The Cross Compliance rules which came into effect from 1st January 2015 are largely similar to the previous regulations under the Single Payment Scheme. However, there are some notable differences, especially relating to hedge management, GAEC 7a: Boundaries which now includes “You must not cut or trim a hedgerow between 1 March and 31 August (inclusive).
Including August in the closed period for trimming hedges will cause problems for farmers wanting to establish crops such as oilseed rape prior to the end of August.
For farmers requiring to cut hedges in August a derogation should be requested from the Rural Payments Agency in writing, with the Claimant name and address; SBI number and stating the land parcel details that will be drilled. All paper derogation requests need to be sent to Rural Payments Agency, PO Box 300, Sheffield, S95 1AA or electronic requests to firstname.lastname@example.org. The RPA will confirm the derogation is in place within 4 weeks of receiving the request. There is no immediate deadline but we advise that these letters are submitted as soon as possible to avoid the inevitable last minute rush.