lesley Griffiths has asked RPW officials to help Mr Davies with his claim, but he has not yet heard from them.

 

“She wants to help, but she has a team behind her which is not very forthcoming with the truth about RPW,” he said.

 

“We know as farmers who deal with RPW and Glastir it is an absolute mess.”

 

Mr Davies suggested RPW was under-resourced, and frequently pressured farmers to sign Glastir contracts quickly after taking months to send them out.

“They need more staff who understand the pressure they are putting on farming businesses,” he said.

 

“They want us to participate in these things, and we are keen on being an environmentally-friendly farm, but the way this year has gone really pushes us to ask is it worth the hassle in the future?”

 

A Welsh Government spokesman said RPW performed better than England and Scotland on BPS payments, but all claims are subject to a series of validation checks and scheme breaches may result in penalties.

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