United Kingdom

General country description
A. First pillar: implementation of CAP reforms (2003)
B. Second pillar: implementation of RDP measures during 2007-2013
C. Vision for the CAP beyond 2013: a short overview of the debate (at Member State level) on future CAP reform
D. Literature, sources, references
The comparative analysis provides a compact overview of CAP implementation across all 27 Member States and their visions of the future of the CAP

General country discription

United Kingdom
Comparison with EU-25

Population, 2005 (*1,000,000): 60.0

13.1% of population in EU-25

Population density, 2003 (inh./km2): 244

118 in EU-25

GDP/capita, 2005 (PPS): 27,100

116% of GDP/capita in EU-25

Share agriculture in total employment, 2002 (%): 3

5% in EU-25

Share Utilized Agricultural Area in total land area, 2003 (%): 70

46% in EU-25 in 1998

Average farm size, 2005 (ha): 81

19 in EU-15

Number of farms, 2005 (*1000): 183.2

2.8% of farms in EU-25

Source: own calculations based on Eurostat

Distribution of farming types, 2005 (% of total)

Source: own calculations based on Eurostat

EU funding for the Single Payment Scheme (SPS)
and the second pillar, 2007-2013

* Funding according to CAP budget including Bulgaria and Romania
Sources: Agra Europe (2007); CEU (2006); EC (2007a)


A. First pillar: implementation CAP reform (2003)

A.1 Single Payment Scheme


Coupling measures

Complete decoupling. Article 69 application in Scotland (10% of the ceiling for the bovine sector), dairy premium in 2005.

Reasons for selection

Additional refinement of the system in England to prevent animal husbandry farmers to leave their farms in the upper regions (land abandonment) and to restart in lower regions.

A.2 EU budget for Single Payment Scheme (SPS) per year (National ceiling) 2005-2013

Source: 2005: EC (2006); 2006-2013: CEU (2006) and Agra Europe (2007)

Share of the farms that receive SPS of the total number of farms (% of total)

No information.

Tradability of SPS

Single payments are tradable within member state and within region.

A.3 Cross-compliance: Good Agricultural and Environmental Conditions (GAEC)

Source: IEEP, 2005

Soil erosion is an issue within a small part of the Netherlands, but conservation of soil organic matter is a more important issue.

Selected standards of the GAEC (England)

Summary of farmers’ obligations

Soil erosion

Minimum soil cover

General requirements, post harvest management of land after combinable crops.

soil organic matter

Arable stubble management

restrictions on burning

Soil structure

Machinery use

Rules of use of machinery on water logged soil

protection of permanent pastures



minimum level of maintenance

Retention of landscape features

special attention for stonewalls, hedgerows, ancient trees; monuments, public rights of way,


Avoiding the encroachment of unwanted vegetation on agricultural land

Control of weeds

Selected standards of the GAEC (Northern Ireland)

Summary of farmers' obligations

Soil erosion


Soil management rules to minimize erosion

minimum level of maintenance


Obligations to avoid under- and overgrazing, protection of habitats, archeological sites and permanent pasture


Selected standards of the GAEC (Scotland)

Summary of farmers' obligations

Soil erosion

Minimum soil cover

Post harvest management of land, In areas prone to erosion /capping the farmer must take steps to reduce the risk of soil loss; the farmer must maintain functional field drainage systems and follow the latest edition of the Muirburn Code (conc. burning of vegetation)

soil organic matter

standards for crop rotation where applicable

the farmer should: • use suitable break crops in an arable rotation; or • optimise the use of organic materials by basing rates of application on soil and crop needs


arable stubble management

incorporate livestock manures within two weeks after spreading on stubbles


EXTRA: measure soil organic matter en pH

Do not carry out any cultivations if water is standing on the surface or the soil is saturated

Soil structure


No cultivation on saturated soils

minimum level of maintenance

protection of permanent pastures

Any proposal to plough up pasture of high environmental or archaeological value, for example species-rich grassland, machair habitats, pastoral woodland and heather moorland will require the consent of the relevant authority


retention of landscape features

Do not damage, destroy or remove any historic, non-productive landscape features or field boundaries


avoiding the encroachment of unwanted vegetation on agricultural land

Avoid encroachment of unwanted species


Selected standards of the GAEC (Wales)

Summary of farmers' obligations

Soil erosion


Avoid soil run off, bank erosion, heavy trampling. Apply soil management checklist.

soil organic matter

standards for crop rotation where applicable

Apply required crop rotations


arable stubble management

No burning allowed

Soil structure


Avoid soil compaction

protection of permanent pastures

Farmers need to ask permission to convert pp

minimum level of maintenance

retention of landscape features

Special attention for stonewalls, hedgerows, ancient trees;


avoiding the encroachment of unwanted vegetation on agricultural land

monitoring the land for infestation of invasive species


Reason for selection of cross compliance standards

A.4 Further reform of market regulations

Fruit and vegetables

Decision made in Agricultural Council meeting in June 2007. Complete decoupling of processing of fruit and vegetables within 4 years for tomatoes and within 5 years for permanent crops (e.g. citrus). Role of producer organisation strengthened, especially in crisis prevention and -management.


