The Terms and Conditions of the Basic Payments Scheme outline the requirements regarding the fencing of land. The Terms and Conditions state that there must be a defined external boundary, and that the boundary must be sufficient to control the farmers' and neighbouring animals.
The only exemption to the requirement for stock-proof fencing is outlined in the Departments publication “A Guide to Land Eligibility Direct Payment Schemes 2015”, this publication was sent to all farmers in 2015. On the matter of fencing it states “An exemption to this rule is that the need for stock proof fencing is not required for exclusively owned hill lands, provided the lands continue to be farmed in the traditional manner by hill farmers in compliance with the requirements of the EU regulations”. The land must be actively farmed and farmed in the traditional manner, this traditional farming refers to farmers having the hill land and the appurtenant low land, so typically the farmer would graze the hills in summer and have the appurtenant low land for the winter period.
In cases where the land has been redistributed and therefore is no longer farmed in the traditional manner there may be issues regarding fencing requirements. The farmer can apply to the Local Authority to fence the lands, this decision is made in conjunction with the NPWS, where required.