RPA provide Specialist Phone Help for Commoners

Julia Aglionby, Executive Director of the Foundation for Common Land said;
“From Monday 6th February 2017 commoners will be put directly through to
the RPA Commons Team when they ring the RPA Helpline. This is a most
welcome development as it has been frustrating for commoners not to be able
to speak to someone who understands their claim.” Commoners should call
the normal helpline number, 0300 0200 301, and state clearly that they wish
to be transferred to the Commons Team.
As of 2nd February RPA stated they have made payments on 85.2% of 2016
BPS claims that include common land. This leaves approximately 550
commoners still to receive a payment for 2016. Many of these claimants also
have issues unrelated to the common land that need to be resolved.
Reviewing of 2015 claims and top ups where required also continues.
A particular challenge with BPS on commons has been the inability to view
maps. The Foundation for Common Land continues to press Defra and the
RPA to improve the functionality of their systems so the maps are viewable on
line and full breakdowns of claims provided. The RPA has informed us they
have completed the remapping exercise and will be updating the data on
gov.uk to reflect the revised eligible area of each common. Once this is
available commoners will be able to estimate the individual payment they can
expect.
Commoners provide many benefits to society through their management of
common land and should be properly rewarded for this role. BPS is currently
essential to enable farmers to maintain these public benefits and we welcome
Paul Caldwell’s commitment to keep going until all 2015 and 2016 payments
have been paid in full on common land.


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