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Moorland Line ruling welcomed by NFU.

Defra's decision to give farmers in the North-East the chance to challenge the boundary of the Moorland Line has been welcomed by Northumberland farmer and chairman of the NFU's regional livestock commodity board, Malcolm Corbett.

According to Mr Corbett, this move by the Secretary of State gives a glimmer of hope to those farmers most adversely affected by the introduction of the new Single Payment Scheme (SPS).

The Line was first established in 1992 in response to the introduction of the moorland scheme ( designed to help with heather regeneration. Later it was used to identify farms eligible for the Hill Farming Allowance.

The fact that under the SPS it is now being used to differentiate between those farms in the `moorland SDA' that receive one payment rate and others in the `non-moorland SDA' receiving a different rate means that the precise drawing of the line is crucial for hundreds of farmers in the North-East.

"Moorland SDA land accounts for 20pc of all farmland in the North-East, so it's easy to see why this decision is so important," said Mr Corbett.

"For the first time since the Line was first established, farmers will have the chance to appeal against its precise boundary, if they feel they are disadvantaged by it.

"It's now vital that farmers take immediate action if they want to challenge the boundary and make sure they lodge their appeals before Monday, September 27.

"Anyone wanting to lodge an appeal must contact the RPA without delay."

Information packs can be obtained from NFU regional office on (01904) 451550 or direct from the RPA either via their website: www.rpa.gov.uk or by telephoning their helpline number: (0845) 605-6516.
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Publication:The Journal (Newcastle, England)
Date:Aug 12, 2004
Words:280
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