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Jeremy's Blog 2/7/2020: Planning for Recovery

03 July 2020

This article by Jeremy Moody first appeared in the CAAV e-Briefing of 2nd July 2020.

The interruption to public life and the economy created by the pandemic is now both a prompt and political cover for change in the planning system that would be more controversial in other circumstances.  The Government is beginning to set out its recovery programme, with measures to keep current development moving, to enable change and soon more detail as to how infrastructure and major change in planning will be driven. 

In a Bill taking just a day in the Commons, many English planning permissions that expiring this year are now to be extended to 1st April 2021.  Scotland has already provided for extensions.

Permitted development rights were introduced to stop the detailed planning control system created in 1947 from clogging up with minor applications (and make it more politically palatable).  In the teeth of suspicious planners, they have been much expanded – as by Class Q’s residential conversion of agricultural buildings and equivalent, more controversial rights for offices and other property. 

They are now being widened in England to allow:

  • much existing commercial property, including newly vacant shops but not pubs or village shops, to be changed to residential use
  • many types of retail premises to be converted to cafes or offices
  • the demolition of vacant and redundant residential and commercial buildings to be replaced with houses
  • more rights to add space above properties.

In aiding the re-use of existing sites for housing, these respond to this year’s acceleration of deep changes in property markets, especially for much retail and many high streets, encouraging much private investment as markets drive change that local political processes might find hard. 

The promised planning White Paper seems imminent with talk of a more fundamental move towards zoning for planning.  Measures might seek to drive land on to the market, develop more land value capture and perhaps pick up the Letwin report’s proposal for New Town type approaches to larger housing development.  Equally, the Environment Bill would require biodiversity net gain from development in England, while there may be more National Parks.   

Alongside planning, Project Speed is to accelerate the £640bn of infrastructure intended over the next five years with changes possibly more radical than the Prime Minister’s attack on “newt counting delays”.  A majority Government with four years to go and an economy to revive may have that rare moment to make changes that would otherwise not be possible.

NEW PODCAST - Unlocking Development

03 July 2020

The Prime Minister has set out his vision for investment in the economy to help the UK “build back better” after the Covid-19 pandemic. In this episode, Jeremy Moody discusses how the government is eager to unlock development through reforms to the planning system and investment in infrastructure.

Also available on AppleSpotify and Google Podcasts

Catch-up on previous episodes here

Government agrees to establish a Trade and Agriculture Commission

01 July 2020

Secretary of State for International Trade, Liz Truss, has announced that the Government will establish a Trade and Agriculture Commission to make recommendations for agricultural trade policy, higher animal welfare standards and export opportunities for UK agriculture. The announcement was made on Twitter and reported on the NFU website

Announcing our next Webinar – Dispute Resolution in the Countryside

01 July 2020

CAAV Webinar - Dispute Resolution in the Countryside

Thursday, 16th July 2020

10:15am – 11:30am

Agricultural and other business disputes need cost effective, timely and practical answers.  The courts are clogged and expect people to find other answers. 

With the Agriculture Bill, the CAAV is preparing for its President to appoint arbitrators in tenancy disputes with their considerable powers under the Arbitration Act.  That brings the work of presenting clients’ arguments or in being an expert witness  The CAAV sees this as a larger opportunity to refresh rural dispute resolution and in this webinar Jeremy Moody will provide an overview of arbitration, expert determination and mediation – with blends like med-arb – as well as providing guidance on avoiding disputes by clear thinking, good negotiation and the use of early neutral evaluation. 

Price

The Ticket Price is £45 plus VAT (£54)

Registration

Book here: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/caav-webinar-dispute-resolution-in-the-countryside-tickets-111957285254

 

Prime Minister's Speech on the Economy

30 June 2020

The Prime Minister has made a speech setting out an ambitious programme to drive the economy forward in the recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic. In it he pledged to tackle investment in schools and hospitals, build flood defences and plant 30,000 ha of trees per year and to invest in transport infrastructure, including a study of transport links to the four countries of the United Kingdom. The Government press release can be found on the GOV.UK website

Jeremy's Blog 25th June 2020: Business Review

26 June 2020

This article by Jeremy Moody first appeared in the CAAV e-Briefing of 25th June 2020

UK agriculture typically earns some £22 billion from food production and draws some £3 billion in subsidies with an ex-subsidy surplus of £1 to £2 billion. 

