BPS 2023 – essential information

An aerial view of farmland fields

With the annual claim window now open, our BPS team guides you through everything you need to know on BPS 2023. The application window opened on 14 March and closes on 15 May 2023. This page will be regularly updated throughout the year.

Key information: final year of BPS

This is the final year that BPS and cross compliance will operate. BPS and cross compliance requirements operate to the 31 December 2023, so you need to continue to follow the rules in 2023.

Cross compliance

From 2024, cross compliance will not apply to Delinked Payments or any other rural payments in England. However, most of the standards in cross compliance will continue to apply to farm activities as they remain in other English laws. Defra will update the industry of these legal requirements, as well as the approach to enforcing them, before 2024.  


The RPA state that if you hold land after the BPS scheme has closed, you will still need to keep their land data up-to-date by checking your digital maps in the Rural Payments service. Not doing so could affect payments under any existing schemes or future schemes entered into.

Entitlements to end after 2023

Entitlements will end with the BPS scheme in 2023. You will still need to hold entitlements on 15 May 2023 if you want to use them to claim BPS in 2023. Entitlements will not be needed after this date.

Progressive reductions in payments continues

As in previous years, the BPS 2023 claim value will depend on the number of entitlements, with eligible hectares (ha), a farmer claims in 2023 and on whether they claim the young farmer payment. Progressive reductions will be applied to the total claim value (after any other reductions or penalties). Details for BPS 2023 are set out further down the page.

Delinked payments will replace BPS in 2024

Direct Payments, currently paid in the form of BPS are being phased out through to 2027 as the government introduces ELMs (Environmental Land Management schemes).

As part of this process, the RPA plan to replace BPS with Delinked Payments based on a farmer’s average BPS payments for the 2020 to 2022 scheme years. These payments will be reduced each year as they are phased out.

We've provided more information on delinked payments. Visit: Delinked payments – read our latest guidance | NFUonline.com

Lump Sum Exit Scheme reminder

The application period for the Lump Sum Exit Scheme closed on 30 September 2022. If you applied successfully, you must remember you have to submit a ‘Lump Sum Exit Scheme entitlements and evidence form’ to the RPA by the deadline of 31 May 2024.

If you applied for the Lump Sum Exit Scheme and have not yet completed your exit from farming and have not been paid, you may want to apply for BPS 2023. This will protect you if you then find that:

  1. you are not eligible for the lump sum or;
  2. cannot complete the transfer of your land by 31 May 2024

As a reminder, to apply for BPS in 2023, you will need to meet the BPS scheme rules, including making sure the land stays eligible for the rest of the year.

In applying for BPS 2023 farmers can have access to future Delinked Payments if they do not proceed and complete the Lump Sum Exit Scheme rules.

Read our guidance at: Lump Sum Exit Scheme | NFUonline.com

Sustainable Farming Incentive

You can claim BPS and SFI on the same land parcel, provided that land parcel meets the relevant eligibility rules under both schemes.

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BPS 2023 – NFU member meetings

The NFU is holding a series of meetings throughout March on the BPS 2023 application process and related issues.

For details on attending, please visit the relevant regional event: 

RPA Communications

The RPA will contact farmers from time-to-time to update them on various points, such as awareness of issues, top tips, offering help and reminders as we get near the end of the application deadline. Please do read the information sent out by the RPA, it is done for good reason.

The RPA should contact farmers to let them know that they can start to apply for BPS 2023 online on or after the 14 March for paper applicants.

The RPA have confirmed that all BPS 2023 emails will be sent from [email protected]

Preparation checklist

The BPS 2023 application window opened on 14 March 2023 and closes on 15 May 2023. Late applications can be accepted up to 11:59pm on 9 June in order to avoid late application penalties. Here are some questions to consider to help you prepare for your application:

Are your details correct with the RPA? 

Check the details the RPA hold for you are correct for claiming this year. Being prepared now means you will reduce disruption later, especially if you rely on someone else to help complete your claim for you.

Check your business and personal contacts – to ensure the RPA have the correct details when they contact you.

Can you access the RPA online service?

Ensure you can access the RPA’s service and follow any RPA instructions issued.

Know where to go for notifications to see if there is anything you need to do – via the ‘My messages’ screen in the RPA’s Rural Payments service.

You can no longer use your GOV.UK Verify account to sign-in to the Rural Payments service; you will need to move to RPA Identify. If you are already a RPA Identify customer then you do not need to take further action.

Are your permissions up to date?

It's important to ensure the right people in your business can access the RPA’s Rural Payments service to assist with applications, claims, changes and submissions.

There are different levels of permission depending on what you want others to do for you. You can change permission levels via the RPA’s Rural Payments online service.

Do you know the key dates?

Put the dates in the diary and remember to claim/apply when the time comes. The RPA has released these dates. Visit: Rural Payments Agency key dates 2023 | GOV.UK

Please note the BPS 2023 claim window opens from 14 March and runs to 15 May.

Have you checked online mapping?

Online mapping may have changed if the RPA believe it necessary following recent checks with the latest aerial imagery or latest OS maps they have access to.

Check that the land you want to claim BPS on, and any other land that needs to be on the claim form, is present now.

The RPA state that there are a number of land-based schemes using the same land details shown on the Rural Payments online digital maps in the Rural Payments service. Therefore checking land details now for a BPS application will also help if you're considering applying for new funding, such as the SFI or CS.

You should check the ‘land cover’ that’s mapped for each land parcel which is show on the Rural Payments service. Land cover (as opposed to land use and associated coding) determines the area available for an SFI or CS application and needs to be compatible with the land-use code you declare on your BPS application.

