No changes have been made with regard to the definition of eligible areas under the Single Farm Payment. Historically, the vast majority of Scheme applicants have been making sufficient deductions from their claims to take account of such areas in that they reduced the area claimed on. In many cases as no mapping evidence supporting these deductions was provided, the ineligible features were not, therefore, recorded onto the Land Parcel Identification System (LPIS), my Department's computer-based land parcel tracking system. As LPIS underpins all the direct payments, it is crucial that it accurately reflects the true position on the ground.
Under the provisions of the governing EU Regulations, payments under the Single Farm Payment may be made only in respect of eligible land and applicants under the Scheme are obliged annually to declare the land parcels available to them and details of the eligible area of the land parcels are recorded on LPIS. It is also necessary for applicants to exclude ineligible features such as scrub, roadways, etc. Therefore, the LPIS database has to be amended on an ongoing basis to reflect any permanent changes such as parcel boundary changes, addition of new parcels, etc. In the vast majority of cases, the applicants were making sufficient deductions for the ineligible features and, therefore, there were no over-payments in these cases.