Looking more closely, of that £22 billion of farming’s commercial activity, in descending order:

  • almost 20 per cent comes from dairying with BPS equal to 6% of sales
  • almost 20 per cent from grazing livestock with BPS equal to 34% of sales
  • some 15 per cent from horticulture with almost no BPS
  • some 15 per cent from cereals with BPS equal to 22% of sales
  • almost 15 per cent from poultry with BPS with almost no BPS
  • some 13 per cent from general cropping with BPS equal to 7% of sales
  • about 6 per cent from pigs with BPS equal to 1% of sales.

Those figures, with great differences between individual farms, frame the different potential impacts of the trade negotiations underway with the EU and others.  Alongside tariffs, these concern complex and critical regulatory issues that may be more important and harder to resolve than tariffs for some sectors. Importing sectors like dairy and horticulture might benefit but the risks to sectors with significant exports are clear.

For a generation, area payments have fed into costs and protected business structures that will come under challenge as Basic Payment erodes and goes, starting in England next year.  Many of those farmers who talk of England’s proposed ELMS as a new label on the same income stream are likely to be disappointed by its timing and its lower financial margin.  When available, it may prove an opportunity for some but it will be a contract of “something for something”, involving wanting cost and change in providing public goods for public money.

With the challenge of creating a more profitable and competitive sector, we are inevitably driven back to the work of the Agricultural Productivity Task Force now meeting again.  Its report, published in February, focussed on data, knowledge exchange, innovation, skills and rural infrastructure; that last including the CAAV’s work on enabling proficient people to have access to land. 

Ultimately this is for farm level decisions.  The CAAV is supporting members’ work in helping clients understand and review their businesses.  Reviewing a Business was published in December and we are now going ahead with the deferred Business Review Conference, as a virtual event, on July 27th - details published shortly.  

Tribunals - advice and guidance during Covid-19

23 June 2020

Advice and guidance on how the Tribunals across the UK are dealing with cases during the Covid-19 restrictions is available online. This includes information for applicants on how to submit applications during the restrictions and what level of service is currently being supported. In most cases there are likely to be delays in acknowledging and handling applications while most staff are still not working in their usual offices. The use of email is encouraged rather than post.

For England and Wales, the latest guidance for the Upper Tribunal Lands Chamber and the First Tier Tribunal Property Chamber (which includes the Agricultural Land and Drainage division) is available on the Judiciary website.

The Lands Tribunal for Scotland has coronavirus information here.

For information on the Lands Tribunal of Northern Ireland, go to the Judiciary NI website.

Jeremy's Blog 18th June 2020: Towards Better Arbitration

19 June 2020

 

This article by Jeremy Moody first appeared in the CAAV e-Briefing of 18th June 2020

The Agriculture Bill, moving to its Committee stage in the House of Lords, means that the CAAV is working to be ready for the President’s role as a statutory appointer of arbitrators under the 1986 and 1995 Acts.  That work is also looking more broadly at all forms of dispute resolution, with a wider application than tenancies and across the United Kingdom.  The aim is a service to the rural economy that will enhance what agricultural valuers can do to achieve better answers for their clients.

From Inheritance Tax cases and direct payments to tenancy and planning issues, agricultural valuers are needed to assist clients on a path that can lead from an initial issue through negotiation to full blown dispute resolution, whether arbitration, expert determination, tribunal or court and with or without mediation.  All stages need facts assembled and analysed for effective arguments to be developed.    

This is not only about “dispute resolvers” – whether arbitrators, experts or mediators.  Much more professional work is involved in advising, acting for and representing clients throughout that path from negotiation to resolution.   Competence and confidence in that are as substantial a service as having good arbitrators. 

Many will feel their real successes were in achieving a good answer without a dispute, through careful preparation, realistic assessment and good presentation.  However, where a dispute arises, a well-prepared case with good evidence, drafted so that an independent third party has the material to be able to find for the client, is more likely to succeed.  The Charnley IHT case showed that a good argument (he was “farming the land using my animals”) backed by solid evidence, there from witnesses of fact, will count.

The expert witness is a privileged and responsible central figure in this process; privileged because evidence is normally limited to facts, not opinions, and responsible with the expert’s duty to provide professional opinion founded on skill and experience to the tribunal and the process, not the client.  