To make changes to existing land parcels land cover follow the RLE1 guidance before making a BPS application

On 31 January, the RPA opened the Rural Payments online service for land and entitlements functionality to allow someone to transfer out land and entitlements. Visit: Make or update a rural payments claim | GOV.UK

Also on the 31 January, the RPA opened up the functionality to allow a farmer to email the RPA requesting to add land to their claim. Further details can be found at: Rural payments applications: add a land parcel by email | GOV.UK

Are your entitlement details correct?

Ensure your entitlement details are correct for BPS 2023, especially if there are any leased in or out entitlements.

Also ensure the entitlements are in the right control to claim on in 2023. Read more on leased entitlements at: Reminder – check your leased BPS entitlements | NFUonline.com

Future correspondence

Watch out for emails and reminders from the RPA.

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Applying for BPS 2023

You can apply online or on paper by using the BP5 application form. 

The RPA has updated / reviewed the BPS Guidance and Forms for BPS 2023. The latest versions can be found at Basic Payment Scheme | GOV.UK 

Please make sure you read the 2023 guidance and that acceptable versions of the forms are used for BPS 2023. Key documents include:

  • BPS rules for 2023 (the ‘Handbook’)
  • How to apply for BPS 2023 online
  • BPS in England 2023 How to apply using a paper form -
  • Rural Payments: land use codes
  • Editable RLE1 form and guidance - Changes to land, entitlements guidance
  • Correcting online land tenure details form
  • Paper Continuation booklets (BP5 continuation booklet – Part C: Field data sheet / BP5 continuation booklet – Part E: Common land grazing rights)
  • Young and new farmer form (guidance in the BPS Handbook)

Useful links:

Please note: The RPA Bank account line is operating as normal and can be accessed via the RPA phone number: 03000 200 301. There is now no deadline date for if you need to tell the RPA of any changes to your bank account details; this is due to the split BPS payments now being made. The RPA would advise bank changes should be communicated as soon as possible to avoid any payment complications.

Applying online

BPS activation issues: During 2022, there was a new issue with eligible land and land uses not working through to the claim and a ‘red hand’ appearing within the ‘activate less BPS area’ screens, making it difficult to correct.

The RPA cannot guarantee these issues are fully resolved and so have updated the information in the ‘How to Apply Online’ guidance as a result, please read this information carefully.

Rural payments system: The RPA has informed us that there are no farmer facing changes to the Rural Payments System since the 2022 application round in respect of BPS.

The pending phasing out of the scheme means that there are no plans being made to enhance the delivery of the scheme on Rural Payments. This will mean some of the historical greening elements remain in the system (as well as on the paper form or the PDF version on the online application).

Tracking an online application: After an online claim has been submitted, you can track its progress from the ‘Apply for BPS or view status of your application’ screen.

Check the status box as this will tell you what stage the application is at. The final two statuses refer to the balance payment.

If the status is blank, then the RPA have not received an online application. Please read the BPS online guidance carefully on what evidence you should have or see when an online application has been successfully submitted.

Appling via paper forms

There will be no ability to hand delivery information to an RPA office again this year. Paper BP5 forms need to be posted as there is no email option.

If using a paper form, you need to ensure you get the claim right before posting it to the RPA (and ensuring the correct form of postage is used and the associated charge is incurred), as there is no guarantee the RPA will pick up a problem.

Make sure you have used the correct form of postage and that the associated charge is incurred. If there are any issues, tell the RPA before the deadline. 

The RPA urges farmers to submit information as soon as possible to avoid any issues around deadlines or use, where possible, alternative ways to submit information if that is possible.

The RPA checks are very basic. The RPA provides a check list and advice on what they look for when an application is received. It also sets out the common errors a farmer should avoid.

It is recommended that you use a postal method with tracking and proof of postage to submit your paper BP5 application.

The RPA will acknowledge receipt of the application within 10 working days, starting from the date when they first receive it.

If you do not receive an acknowledgement within 15 working days of posting your form, you should telephone the RPA helpline on 03000 200 301.

The RPA do not send receipts for continuation booklets sent separately to the BPS application.

Sending supporting evidence

If you need to send supporting evidence (for example, young or new farmer proof, or form, continuation booklets or RLE1 form) to the RPA, you need to do this early enough for the RPA to receive it by 11:59pm on 9 June 2023.

You will not receive a penalty, as long as the RPA received the BPS application before 11:59pm on 15 May 2023

You have until 30 June 2023 to submit any hemp seed labels.

Please note that an application will be rejected if the supporting evidence (apart from hemp seed labels) is received after 11:59pm on 9 June 2023.

The RPA will need original documents for any other evidence, which should be sent by post, therefore you should keep copies of any evidence you send in.

Before sending evidence, it should have the claimant’s name and address on the front page, and the SBI (Single Business Identifier) on every page. The RPA will post confirmation receipts for any evidence received; if  they are returning evidence they will do so by post (usually within 3 working days).

You should keep any evidence after it has been returned in case the RPA needs to see it again in the future. The RPA will send reminders of the application deadline to the home address and email address of the farmer or their agent, if they have one.

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BPS 2023 payment details

The BPS 2023 payment rates will be announced later in 2023.

The RPA now makes BPS payments in two instalments:

  • The first payment is made from August 2023
  • The second will be made from 1 December 2023

All claims will be reduced again in 2023 due to the application of the progressive reductions. The reduction figures for BPS 2023 are set out below.

Payment Band 2023 percentage reduction
1. Up to £30,000 35%
2. £30,000 - £50,000 40%
3. £50,000 - £150,000 50%
4. More than £150,000 55%

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Be aware of fraud

Stay vigilant to fraudsters' attempts to scam you when you're claiming payments. Read our guidance.

Got a question? Contact NFU CallFirst

Our NFU CallFirst advisers can help guide any queries you may have to one of our experts. Call 0370 845 8458 and we'll be happy to help.

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