Minister cuts Cross-Compliance penalties

Date published: 18 May 2021

Agriculture Minister Edwin Poots MLA has announced a reduction to Cross-Compliance penalties for 2021.


When farmers apply for funding through area-based schemes they agree to comply with Statutory Management Requirements (SMRs) covering the environment, climate change, public health, animal health and plant health and animal welfare, in addition to maintaining all their land in Good Agricultural and Environmental Condition (GAECs).

Farmers are inspected to ensure that they are meeting these requirements as part of good farm management practices. Where they do not, a Cross-Compliance penalty can be applied which reduces the level of funding they receive. 

The Cross-Compliance penalty regime includes two penalty matrices which set out the penalties to be applied depending on whether a non-compliance is found to be either intentional or negligent. 

Announcing the change to the matrices, Minister Edwin Poots MLA said: “As Minister for Agriculture and the Environment I know that by far the vast majority of farmers in Northern Ireland are good stewards of the land and farm to very high standards; protecting our environment; protecting the health and welfare of animals; and ultimately protecting human health.

“Cross-Compliance standards help to ensure that every farmer follows the same good farming practices.  That means that people living here can be confident in the quality of our locally produced food products.

“Now that we have left the European Union, I have asked my Department to look at how Cross-Compliance can be made to work better, helping farmers to improve where needed while still protecting our environment and our food standards.

“While that work is taking place, I have decided to reduce some of the penalties that farmers receive when they do not comply with the Cross-Compliance standards. These changes will keep Northern Ireland in line with other administrations within the United Kingdom.”

While some of the penalties are lower, farmers can still receive a penalty of up to 100% of funding for the most serious cases.

Notes to editors: 

  1. Where the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs finds a Cross-Compliance breach at inspection, a penalty is applied to the farmer’s area-based scheme payments. 
  2. Penalties range from a warning letter for low impact, negligent rectifiable breaches up to a possible 100% penalty for the most serious cases. 
  3. Download the Cross-Compliance Penalty matrices from the DAERA website.
  4. Follow DAERA on Twitter and Facebook,
  5. All media queries should be directed to the DAERA Press Office.
  6. The Executive Information Service operates an out of hours service for media enquiries only between 1800hrs and 0800hrs Monday to Friday and at weekends and public holidays. The duty press officer can be contacted on 9037 8110 028.

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