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Natural England: General licences to control birds

26 April 2019

Natural England has confirmed that new general licences to control certain species of wild birds will go live on GOV.UK from next week, commencing 29 April. These will:

  • cover the majority of circumstances previously covered by the revoked general licences, GL04, GL05 and GL06
  • ensure landowners can continue to take necessary action, whilst also taking into account the needs of wildlife

If action to control wild birds is necessary before then, the relevant application forms for a licence can be found at www.gov.uk/government/publications/wild-birds-licence-to-control-certain-species

CAAV Press release: A new threat to rural housing?

18 April 2019

Press release

17th April 2019

A new threat to rural housing?

Finding affordable rural housing is likely to be more difficult under new Government proposals to change the law on residential tenancies in England, warns the Central Association of Agricultural Valuers (CAAV).

For almost 40 years, houses have been let with the confidence that, once any agreed term has expired, the house can stay let and the owner can recover possession when needed with only two months’ notice. It doesn’t matter whether they need the house for family use, to sell or because of problems with the tenant; the landlord has not had to give a reason and so not face possibly lengthy and expensive court proceedings, says Kate Russell, policy and technical adviser at the CAAV. “That has given the confidence for a huge expansion of the private rented sector, which has been especially important in rural areas where housing is often more expensive to buy.” 

However, the Government has now published proposals for new legislation which would change the owner’s rights so that they would only be able to recover possession for a limited number of reasons. These might have to be proven in court, and include wanting to live in the house themselves or sell it.

“This change has already been made in Scotland with the result that houses are instead being used for holiday lets or are sold, damaging the vitality of rural communities and making it harder for those working in the countryside to find homes,” says Ms Russell. More houses may also be left empty rather than let for short periods.

The impact of the proposed changes on the English tenanted sector is therefore very concerning, she warns. “House owners will be very concerned if they cannot be sure of recovering a house when they return from abroad, need it for family, want to sell it or where the rent has not been paid. Coming as it does on top of many other recent regulations, this may lead to some owners looking at alternative uses for let houses, whether as short-term holiday accommodation, sale, or even leaving it empty rather than face the additional risks.”

Similar legislation in the 1970s saw the private let sector shrink and many landlords discouraged from improving their properties, explains Ms Russell. “We thought we had learnt that lesson.”

There may also be consequences for agricultural tenants who sub-let farm cottages. At the moment, a tenant farmer can often sub-let a surplus farm cottage, knowing it can be ended before the farm tenancy ends. However, these new proposals would make it impossible for the farm tenant to give vacant possession at the end of their tenancy if the cottage tenant has a secure tenancy, risking claims from the landlord against the farm tenant. “That could deter farm tenants from making housing available where it might be most useful for the rural community,” she says.

“We currently have a successful model in which owners are confident in letting to good tenants, but these proposals could mean fewer homes available to rent in rural areas.”

 

Notes for editors:

  • The Government has proposed new legislation to abolish s.21 notices, which allow property owners to serve a two month notice to bring an assured shorthold tenancy to an end without having to obtain a court order for possession:

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/government-announces-end-to-unfair-evictions

  • There is to be a public consultation on the proposals, but no date for its launch has yet been announced.

About the CAAV

The Central Association of Agricultural Valuers (CAAV) is a specialist professional body representing, qualifying and briefing about 2,900 members practising in a diverse range of agricultural and rural work throughout England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

CAAV members are agricultural and rural valuers who provide professional advice and valuation expertise on issues affecting the countryside from tenancy matters to sales and purchase of farms and land, from taxation and compulsory purchase to auctioneering, and from conservation issues to farming structures.

We are always happy to speak to the press – if you have any queries please contact Olivia Cooper, partner at Agri-hub PR services, on 01392 840009 or email Olivia@agri-hub.co.uk.

Scottish LFASS payments underway

08 April 2019

The Scottish Government has confirmed that Less Favoured Area Support Scheme (LFASS) payments are underway. Around 11,000 eligible claimants should receive payment over the "coming weeks". Please see the Scottish Government website for further information.

RPA confirms 2018 BPS and CS bridging payments

08 April 2019

The RPA has confirmed that bridging payments in relation to BPS 2018 payments and CS 2018 advance payments should begin to arrive in bank accounts from Friday 12th April 2019. These bridging payments should be made to claimants who have not been paid by 31st March 2019 and should be 75% of the estimated claim value held on the system at the point in time that the payment is made. Please see GOV.UK for further details.

Prime Minister makes statement following EU Council

22 March 2019

Prime Minister Theresa May has issued a press statement following yesterday's EU Council meeting regarding the request to extend the Article 50 process beyond 29th March 2019.

