On 30 November 2020, the Rural Payment Agency (RPA) has launched a consultation on the operation of the Basic Payment Scheme (BPS) seeking alternative ways to the current allocation method of eligible areas of the New Forest.
Currently, the allocated areas are based on the number of marketing fees (a fee that is paid to an independent body regulating New Forest Commoners, to mark their animals for grazing in order to be tracked and identified to its owner) that are paid for the animals turned out to graze in the previous year. The current method has been challenged on the basis of causing an impact on the environment as commoners would be encouraged to keep more animals to receive more payment in subsidies.
The consultation closes on 3 February 2021.
In addition, as part of the Agricultural Transition period set to start from 1 January 2021, the government has published Path to Sustainable Farming, which aims to phase out direct payments and focus on paying farmers based on improving the environment, animal health and welfare and reducing carbon emissions.