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DEFRA announces outstanding agri-environment payments to be made in July

19 June 2019

DEFRA has announced today that Environmental Stewardship (ES) and Countryside Stewardship (CS) agreement holders who have not as yet received a full payment for 2015-2018 annual revenue claims should receive a Treasury-funded payment in July whilst the RPA continues to process these annual revenue claims. 

This payment should be for 100% of the estimated claim value held on the RPA's IT system at the point in time the payment is made. Emails and letters from the RPA should start going out this morning to affected agreement holders to inform them of this announcement.  Further information is available on GOV.UK. 

An interview with the RPA's CEO, Paul Caldwell, about these payments was aired on this morning's edition of BBC Radio 4's Farming Today.

Website Update Notice

18 June 2019

Please note that this website is being updated on Wednesday, 19th June 2019, and you may encounter some minor interference whilst navigating the site.

We thank you for your patience and trust you will not encounter too much inconvenience.

DEFRA announces 3 new general licences

13 June 2019

DEFRA has announced that three new general licences will be available from Friday 14th June. The new licences will allow users to control certain species of wild birds in order to:

  • conserve wild birds and flora or fauna (WML GL34)
  • preserve public health or public safety (WML GL35)
  • prevent serious damage to livestock, foodstuffs for livestock, crops, vegetables, fruit, growing timber, fisheries or inland waters (WML GL36)

  Further detail is available on the GOV.UK website.

Prime Minister announces net zero emissions by 2050

12 June 2019

The Prime Minister, Theresa May, has announced that the UK will work towards a target of net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. Legislation has been laid today to set this target in law. For further information, please see DEFRA's blog on GOV.UK.

Judicial Appointments Commission: Members of the First-tier Tribunal, Property Chamber

11 June 2019

The Judicial Appointments Commission is advertising posts for fee-paid Professional Members of the First-tier Tribunal (Property Chamber). The application process will open on 10th July and close on 24th July 2019. Details can be found on the JAC website at https://www.judicialappointments.gov.uk/vacancies/136  

The JAC is also advertising for fee-paid Valuer Chairmen and Valuers for the same Tribunal - the closing date for these posts is 19th June 2019 and details can be found at https://www.judicialappointments.gov.uk/vacancies/132

HS2 website for Buckinghamshire & Oxfordshire works

11 June 2019

HS2 has published a website giving information on the progress of the scheme in Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire, including contact details, forthcoming events and details of the works currently being carried out. The website can be found at https://hs2inbucksandoxfordshire.commonplace.is/

Environment Agency warning over baled waste scam

05 June 2019

The Environment Agency has warned landowners to be aware that criminal gangs may seek to use land or buildings to store baled waste temporarily but then abandon the site, leaving the landowner facing the clean-up costs.

The EA has given the following advice for landlords and landowners:

  • Carry out rigorous checks on prospective new tenants. Land and property owners have a responsibility to ensure anyone leasing their land/premises complies with regulations, so it is essential that you establish how and for what they are going to use the land/property.
  • Check any empty land and property regularly and make sure it is secure.
  • It is illegal to store waste on your land without the required permits. You may be committing an offence by allowing waste to be stored on your land or property without the relevant permissions and you could be liable to prosecution and the cost of removing the waste.
  • Landlords should check before signing a contract that the contract complies with regulations. You can view whether a potential tenant holds the correct permit to carry out waste operations at https://www.gov.uk/guidance/access-the-public-register-for-environmental-information.
  • The offer of payment to temporarily store waste is a scam, the waste will likely never be collected.
  • Be vigilant and report any unusual behaviour. If you are suspicious of prospective tenants please contact us for more information and advice.
  • If you are approached to store baled waste, even on a short term basis, refuse the material and call the Environment Agency on 0800 80 70 60 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

Scottish RP & S website - unavailable this weekend

31 May 2019

The Scottish Rural Payments and Services website will be unavailble from midnight on Friday 31st May to midnight on Sunday 2nd June to allow for routine maintenance.

