Scottish BPS Entitlements User Guide

What is needed to claim BPS payments?

To be eligible to claim payment under the Basic Payment Scheme a Scottish claimant must:

  • Qualify as an “Active Farmer” (this requirement has been somewhat relaxed by removing the principle of the negative list, see below);
  • Have at least 3ha of eligible agricultural land, which will belong to one of three categories (Region 1, 2 or 3 – see below);
  • Hold enough entitlements to match the eligible land they wish to claim on, which must be of the corresponding Region;
  • Be carrying out ‘agricultural activity’ on the land they wish to claim on (the definition of this varies between Region 1 and Regions 2 and 3 – see below);
  • Have the land at their disposal on the 15thof May in the year they wish to make a claim (or the next working day if this is a weekend);
  • Submit a Single Application Form (SAF) by the 15thof May deadline (or the next working day if this is a weekend);

You no longer need to:

  • Meet all Cross Compliance rules; from 2020 the crop diversification rule no longer applies. EFA and permanent grassland rules will still apply. At least 5% equivalent area of ecological focus area must be maintained if you have more than 15 ha of arable land.

The “Greening” element of the BPS payment (approx. 30% of the total), will continue to be paid if EFA and grassland rules are followed.

What payment can you expect?

Since 2019, all BPS entitlements in each region are paid the same flat rate. Before 2019, each payment made on each entitlement was composed of an element of the historic value and an element of the flat rate value, the proportion of the flat rate payment has gradually increased until it now makes up the whole payment.

The 2024 payment rates, including the Greening element, for each Region are expected to be:

  • Region 1: €250.93/ha
  • Region 2: €50.61/ha
  • Region 3: €15.36/ha

Buying and selling entitlements and the National Reserve

All transfer applications are on paper PF23 forms and must be signed by both parties and submitted to the appropriate Regional Office by the 2nd April each year in order for the Transferee to be able to claim on those entitlements in that scheme year.

In order to claim BPS payments, a potential claimant must first acquire the appropriate entitlements for the land they wish to claim upon. Those that meet the criteria for the New Entrant and Young Farmer schemes (see below) are eligible to receive entitlements from the National Reserve. Those that do not meet the requirements for allocation of entitlements under these schemes must purchase entitlements privately. For more information on the entitlement trading market and for current prices and availability, please contact Alasdair Squires (email).

Receiving entitlements from the National Reserve

“New farmers” must be at least 18 years of age, must be in ‘control’ (have more than 50% of the shares and votes) of the farm business, their business must have started ‘agricultural activity’ in 2013 or later and they must not have carried out any farming in the previous 5 years (to when they started the agricultural activity) in their own right.

“New farmers” must make their first successful BPS application within 2 years of the calendar year in which the business started farming.

“Young farmers” must be between the age of 18 and 40, must be in ‘control’ of the farm business and must have set up or taken ‘control’ of the business for the first time less than 5 years before the scheme year in which they first applied for BPS payments.

In order to prove one’s status as a ‘new’ or ‘young’ farmer evidence of the above must be received by the RPID no later than the 15th of May.

How do you buy entitlements?

If you are looking to buy Scottish entitlements please see our Buyer’s Guide here, and a list of some available entitlements here.

How do you sell entitlements?

If you are looking to sell Scottish entitlements please see our Seller’s Guide here, and a list of some wanted entitlements here.

Qualifying as an “Active Farmer”

The Scottish Government have now confirmed that the ‘Negative List’ test is to no longer form a part of the BPS regulations from 2018. This means that those who were previously excluded from claiming BPS payments may now be eligible, provided they satisfy the remaining criteria.

To qualify as an “active farmer”, claimants must meet the legal definition of a “farmer”, and must be carrying out an agricultural activity on the land they wish to claim upon.

Payment Regions and agricultural activity

All land in Scotland is classified as belonging to one of three Regions:

  • Region 1 (better quality agricultural land);
  • Region 2 (rough grazing);
  • Region 3 (rough grazing in LFA Grazing Category A).

To qualify as eligible, Region 1 land must be used for an agricultural activity such as the growing of agricultural products, rearing and breeding animals and harvesting crops. Where land is not used for agricultural production, it must be actively maintained in a state suitable for grazing or cultivation. This might include, among other things, maintaining stock-proof fencing on pasture land or taking action to control injurious weeds.

Farmers claiming BPS payments on land in Regions 2 and 3 must meet minimum stocking guidelines. In normal circumstance this is a stocking rate of 0.05 livestock units per hectare on all hectares for at least 183 days in each scheme year, which must be justified by evidence. Alternatively, claimants can carry out an annual Environmental Assessment (EA) across the holding.

BPS Transition

Scotland diverges the most from other regions. They can potentially retain a direct payment system after the rest of the UK moves to new schemes.  The Agriculture (Retained EU Law and Data) (Scotland) Act 2020 creates powers that enable Scottish Ministers to ensure the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) can continue in Scotland beyond this year. They also retain the ability to make improvements to the scheme following Brexit.

  • Farm support is expected to largely remain the same in Scotland until at least 2024.
  • SGRPID have confirmed there will be no ‘three crop rule’ as part of the Greening Payment
  • Rules for permanent grassland and ecological focus areas under cross compliance must still be followed.

Still have some questions or queries?

Email or ring us on 01392 823935.





Alasdair Squires

Alasdair Squires

01392 823935