The EU Council has agreed that, subject to a successful vote on the Withdrawal Agreement by the UK Parliament next week, Brexit will be extended to 22nd May 2019. If however the vote is unsuccessful, the EU Council will allow Article 50 to be extended to 12th April 2019. At that point, the UK would either leave the EU without a deal or "put forward an alternative plan".

Prime Minister requests extension to Brexit

20 March 2019

Prime Minister Theresa May has written to the European Council President, Donald Tusk, to request an extension to the Article 50 period which is currently due to end at 11 p.m. on 29th March 2019. The UK is seeking an extension until 30th June 2019. A copy of the Prime Minister's letter is available on GOV.UK.

First tranche of Scottish BPS 2018 payments underway

20 March 2019

The first tranche of BPS 2018, greening and young farmer payments have begun to be made to Scottish claimants. These payments will be offset by the recovery of BPS 2018 loans where claimants chose to take up that option. Please see the Scottish Government website for further details.

Scottish SAF Application Window Opens

15 March 2019

The Scottish Single Application Form (SAF) window has opened today. Further information about applying online can be found on the Rural Payments and Services website. The application submission deadline is 15th May 2019.

MPs vote to seek Brexit delay

14 March 2019

MPs have voted (412 to 202) to seek a delay to Brexit happening on 29th March 2019. This has to be agreed to by the other 27 EU Member States. Please see the BBC News webpage for further information.

MPs vote to reject 'no deal' Brexit

13 March 2019

MPs have voted again this evening (13th March) and by a small majority (312 to 308) have rejected leaving the EU without a withdrawal agreement. Further information is available on the BBC News website. 

Welsh Woodland Creation and Restoration Schemes to open to bids from 1st April 2019

13 March 2019

Wales' Minister for Environment, Energy and Rural Affairs, Lesley Griffiths, has confirmed that further bidding for projects under the Glastir Woodland Creation and Restoration schemes will open on 1st April 2019. Further information can be found on the Welsh Government website.

Basic Payment Scheme - tips for applying in 2019

13 March 2019

With the BPS 2019 application window opening today in England, CAAV Policy Adviser, Alice De Soer, gives some tips about applying in this week's Farmers Weekly in the attached article.

Chancellor of the Exchequer presents Spring Statement

13 March 2019

The Chancellor of the Exchequer, the Rt Hon Philip Hammond MP, has presented his Spring Statement to the House of Commons. A Written Ministerial Statement is available on GOV.UK together with a summary of what was presented.

Farmers advised to apply early for this year's funding schemes

13 March 2019

With the opening of the BPS 2019 application window today (13th March), as well Countryside Stewardship and Environmental Stewardship annual revenue claim window, farmers are being encouraged to submit applications and claims as early as possible before 15th May 2019 deadline. Please see GOV.UK a press release.

Tony Juniper CBE appointed as Natural England's Chair

13 March 2019

Tony Juniper has been confirmed as Natural England's chair. He will take up the role from 23rd April 2019. Further information is available on GOV.UK.

EU Withdrawal Agreement rejected by MPs

12 March 2019

MPs have voted against the revised EU Withdrawal Agreement this evening by 391 to 242. Further information is available on the BBC News webpage. The Prime Minister's statement to the House of Commons can be found on GOV.UK.

Government issues statement confirming political agreement reached on the EU Withdrawal Agreement

12 March 2019

The Government has issued a statement that political agreement has been reached on the draft EU withdrawal agreement, which has been laid before Parliament last night (11th March) in readiness for this evening's vote. The European Commission has also released a statement.

There are two further documents relating to the withdrawal agreement that have not been included in the documents laid before Parliament which are available on GOV.UK:-

'Instrument relating to the Agreement on the withdrawal of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland from the European Union and the European Atomic Energy Community', and

- 'Declaration by Her Majesty's Government of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland concerning the Northern Ireland Protocol'.

 

Seasonal workers pilot opens

06 March 2019

The seasonal workers pilot has opened and will run until the end of December 2020, when it will be reviewed. Concordia and Pro-Force have been licensed to manage the pilot and will match suitable workers to UK farmers. The pilot will allow up to 2,500 seasonal workers to be employed by fruit and vegetable farmers for up to 6 months. Please see GOV.UK for further information.

New Farming Minister appointed

06 March 2019

Following the resignation last week of the Farming Minister, George Eustice, Robert Goodwill has been appointed as the new Farming Minister. Please see GOV.UK for further information.

Eustice resigns as Farming Minister

28 February 2019

George Eustice MP has resigned from his post as DEFRA Farming Minister after this week's decision to allow the postponement of the UK's exit from the EU if the current deal is rejected. Please see the BBC News website for further information.

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