Recent cases have shone a spotlight on this role.  Better reported ones, such as Carr v Evelyn where the expert’s role was penalised with indemnity costs, highlight failure.  Others, more quietly as in Stubbins, see a CAAV Fellow tested by “rigorous” examination give “accurate” and “appropriate” assistance to the court.   We see the courts setting a professional standard for a professional job and members able to fulfil that.

CPA Webinar: Top Tips for Going to the Tribunal

12 June 2020

The Compulsory Purchase Association is holding a webinar on Top Tips for Going to the Tribunal, aimed principally at more junior professionals who may not have experienced the Tribunal themselves. The webinar takes place on 29th July 2020 and details may be found on the CPT Events website.

Clarity Needed on Scottish Energy Efficiency Regulations

11 June 2020

The CAAV has joined SLE, Scottish Association of Landlords and Historic Houses Scotland in writing to Kevin Stewart, Minister for Local Government, Housing and Planning, to ask for clarity over the new Energy Efficiency (Domestic Private Rented Property) (Scotland) Regulations. The Regulations were approved in March but were not made, as the Covid-19 pandemic took hold; it is not yet known when the Regulations will be brought into force.

The four organisations have asked:

  • That expenditure incurred now by landlords carrying out energy efficiency improvements be taken into account when the Regulations are brought into force
  • That landlords are given at least 12 months notice of when the Regulations will take effect
  • That the draft Guidance prepared by the Scottish Government is updated and published as soon as possible in order to give support to those landlords who want to prepare now for the introduction of the Regulations

For more detail on the Regulations, listen to our podcast on this subject.

NEW PODCAST on Coming out of Covid

11 June 2020

The Covid-19 pandemic and its restrictions have changed the way we live and work this spring.  Many say that life will never be quite the same again.  But what does the future look like for businesses? What changes might last? How does the economy recover? In this episode, Jeremy Moody tackles these big questions and more as we navigate our journey out of Covid.

Also available on AppleSpotify and Google Podcasts

Catch-up on previous episodes here

Northern Ireland to allow retail to re-open from 12th June

09 June 2020

Northern Ireland's Economy Minister has announced that non-essential retail premises in the province can re-open from Friday 12th June, provided that the necessary safety measures are observed for customers and staff and that there is no increase in new cases of Covid-19.

Ban on evictions in England & Wales extended

08 June 2020

The Government has announced that the ban on evictions from private and social rented housing, put in place to protect tenants during the coronavirus pandemic, will be extended to 23rd August 2020.

Jeremy Moody - ‘Tomorrow’s Work: Perspective on the Future of Land Management’

06 June 2020

Jeremy Moody recently presented a webinar with Land Management 2.0 on ‘Tomorrow’s Work: Perspective on the Future of Land Management’.

You can watch a full recording of the presentation below.

Welsh COVID-19 Dairy Hardship Fund to open for applications from 18th June

04 June 2020

Further to DEFRA's confirmation of the English COVID-19 Dairy Hardship Fund opening for applications from 18th June 2020, the Welsh Government has confirmed that the Welsh fund will open on the same day. 

Eligible Welsh dairy farmers need to show they suffered a reduction of 25% or more in the average milk price they received in April and May, when compared with February 2020. Up to £10,000 funding is available to cover approximately 70% of the lost income.

Farmers will need to provide their Milk Statement covering February, April and May 2020. Payments should be made within 10 days.

The application window will close on 14th August 2020.

English COVID-19 Dairy Hardship Fund to open for applications from 18th June

03 June 2020

DEFRA has confirmed that the COVID-19 dairy hardship fund announced on 6th May will open for applications from 18th June 2020. Up to £10,000 funding will be available for eligible dairy farmers to cover up to 70% of losses experienced during April and May due to the COVID-19 outbreak.

To be eligible, dairy farmers need to show there was a reduction of 25% or more in the base price paid for their milk in April 2020 compared with February 2020.

Guidance and the application form should be published on the gov.uk website before 18th June, but potentially eligible farmers are being encouraged to get ready now by preparing details of production levels in February, April and May 2020.

The RPA expects to start making payments to eligible applicants from 6th July 2020.

Environmental projects given support to attract private sector investment

01 June 2020

Four environmental projects to protect and restore key habitats have been selected for funding under a pilot scheme looking to encourage private sector investment in such projects. The four projects receiving this funding are:-

  • Devon Wildlife Trust - Restoration of the River Caen wetlands;
  • Rivers Trust - Natural Flood Management in the River Wyre catchment;
  • NFU - Poole Harbour Nutrient Management Scheme; and
  • Moors for the Future Partnership - Peatland restoration in the Pennines.