Natural Capital Management Training Course

30 May 2019

The Ecosystems Knowledge Network is offering a Natural Capital Management Training Course for rural land owners, estate managers and their advisers. The course is to be held

  • on 3rd July 2019 at Throws Farm Conference Centre, Essex, CM6 3AQ
  • on 25th September 2019 at Lilleshall National Sports & Conference Centre, Shropshire, TF10 9AT

The cost is £275 and CAAV members are entitled to a 20% discount. Further details are available on the EKN website.

UCEM - New rural route for Chartered Surveyor Degree Apprenticeship

29 May 2019

NEW UNIVERSITY COLLEGE OF ESTATE MANAGEMENT COURSE

RURAL ROUTE FOR CHARTERED SURVEYOR DEGREE APPRENTICESHIP

A second degree apprenticeship course giving entry to the rural profession is starting this autumn at the University College of Estate Management (UCEM) at Reading.

With the course at Harper Adams now entering its second year, the UCEM course, developed in conjunction with professional practices:

  • leads to a Real Estate degree, not a specifically rural one
  • but with a rural dissertation in the fourth and final year
  • expects the employer to enable the apprentice to satisfy all the competencies required by the RICS for its APC.

The combination of professional work and training with the course and dissertation offers a route towards qualification with the CAAV.

UCEM says:

UCEM is pleased to announce that it has added a rural route to its Chartered Surveyor Degree apprenticeship.

The rural route includes an RICS accredited BSc (Hons) Real Estate Management degree, professional practice workshops and the RICS Rural APC pathway as the end-point assessment.  The project that is completed in the final year of the four-year BSc degree will be on a Rural topic and will be supervised and marked by a Rural Real Estate academic.

This route does not include a specialist Rural degree, the employer will be required to provide the apprentice with workplace training to enable all (Level 1, 2 and 3) competencies required by the RICS for the Rural APC pathway to be met. UCEM will need to be confident that the apprentice will have the opportunity to develop these competencies in the workplace before accepting the apprentice.

The Chartered Surveyor Degree Apprenticeship is a Level 6 apprenticeship and the funding cap is £27k. Apprenticeship Levy payers will pay this sum from their Levy account. Non-Levy payers will pay 5% of the total cost of the apprenticeship. The apprenticeship lasts for 56 months, of which the degree takes 48 months. The final 8 months allows the apprentices to finalise their structured training, case study and CPD and prepare for final APC assessment.

For further details, please contact Meryl Bonser on m.bonser@ucem.ac.uk

DEFRA launches £10m Urban Tree Challenge Fund

20 May 2019

DEFRA has announced a new Urban Tree Challenge Fund which will see £10 million funding made available to encourage the planting of more than 130,000 trees in "green urban areas" across England's towns and cities over the next two years. The fund will open for applications this week and will require match funding from successful applicants. Further information can be found on GOV.UK.

DEFRA publishes first review of 25 Year Environment Plan

16 May 2019

DEFRA has published the first progress report for the 25 Year Environment Plan which was launched in January 2018. The progress report shows that up to March 2019, 90% of the plan's actions have been delivered or are being progressed. Further details can be found in the press release on GOV.UK.

Driving forward low carbon farming in Scotland

09 May 2019

A new farmer-led initiative to drive low-carbon, environmentally sustainable farming practices in Scotland has been launched as part of the Farming for a Better Climate (FFBC) programme. Further information is available on the Scottish Government website.

Tips and reminders for English BPS 2019 applications

07 May 2019

With just over one week until 15 May deadline for BPS 2019 claims, the CAAV's Alice De Soer gives essential tips about applying in England in the attached Farmers Weekly article.

House of Lords Committee calls for rural strategy for England

29 April 2019

The House of Lords Select Committee on the Rural Economy has published a report calling on the Government to develop a rural strategy for England and help realise the potential of rural economies. The report "Time for a Strategy for the Rural Economy" can be downloaded from the Parliament website.

New Surveyor Members Sought for Upper Tribunal

26 April 2019

Two new Surveyor Members are sought for the Upper Tribunal (Lands Chamber), with one to start in 2019 and the other in 2020. Full details are available on the Judicial Appointments Commission website and the closing date for applications for both posts is 7th May 2019.

Although some cases are heard in London and others elsewhere in England and Wales, home-working is permitted and daily attendance in London is not required.

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.

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