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Which projects are subject to the regulations?

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Cross Compliance is a European Union (EU) requirement setting out standards that farmers have to meet in order to receive CAP payments.
Information about farming policy and schemes, the Common Agricultural Policy, Farm Liaison Service and sustainable farming.

Most agricultural projects are not subject to the Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) Regulations. You will only need to send an application for work in two project categories.

Category 1 projects

Theses are projects which increase the agricultural productivity of semi-natural areas habitats.

Land is considered semi-natural if it contains less than 25-30% improved agricultural species (such as rye grass or white clover). Typical semi-natural habitats include:

  • moorland, including heathland and rough grazing areas
  • traditional, herb-rich "wild flower" hay meadows
  • wet, rush-filled pastures that have not been ploughed recently
  • scrub (e.g. stands of gorse or hawthorn)
  • wetlands, including bogs, marshes, fens and saltmarsh.

Category 1 projects are operations that significantly increase agricultural output in these areas. Examples might include:

  • ploughing and reseeding semi-natural grasslands, or planting crops on such areas
  • removing areas of scrub in preparation for cultivation
  • adding new drainage works or significantly improving existing drainage
  • filling in ditches, ponds and wetlands
  • using fertilisers (organic or inorganic) or lime in excess of routine application rates
  • non-routine operations near historic features.

Routine maintenance is not affected by the EIA regulations, this includes: 

  • cleaning existing drainage ditches
  • routine scrub or bracken control (not followed by reseeding)
  • regular applications of fertiliser or lime.

Types of land considered semi-natural are described in detail in Annex 1 of General Guidance: Overview of Regulations.

Category 2 projects

These are large-scale projects which restructure rural land holdings including improved land.

Typical operations might include:

  • removal or addition of field boundaries 
  • planting of hedgerow
  • recontouring (reshaping) of agricultural land.

Routine maintenance and work on non-agricultural land is not affected by Category 2 projects, nor are projects below the minimum thresholds

On non-sensitive land the thresholds are:

  • modifying at least 4 kilometres of field boundaries
  • moving at least 10,000 cubic metres of earth or rock
  • restructuring an area of at least 100 hectares.

The thresholds on sensitive areas (e.g. National Parks, Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty) are half the above.

Projects in this category may be covered by other legislation:

  • town & country planning
  • hedgerow regulations.

Please contact us if you are not sure whether your project is subject to the EIA regulations.