Complete decoupling and transition period as short as possible.

Decoupling of other products, like tobacco, hop etc.

Ambition is complete decoupling and transition period as short as possible.

Simplification into one market regulation

Yes concerning one market regulation, but doubts about one administration unit or committee.


B. Second pillar: implementation of RDP measures 2007-2013

B.1 Programme level and approval

There is a national strategy and there are four regional strategies. There are four RDPs, for England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales. Adjustments for all RDPs had to be made according to the European Council’s decision on voluntary modulation. The UK and Portugal are the only two countries that can use the instrument of voluntary modulation. The Rural Development Committee (consisting of representatives of the 27 Member States) has approved the RDP for England on 20 December 2007, for Northern Ireland on 25 July 2007, for Scotland on 24 January 2008 and for Wales on 24 February 2008.

B.2 Distribution of public budget over the axes (%)1)


axis 1: competitiveness

axis 2: environment and land management

axis 3: rural economy

Axis 4: Leader






Northern Ireland















1) Figures excluding Technical Assistance
Source: Own calculations based on DEFRA (2007); Department of Agriculture and Rural Development of Northern Ireland (2007); Scottish Executive (2007); Welsh Assembly Government (2008)

B.3 Integration of Leader in axes 1, 2 and 3

In England Leader will be delivered through Regional Development Agencies (working with other stakeholders) and funding will be split between axis 1 (0.3%) and Axis 3 (4.7%).* In Northern Ireland, Axis 3 will be delivered through the Leader approach. In Scotland and Wales, Leader also contributes to Axis 3.

B.4 Local Action Groups (LAGs)

In the previous programming period (2000-2006) there were 57 LAGs in the UK.

B.5 RDP budget 2007-2013 (million euros)


Total public budget (*)

% co-financing EAFRD 1)

EAFRD budget

Contribution private sector

Total costs

National top-ups




3217.5 (1092.9 excl. vol. mod.)




Northern Ireland










676.3 (359.3 excl. vol. mod.)







376.7 (286.6 excl. vol. mod.)




United Kingdom







1) % of co-financing may vary per axis
Source: DEFRA (2007); Department of Agriculture and Rural Development of Northern Ireland (2007); Scottish Executive (2007) and; Welsh Assembly Government (2008)

B.6 Less Favoured Areas

Less Favoured Areas (LFA) (mostly uplands) cover a significant part of the agricultural land of the UK. In England the total LFA area is 2.21 million ha (17% of UAA), in Northern Ireland 720,000 ha (70% of UAA), in Scotland 5.23 million ha (85% of UAA) and in Wales 1.3 million ha (80% of UAA) (DEFRA, 2006). In 2005 8,424,000 ha was designed as LFA in the whole UK (45% of UAA) (CEU, 2005).

B.7 Drivers of RDP strategy

Fit within national policy. In the RDPs some rationales are given for the choices made in the RDPs.1 In England there is evidence that rural areas are performing well and development is best addressed through non-RDP funding sources. However, the natural environment needs urgent action if declines of habitats and biodiversity, cultural and historic and landscape character are to be halted and reversed (and key EU and UK targets met) – the RDP funds are the main source of resources to address this issue. The UK allocation of EU RDP funds is disproportionally low and total resources including compulsory modulation at current rates are inadequate to meet these environmental needs. So the UK is applying voluntary national modulation (in England at 12% in 2007 rising to a maximum of 14% in 2009). *

* Information provided by Rosie Simpson, Natural England
** Information provided by Frits Thissen, Agricultural Attaché, Netherlands Embassy, London


C. Vision on the CAP beyond 2013*

C.1 Stages in the development of the CAP debate

Is there a debate about the role of the CAP beyond 2013?

Yes, there is an intensive debate, especially in England and Wales, among government, farmers organizations, land owners organizations, environmental agencies and NGOs.

C.2 Key issues in the debate**

Components and role of the CAP

Organization of the CAP (first and second pillar)

Financing of the CAP

* Information provided by Frits Thissen, LNV-VB London and Rosie Simpson, Natural England.
** Based on HM Treasury and Defra, 2005 and House of Lords, 2008.

D. Literature, sources, references

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