Support centres set up to help farmers with BPS

The RPA has set up regional support centres to help farmers with their BPS forms.

The RPA has set up regional support centres to help farmers with their BPS forms. - Credit: Archant

Farmers in East Anglia can visit one of five support centres set up by the Rural Payments Agency (RPA) in the region to help them with their Basic Payment Scheme (BPS) 2015 application.

The RPA has now sent out nearly 68,000 pre-populated application forms for the BPS 2015, and will be sending 12,500 pre-populated application forms by post to customers known to the agency who have not registered. Some 2,800 completed applications were submitted to the RPA within the first week of the agency sending out forms to farmers and their agents.

Farmers can drop into support centres in Ipswich, Lowestoft, Norwich, Cambridge and Peterborough to hand in their application form, RLE1 form and any supporting documents.

They can also get a basic check of their forms to ensure they have included their SBI number, land data, filled in the active farmer section and signed the declaration, and can ask general questions about BPS as well as getting a submission receipt for their application form and RLE1 form.

Farmers who still require help to register on the Rural Payments system, together with agents who need to make five or more claims, need to make an appointment at a support centre by calling the Rural Payments helpline on 03000 200 301.

Customer director Justin Chamberlain said arange of support was available to help farmers with their Basic Payment Scheme application and this includes the creation of support centres across the country.

“No farmer should be more than 30 miles from a support centre and we also have mobile support units to bring the service to areas where it is needed most,” he said.

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“I would advise farmers to get their claim started as early possible so that they have plenty of time to access any support they may need.”

The support centre in Ipswich is based at the Environment Agency office in Iceni House, Cobham Road, and is open Tuesdays and Wednesdays from 9am to 5pm.

In Lowestoft, the support centre is based at the CEFAS office in Pakefield Road, and is open Tuesdays and Wednesdays, from 9am to 5pm.