This notice explains how farmers, land managers and rural businesses in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland who receive payments under the EU Rural Development Programmes, funded under Pillar 2 of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), would be affected if the UK leaves the EU with no deal. It sets out how government will make sure funding for projects under these programmes continues in a no deal outcome.

Before 29 March 2019 (may also apply to new exit date on 31 December 2020)

The Rural Development Programmes in the four UK nations support farmers and land managers who manage their land in ways that benefit the environment, and rural entrepreneurs who wish to develop their businesses. The programmes are administered by Defra in England, and devolved administrations in the other UK nations.

After 29 March 2019 (may also apply to new exit date on 31 December 2020) if there’s no deal

The UK government has guaranteed that any projects where funding has been agreed before the end of 2020 will be funded for their full lifetime. This means, in the unlikely event the UK leaves the EU with no deal, the UK government would fund any remaining payments to farmers, land managers and rural businesses due after March 2019. This would ensure continued funding for these projects until they finish. The guarantee also means that Defra and the devolved administrations can continue to sign new projects after the UK leaves the EU during 2019 and 2020, up to the value of programme allocations.

If the UK leaves the EU without a deal, Defra and devolved administrations would ensure an uninterrupted flow of funding to farmers, rural businesses and communities. To ensure stability and continuity, the guarantee would be administered through existing national and local arrangements, modified and simplified as appropriate in line with domestic rules on public spending. Projects would need to continue to deliver good value for money and meet domestic strategic priorities.


Farmers, land managers and rural businesses with agreements funded by the UK Rural Development Programmes do not need to take any action at present.

There would be no substantive change for farmers, land managers and rural businesses who have agreements funded by the UK Rural Development Programmes due to finish after 29 March 2019 (may also apply to new exit date on 31 December 2020), and existing application and contracting arrangements would remain in place for those planning to seek funding after this date but before the end of 2020.

Programmes would continue to be managed to ensure appropriate audit, monitoring and evaluation arrangements are in place and spending delivers good value for money and meets government priorities.

More information

More information about the Rural Development Programme for England and the schemes currently open for applications can be found on our rural grants and payments pages. Further information about the schemes in other UK nations can be found on the devolved administrations’ websites.

This notice will be updated with further information when it becomes available.

Individuals who receive Basic Payment Scheme (BPS) payments may also want to refer to the technical notice on ‘farm payments if there’s no Brexit deal’.

This notice is meant for guidance only. You should consider whether you need separate professional advice before making specific preparations.

It is part of the government’s ongoing programme of planning for all possible outcomes. We expect to negotiate a successful deal with the EU.

The UK government is clear that in this scenario we must respect our unique relationship with Ireland, with whom we share a land border and who are co-signatories of the Belfast Agreement. The UK government has consistently placed upholding the Agreement and its successors at the heart of our approach. It enshrines the consent principle on which Northern Ireland’s constitutional status rests. We recognise the basis it has provided for the deep economic and social cooperation on the island of Ireland. This includes North-South cooperation between Northern Ireland and Ireland, which we’re committed to protecting in line with the letter and spirit of Strand two of the Agreement.

The Irish government have indicated they would need to discuss arrangements in the event of no deal with the European Commission and EU Member States. The UK would stand ready in this scenario to engage constructively to meet our commitments and act in the best interests of the people of Northern Ireland, recognising the very significant challenges that the lack of a UK-EU legal agreement would pose in this unique and highly sensitive context.

It remains, though, the responsibility of the UK government, as the sovereign government in Northern Ireland, to continue preparations for the full range of potential outcomes, including no deal. As we do, and as decisions are made, we’ll take full account of the unique circumstances of Northern Ireland.

This Article draws on information published by the UK Department for Exiting the EU “UK Government’s Preparations for a no deal scenario” August 2018. UK public sector information is reproduced pursuant to the Open Government Licence  The Legal Materials contain UK public sector information licensed under the Open Government Licence v3.0. The Licence is available  at http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/doc/open-government-licence/version/3/ (the UK Licence).


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