Following what it claims have been “successful small-scale initial trials”, the Rural Payments Agency (RPA) is now rolling out to 1,000 farmers and agents the chance to test a new online service which enables customers to view their land details on a digital map.
Concern has been expressed by some farming organisations that moving to a fully online service for payment schemes will hit some farmers who are not linked to the Internet because of poor broadband connectivity in many rural areas.
But the RPA is pushing ahead with the the Rural Land Register (RLR) map viewer, a forerunner to the fully online service to be launched by Defra in 2014-15 for payment schemes under the new Common Agricultural Policy.
The RPA says that the viewer currently on test offers instant access to the most up to date maps of the customer’s land holdings along with Ordnance Survey mapping and aerial photography. Users will also be able to search for fields and map sheets, to draw lines and measure areas as well as print maps to support land change requests to the RPA.
Information and Technology Director Ed Schofield said: “RPA is amongst the leaders in the provision of digital services and we are determined to keep getting better. More than half of our customers now apply for their Single Payment Scheme (SPS) payments online and we are working hard to support the rest to make this important change.