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Land used for non-agricultural purposes

Land that is temporarily used for events such as country shows or scout camps may be considered eligible for the Single Payment.

The Welsh Government has accepted that the European Commission (EC) did not intend to prohibit such activities in all circumstances and that doing so could have a detrimental impact on rural areas. The Commission has, nevertheless, indicated that these activities must be carefully prescribed. Guidelines relating to non-agricultural use of land have been drawn up in close discussion with the other administrations in the UK and the EC.

In all cases the restrictions only apply during the ten-month rule period when the land is required to be at the farmer’s disposal. Outside that period the land may be used for other purposes. Farmers will wish to use the flexibility in choosing the start dates for the ten-month period year-on- year to fit with their other business opportunities.

1. Cross Compliance

Farmers must be aware that the Cross Compliance requirements – comprising Good Agricultural Environmental Condition (GAEC) standards and Statutory Management Requirements – apply on the agricultural area for the whole calendar year.

Farmers claiming the SPS who wish to undertake non-agricultural activities are advised to contact their local Divisional Office for advice. The lists on this pages are not exhaustive, but gives an indication of the type of activity that falls within each category.

2. Category 1 - Generally permitted activities

These activities should be permitted without restriction - examples include:

  • fishing
  • hedge laying competitions, local ploughing competitions or other cultivation demonstrations within the applicable GAEC rules (excluding events where trade stands are present – these would fall under Category 3)
  • school or university nature or farm visits
  • horse riding along bridle-ways for which no charge is made*
  • bicycle riding along defined paths or bridle-ways for which no charge is made*
  • walking*
  • bird spotting
  • shooting (game)
  • deer stalking
  • drag hunting
  • paragliding and hang-gliding.

*Metalled or surfaced paths or bridle-ways would in any event be considered ineligible land.

3. Category 2 - Activities with greater restriction

Activities in this category will be permitted up to a 28-day limit - examples are:

  • shooting (clay)
  • car boot sales
  • festivals and events
  • country fairs and shows
  • farm auctions and sales
  • equestrian activities (including horse riding generally except along recognised bridle-ways for which no charge is made)
  • ballooning
  • car parking whether associated with any of the activities listed in this note or not
  • scout or guide camps or similar
  • caravan sites (For periods of more than 28 days, the affected area should not be used to support a claim. This need not affect a whole field.)
  • television and film locations
  • motor sports.

4. Category 3 - Activities that are not consistent with the land being considered as remaining in agricultural use and therefore not eligible

These include locations where the principal purpose of the land is for recreational activities, such as a golf course, other permanent sports facilities or gallops.

5. Special provisions for land used for military training

In some cases, land will be subject to use by the Ministry of Defence for military training. This is regarded as in the national interest and will be permitted without affecting the farmer’s ability to claim the Single Payment. Cross Compliance conditions will still apply.

6. Set Aside and Non SPS schemes

Particular rules apply to the use of set-aside land and to the remaining coupled aid schemes. These are contained in the set-aside guidance and main scheme booklets.


Farmers should also note that:

  • the limits apply to the number of days on which a non-agricultural use occurs, not a number of 24 hour periods to be divided over a larger number of days
  • if the limits are exceeded, the affected area, rather than the whole holding or, as the case may be, whole field will be regarded as ineligible
  • special consideration will be given on a case-by-case basis where the 28-day limit has been exceeded due to force majeure reasons.