Farm mapping updates could cost farmers ‘tens of thousands’

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Changes to Scotland’s rural payment mapping system must not run the risk of leaving farmers out of pocket, according to a Scottish Conservative MSP.

The new Land Parcel Identification System (LPIS) was introduced to speed up the collection of data used for CAP payments last year.

In parliamentary questions to the SNP’s rural economy secretary, Peter Chapman found some elements of LPIS will not be fully functional until the summer.

However, the two-month window for filling in the Single Application Form for CAP ends on May 15.

Accordingly, the North East region MSP has urged farmers who have completed their Single Application Form in paper format to check their maps against those held by the Rural Payments and Services division of the Scottish Government.

And he has urged Fergus Ewing to ensure maps should not change once forms are in.

Mr Chapman said: ‘The majority of farms now try to do everything online but there are still lots of paper applicants.

‘A tiny mistake or inconsistency on the Single Application Form can cost a farmer tens of thousands of pounds in fines.

‘That’s often not their fault.

‘Land use can change dramatically due to weather and I’ve heard concerns from some constituents that they worry about their declared information matching up with LPIS as it continues to update.

‘That should have been complete by now, considering the system was launched in 2018.

‘I would invite Mr Ewing to guarantee that no farmer will receive a fine over map mismatches caused by LPIS.’