Further details can be found on the gov.uk website.

RPA completes agri-environment scheme bridging payments

01 June 2020

The RPA has confirmed that over 3,800 bridging payments were made in May for 2019 Countryside Stewardship and Environmental Stewardship unpaid revenue claims. Further details can be found on the gov.uk website.

Vacancies for Landowner Lay Members of the Welsh Agricultural Land Tribunal

28 May 2020

The Welsh Agricultural Land Tribunal is seeking to appoint 3 landowner lay members to its panel. Successful applicants should have a good knowledge and experience of land management in Wales and be able to bring that to bear in considering cases.

The closing date for applications is 10th June 2020 and further details are available on the Judicial Appointments Commission website.

NEW PODCAST on Borwick v Clear Water – the fish that got away!

28 May 2020

The recent Court of Appeal decision in Borwick Development Solutions Limited v Clear Water Fisheries Limited considered whether solar panels and commercial fish pass to a buyer of the land.  As the first such case on solar panels and with few legal precedents for the fish, Jeremy Moody gives a fascinating commentary on the case where fish possibly worth over £1m got away!

Also available on Apple, Spotify and Google Podcasts

Catch-up on previous episodes here

Oxford Farming Conference goes virtual for 2021

21 May 2020

The organisers of the Oxford Farming Conference have announced that it will be held as a one day digital event on Thursday 7th January 2021.

From June to December 2020, OFC will hold monthly webinars to debate themes from previous conferences. To register for the free OFC Bitesize webinars, go to https://www.ofc.org.uk/conference/2021

NEW PODCAST on the energy efficiency regulations for let houses in Scotland

19 May 2020

New Regulations have been made in Scotland which will prevent landlords from letting private rented residential property if it has an EPC in Band F or G. Originally due to come into force on 1st April 2020, their introduction was postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic. Kate Russell explains what the Regulations will require and offers some tips for landlords to plan head for their introduction.

Also available on Apple, Spotify and Google Podcasts

Catch-up on previous episodes here

Agriculture Bill completes House of Commons journey

14 May 2020

The Agriculture Bill passed its final stages in the House of Commons yesterday (13th May 2020) and should be on track to pass through Parliament by this summer. Further information is available in DEFRA's Blog.

Covid-19: Estate and Letting Agents may re-open in England

13 May 2020

Estate agents and letting agents may re-open in England as the latest public health regulations, which come into force today (13th May 2020) now permit people to leave their homes in order to

  • Visit estate or letting agents, developer sales offices or show homes
  • View residential properties to look for a property to buy or rent
  • Prepare a residential property to move in
  • Move home
  • Visit a residential property to undertake any activities required for the rental or sale of that property.

COVID-19: Government extends furlough scheme to October

12 May 2020

The Government has announced that it will extend its furlough scheme to the end of October. From August, furloughed workers will be able to return to work part-time and employers will be asked to pay a contribution to the cost of furlough salaries. Further detail is available on the GOV.UK website.

Wales announces new funding to support dairy farmers affected by COVID-19

11 May 2020

Wales' Rural Affairs Minister, Lesley Griffiths, has announced funding for eligible dairy farmers affected by the COVID-19 outbreak. Where dairy farmers have lost more than 25% of their income in April and May, they should be entitled for up to £10,000 funding to cover 70% of lost income. Further information is available on the gov.wales website.

Agriculture Bill proceeds to next stage in Parliament

07 May 2020

DEFRA has confirmed that the Agriculture Bill has been scheduled to complete its remaining stages in the House of Commons next Wednesday, 13th May 2020. It is still anticipated that the Bill should receive Royal Assent this summer.

New hardship fund to support dairy farmers affected by COVID-19 outbreak

06 May 2020

DEFRA has announced a new hardship fund for English dairy farmers to assist with the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak. Each farmer should be able to access up to £10,000 funding to cover 70% of lost income during April and May. Please see the gov.uk website for a news release. Further details of this new hardship fund will be issued "in due course".

Marian Spain appointed as Natural England's chief executive

05 May 2020

Marian Spain has been appointed as the permanent chief executive of Natural England, having been serving as interim chief executive since December 2018. Please see the gov.uk website for further details.

