Vickers and Barrass is a firm of Rural Chartered Surveyors offering a professional land agency service throughout the North East of England.
The business was established by Harry Vickers in 1973 and in September 2012 it was acquired by Darlington Farmers Auction Mart Limited to expand their range of services. TH Vickers Limited trading as Vickers and Barrass is now fronted and managed by Adam Barrass BSC (Honours in REALM, MRICS, FAAV) and Harry Vickers (BSC FRICS) who continues to work as a consultant.



The Rural Payment Agency (RPA) has received over 88,000 applications for the new Basic Payment Scheme this year. Since all the applications were submitted the RPA have been contacting anyone who they needed additional information from which were missing from their original records. They have also been adding the information from the application forms into their computer system called “Rural Payments”.

So what is next?

October 2015

In October the RPA have been working on land and entitlement transfers. They have been contacting anyone who has sent a RLE1 form to let parties know if their transfers are completed and the person they have transferred too.

November 2015

The RPA will announce the payment rates for the Basic Payment Scheme (entitlement values and the greening payment rate) and the young farmer payment. As mentioned a few weeks ago the exchange rate was set at €1 = £0.73129; all those who applied for entitlements from the National Reserve as new entrants will be contacted to tell them whether their application has been successful.

December 2015

Payments will start from the 1 December. The aim for the RPA is to make the majority of the payments by 31 December. Once the payment has been completed a Remittance Advice which will show the amount paid will be sent. If a payment is not going to be made until before the end of January 2016, the RPA will contact the individual explaining why the payment has not been made and an estimate to when it should be completed by.

January 2016

The vast majority of payments should be made by 31 January, if not the RPA will remain in contact with the individuals informed to when they should be paid. After the Remittance Advice a Claim Statement will be sent. The Claim Statement will show how the RPA have work out the payment and give details of any reductions or penalties applied.

Avoiding fraud

In the past, banks have warned that fraudsters- pretending to be from their bank’s fraud department may try and target farmers who receive subsidy payments. The same fraudulent activity could take place this year, so be aware- particularly as December approaches and payments start.


·         The bank will never ask you for your full online password


·         Your bank will not ask you to make a payment over the phone using your online account. 


Payments of ELS/HLS/OELS/UELS should be starting to reach some client’s bank accounts over the next few weeks but due to the high level of claims Natural England have to process they have until 31 December to make all payments.  In a recent press release they have said “Natural England do expect to keep their commitment to make all payments by the end of December”

If you are at the end of an ELS or UELS agreement you will not receive the normal half yearly payment. To complicate matters you will receive half of the half yearly payment and then the remainder has to be paid to you by end June 2016.  For example if your annual payment was £1,000 the half yearly payment would be £500.  By end of December you will receive £250 and a further £250 by June 2016.

Please note that once Natural England have approved your claim it can take up to 10 working days for the Rural Payments Agency to release your payment.


From the 1st October 2015 changes are being made regarding the instalment of smoke and carbon monoxide alarms in rental properties. The Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm (England) Regulations 2015 states it is the landlord’s responsibility to ensure that every floor wholly or partly lived in must be fitted with a working smoke alarm and every room which contains a solid fuel burner (open fire) must be fitted with a Carbon Monoxide Alarm.

It is the landlord’s responsibility to ensure all the alarms are working effectively throughout the tenancy and on the day a new tenancy begins; this includes the fitting, repairing and checking of all prescribed alarms.


As Harvest once again comes to an end, many arable farmers are currently deciding which crops to sow for next year. The Rural Payment Agency has published the new greening rule guidance for 2016 which explains in great details the correct measures to take when planning for the 2016 Harvest.

Please follow the link to new guidance: Basic Payment Scheme England: The greening rules 2016


With the extension to the dates for the submission of the Basic Payment Scheme and Environment Stewardship claim forms earlier this year and IT issues with the Rural Payments Agency,  Natural England have issued a statement regarding the ELS/HLS payments.

Natural England have said “The European Commission have made the decision  to give all Member States extra time for farmers to submit their claims in the first year of the new CAP.  Advance payments for ES agreements were expected to be paid from October 2015 and the majority paid by November and December.  The Rural Payments Agency & Natural England are working to ensure that agri-environment payments under Environmental Stewardship agreements are made as early as possible”

As a requirement of the EU regulations payments cannot be made until cross checks with the Basic Payment Scheme data has been completed.  As a result from the extension to application dates for BPS and ES claim forms this has had a knock on effect delaying the cross checks and ultimately the payments.

Various organisations are pressing the RPA and Natural England to make payments on time this year particularly given the current commodity prices. 


We look forward to seeing new and existing clients at Wolsingham Show on Saturday 5 September 2015 where you are welcome to enjoy our hospitality on the Darlington Farmers Auction Mart and Vickers & Barrass stand, hopefully enjoying a sunny day or if not taking cover from the rain with us.


A new approach to claim on common land through the Basic Payment Scheme; this principally means the eligible area of the common is divided up amongst common land right holders who are using the common.  A farmer who currently has common land rights must demonstrate they are using the common by:

  • Using his rights to turn stock out
  • PArt of an agri-environment agreement on the common; or
  • Contributing to “ the appropriate management of the common by keeping some of it in a state suitable for grazing or cultivation by keeping it clear of any scrub that can’t be grazed, or by some other beneficial activity” (DEFRA,2015).

This should mean any unallocated land will be allocated to farmers who are deemed to be using the common land.

The Application Process

The application form should now be available from September 2015 (delayed from June 2015); and it is advised to be submitted by December 2015 to meet the deadline of the 2015 claim. A single form will need to be completed but additional information or supplement documentation may need to be gathered later, depending on what  the Rural Payment Agency require to confirm usage of any particular common. 

Hill Farmers Allowance/ Upland Transfer Payments

If a farmer with common land rights was also claiming Hill Farm Allowance (HFA)/Uplands Transitional Payment (UTP), any increase in the notional eligible area of the common will have an impact on the HFA/UTP payment received previously. These farmers therefore also need to apply for the additional HFA/UTP payments (from 2009 onwards) they should have received in previous years.


The main changes under the Countryside Stewardship is that applications are scored on their criteria; making this scheme competitive. Applicants will have to maximise the environmental priorities which are selected before by Natural England for the location of their land meaning that not all applications will be successful.


Winter cattle housing available for approximately 30 head of cattle on a bed and breakfast basis. Matfen area, Northumberland. More numbers can be accommodated in due course or as required.

All silage, straw bedding and labour provided.

Contact Adam Barrass for more information.

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