On 3rd November 2015 the Bishop of St Albans received a written answer to a question about the timing of the government’s agri-environment payments.
Lord Bishop of St Albans: To ask Her Majesty’s Government when they expect to have fulfilled the agri-environment scheme payments to farmers, and how they will ensure that delays in making such payments do not happen next year.
Lord Gardiner of Kimble: We recognise the importance of early payments to the rural community. As at 22 October, Environmental Stewardship advance payments had been made to 25,200 agreement holders with a total value of £62.5 million. Natural England and the Rural Payments Agency continue to work to get payments out as soon as possible with the aim of making the remaining advance payments in November and December.
This year, 2015, has been a transitional year as new Common Agricultural Policy rules have taken effect. Whilst we would expect these payments to start earlier next year, from 2018 new EU rules will prevent any payments being made before 16 October.