Pick for Britain - seasonal farm work

29 April 2020

The Pick for Britain website https://pickforbritain.org.uk/ offers information and guidance on seasonal jobs in agriculture, with links to jobs, frequently asked questions and Government guidance. Those who have been furloughed by employers may be able to take on seasonal farm work if their contract of employment does not prevent it.

RPA confirms bridging payments for outstanding 2019 Stewardship revenue payments

28 April 2020

The RPA has confirmed that bridging payments will be issued to Countryside Stewardship and Environmental Stewardship agreement holders who have not received a 2019 revenue claim payment. The payments should be 75% of the current estimated claim value and issued this May. Please see the gov.uk website for further details.

NEW PODCAST - Good Practice in Statutory Compensation Claims

28 April 2020

Kate Russell of the CAAV explains why good practice is so important in compulsory purchase and other statutory compensation claims and highlights some of the key messages for agents involved in this work.

Also available on Apple, Spotify and Google Podcasts

Catch-up on previous episodes here

 

 

Extra month to claim for farm payments in England

27 April 2020

Government has confirmed a one month extension to claim for farm payments in England. The 15th May deadline has been extended to 15th June 2020 for BPS 2020 applications and 2020 revenue claims for Countryside Stewardship and Environmental Stewardship. Please see the press release on the gov.uk website for further details.

Dairy sector crisis - Government to relax competition law

20 April 2020

The Government has confirmed that it will temporarily relax some competition law so that the dairy processing industry can work together to manage supply and demand during the coronavirus pandemic. In recent weeks some dairy farmers have had to throw away fresh milk because their buyers have lost catering and food service contracts. It is hoped that the temporary relaxation will allow more fresh milk to be processed into longer-life products, such as cheese, butter, or skimmed milk powder.

Covid-19 and Rights of Way

17 April 2020

Michelmores Solicitors has published a useful article on options for landowners facing busy rights of way during the coronavirus pandemic. The article can be found on the Michelmores website.

Bookings are now open for the CAAV’s new webinar on Contract Farming

17 April 2020

Contract Farming Webinar

Thursday, 30th April 2020

10:15 - 11:15am 

With many farmers and landowners needing to look hard at and review their businesses, joint ventures offer one possible answer. Contract farming agreements have developed as one form of joint venture approach that has suited many. They can be flexible, give access to skills and machinery but need to be done properly.

Widely used in combineable cropping, the CAAV has updated its publication “Arable Farming with Contractors” and now looked at extending its use to livestock in a new publication, “Contract Farming for Breeding Livestock”.

In this webinar, Jeremy Moody gives a guide to the principles and practice of contract farming, including: -

  • What defines a contract farming agreement?
  • How is it different from other types of agreement?
  • Why and when might it be used or be avoided?
  • How to operate an agreement?
  • What are the bases for remuneration?
  • Where can they go wrong and how to avoid that?

He will also explore how to handle issues from taxation and support schemes to employment and housing.

The Ticket Price is £45 plus VAT (£54)

BOOK HERE 

Contact email for this event: elaine@caav.org.uk

 

Government issues formal Notice to Proceed for HS2

15 April 2020

The Government has issued the formal Notice to Proceed for HS2 Phase 1, which enables the detailed design work and then construction to begin for the London to West Midlands section of the railway.

Scottish Government calls for responsible use of rights of access during Covid-19

09 April 2020

The Scottish Government has called on people to be responsible in their use of rights of access to the countryside during the Covid-19 pandemic, suggesting that people should stay in their local area, maintain social distancing, respect the health and safety of farm workers and keep dogs under control.

Lantra Scotland Skills Matching Service

09 April 2020

Lantra Scotland has set up a Skills Matching Service to help rural and land-based businesses find staff with suitable skills and to help those looking for work to find suitable positions. Visit the Lantra Scotland website for more information.

NEW PODCAST on Electrical Safety Standards for Private Rented Property in England

09 April 2020

New Regulations will come into force in England in 2020 which will require all landlords of residential premises to carry out electrical safety inspections every five years. New tenancies will need to comply from 1st July 2020 and existing tenancies from 1st April 2021. Kate Russell of the CAAV reviews the new Regulations and explains what they will mean for landlords and their advisers.

Also available on Apple, Spotify and Google Podcasts

Catch-up on previous episodes here

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