Copy of email sent to Nick Harvey MP, received by warmwell.com March 22 2010
It took me about five years to get the Rural Land Registry mapping section to map my holding correctly. I had finally achieved this: but, in October last year, I was sent a " Rural Land Register Mapping Update" .
Extraordinarily, someone in the RLR mapping section had seen fit to redraw my farm boundaries, adding in bits of my neighbours' land - and had individually excluded all my working barns and buildings from my holding.
I was invited to " comment" on the new map.
I did so, indicating the changes as best possible on the 1:5000 scale map and sending a large scale map of the two parcels where the most detailed corrections were required. When the " corrected" map was returned, dated 11th March, these two parcels had been omitted altogether from my holding. I was invited to telephone " if the maps (did) not show the correct information" and did so. I have now received a third map dated 18th March, with the parcels altered, again incorrectly and not as I had indicated on the information sent by me to the RLR, with further unaccountable omissions.
Meanwhile I have been sent my Single Farm Payment documents with the land parcels altered to reflect one or other of these unnecessary and boneheaded alterations. I will have to enter the correct information again; and I do not know what other administrative nonsense could arise from the implication that when my sheep enter the lambing shed, they officially leave my holding and when my milking flock walks from the pasture to the milking parlour it officially leaves and re-enters my holding!
My purpose in describing this tedious process, is to draw your attention to this fundamentally misguided and wasteful system.
It is surely our, the farmer/landowner's responsibility to use correct information when making subsidy claims, recording livestock movements, etc. I assume that it is my responsibility to check that the map held by the RLR reflects the true picture of my holding. So why should a mapping technician in the RLR waste their and my time by proposing frivolous and inappropriate changes to my holding boundaries and parcel boundaries?
Why, if the RLR wants to run an "update" of holdings, does it not send the existing, approved and accepted map to me, explain any new requirements (perhaps as to the recording of permanent features like buildings and hard-standings) and invite me to mark any relevant changes on the existing map? If no changes are required, no further time needs be spent. If changes are required who else should be able to know and who better to make them than the farmer responsible?
I know what land I am farming. Why does the RLR think that a mapping technician in an office knows better?
It is madness for the RLR to make unsolicited and misguided alterations to my holding map. And it is madness to have such a cumbersome and inefficient system for correcting the inaccuracies that inevitably result from this procedure.
When I return corrections, a mapping technician apparently feels free to ignore my corrections and invent other alterations. When I telephone to communicate these problems to the RLR I have to do so via the Rural Payments Agency switch board. I speak to a call centre operative and cannot speak to the mapping draughtsman who will make the changes required. It is the most inefficient, frustrating and wasteful way of communicating changes to a drawing that could be devised. It seems to leave the mapping technician free to indulge in whatever flights of invention that his whim directs. So far, this unnecessary exercise has involved three printouts of incorrect maps to be sent to me and an incorrect SPS form. I have so far been forced to send a set of corrections and make four time consuming telephone calls: and there is plenty more wasted time to come.
What is being done now is wasteful of my and the RLR's time. It is an obviously flawed system. In a time when savings to public expenditure are being sought, this kind of bizarre job creation scheme should surely be abandoned.
(Name and address supplied)