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Government announces a moratorium on fracking in England

04 November 2019

The Government has announced a moratorium on fracking in England after the Oil and Gas Authority concluded that it was not currently possible to accurately predict the probability or magnitude of tremors associated with hydraulic fracturing.

Fracking operations at Cuadrilla's Preston site were suspended in August when an earthquake measuring 2.9 was recorded nearby.

Further information is available on the GOV.UK website.

Jeremy to speak at Farming Connect events in Wales

04 November 2019

Jeremy Moody will be speaking at a series of Farming Connect events across Wales starting in Ffostrasol, near Llandysul, tonight. He will be presenting under the title of ‘Preparing for Change’.

Take a look at the video (prepared by Farming Connect) showing highlights of his recent presentation at the Innovation & Diversification Wales event.

View Video

Kate Russell on the NSA’s Brexit Toolkit Podcast

01 November 2019

As a part of the National Sheep Association’s Brexit Toolkit, our Kate Russell took part in a podcast where she gave her top diversification tips.

Listen here 

CAAV Fees Survey 2019 - reminder!

01 November 2019

A reminder for all CAAV members: please complete the 2019 CAAV Fees Survey! The survey form is on the CAAV website under Members Docs/Professional Matters/Fees.

£35m funding for rural businesses under the Growth Programme

01 November 2019

DEFRA has confirmed that £35m (which could be increased to £50m subject to the number of "high-quality" applications received) of funding is being made available to rural businesses under the Growth Programme.  The funding is available for projects which create new jobs, increase business turnover, improve productivity, etc. The minimum grant threshold has been reduced from £35,000 to £20,000 to allow smaller businesses to be eligible for a grant.

The Expression of Interest (EOI) window will open on Monday 4th November 2019 and the deadline for submitting an EOI is Sunday 16th February 2020. A news release is available on the GOV.UK website. Guidance and an EOI form should also be published on the GOV.UK website shortly.

Farmland letting remains subdued

30 October 2019

Area-based subsidy payments have subdued farmland letting across England and Wales since their introduction in 2003 – and continued to do so in 2018.

According to the annual Central Association of Agricultural Valuer’s (CAAV) Agricultural Land Occupation Survey, very little land changed hands in the year to 31 October 2018, with fresh lettings falling by 15% to 4,651 acres. Jeremy Moody, secretary and adviser to the CAAV, attributes this to area payments, which rewards the occupation of land, “We are seeing a situation whereby good land is not being used as effectively as it could be; more land could be let were it not for the Basic Payment.”

In addition, the average length of Farm Business Tenancy (FBTs) - including seasonal grazing - declined from 3.97 years last year to just 2.9 years in 2018 – or from 4.98 years to 4.14 years where short-term lets of under a year are excluded.

“This appears to reflect the caution of both owners and prospective tenants about being committed to longer term arrangements ahead of potential post-Brexit changes to trade and support,” says Mr Moody. “A 10-year tenancy let in autumn 2018 would run until autumn 2028 and so potentially see the complete removal of Basic Payment and many other changes to markets and rules.”

However, larger and fully equipped units are generally let for longer on average – at seven and half years - than bare land, enabling both landlord and tenant to plan for the future.

Despite the stagnation of the sector since 2003, the extensive adoption of FBTs means that the tenanted sector in England and Wales is larger than it was before the 1995 reforms. “Now half of all let land across the two countries is in FBTs,” says Mr Moody.

“While old tenancies under the Agricultural Holdings Act 1986 still cover a significant share of agricultural land, successions are to predominantly larger, well equipped farms, rather than bare land.”

Where old succession tenancies ended, the land was re-let in 65% of cases, while 92% of FBTs were re-let. “Fresh lets marginally outweighed losses from sales and land being taken back in-hand, resulting in a small net increase of 1,588 acres in the area of let land. This compares with an average annual gain of 35,000 acres between 1996 and 2003 and annual losses before tenancy reform of 60-90,000 acres,” says Mr Moody.

“In reality, the trend continues of a virtual standstill since 2003, when the first indications of the impact of CAP reform were becoming apparent and particularly since 2006 once entitlements to the Single Payment Scheme had been allocated.”

The main source of lettings was from private landowners, not institutions or public sector bodies, and new entrants accounted for 23% of lettings where the land went to a new occupier, he adds. New entrants tended to obtain longer tenancies than existing tenants, with a third taking on a term of more than five years against just 8% among existing tenants.

CAAV AGRICULTURAL LAND OCCUPATION SURVEYS 2018 - KEY POINTS

Scotland: Landscape Leadership Programme

28 October 2019

Scottish Land and Estates and Soil Association Scotland have joined forces to offer a Landscape Leadership Programme aimed at land managers who want to effect environmental change at a landscape scale.

"We want to hear from applicants who have a vision of the environmental change they want to see in their landscape, but who are facing barriers to change. The Landscape Leadership programme will help develop the skills needed to make that change happen."

The closing date for applications is 22nd November 2019 and further details can be found on the Soil Association Scotland website.

Crown Estate Scotland - 2018/19 Report and Accounts

28 October 2019

Crown Estate Scotland has published its Annual Report and Accounts for the year ending 31st March 2019.

Highlights from the 2018-19 annual report include:

  • £11.4m revenue profit returned to The Scottish Government for public spending, against target of £7.3m
  • The launch of the Local Management Pilots Scheme, enabling communities and local authorities to apply to manage Scottish Crown Estate assets
  • The development of ScotWind Leasing, a new offshore wind leasing process for future projects in Scottish waters, which will play a key part in helping Scotland reach its net zero emissions targets
  • Investment of £4.4m capital in the rural estate, including new buildings, water and electrical supply improvements and tenancy restructures
  • Facilitating a number of major ports and harbours projects around the country

EU agrees to Brexit "flextension" until 31st January 2020

28 October 2019

The President of the EU Council, Donald Tusk, has confirmed agreement in principle to there being a "flextension" to Brexit until 31st January 2020 if required. Further details can be found on the BBC News website.

Soils in Practice Events

28 October 2019

Farmers Weekly is running two Soils in Practice events, on 12th November 2019 at Coldstream in the Borders and on 14th November 2019 at Duxford in Cambridgeshire.

The events aim to help attendees understand some of the practical steps that can be taken to measure and promote healthy soil in a sustainable farm setting. Experts will present interactive theoretical and practical sessions on topics including: measuring soil components, nutrient management and pest mitigation, cover crops, organic matter utilisation and the likely implications of incoming legislation on soil health.

Details are available at https://www.fwi.co.uk/ms/events/soils-in-focus/

Lack of rural housing is a barrier to progressive farming

24 October 2019

Issues with rural housing are obstructing farming retirement and new entrants, limiting the progression of UK agriculture, says the Central Association of Agricultural Valuers (CAAV).  It needs to be freed up to help handle the loss of Basic Payment.

A new report on Retirement Housing for farmers in the United Kingdom, has highlighted specific issues in rural housing, flagging up the need to make changes in order to allow the younger generation to drive the industry forward.  Housing is so often found to be the obstacle to farming retirement and opportunities for entry.

The report, written by Jeremy Moody, secretary and adviser to the CAAV, for a consortium of the CAAV, University College of Estate Management (UCEM), The Prince’s Countryside Fund, The Royal Agricultural University and Northumbrian Water Group, highlights how lack of affordable housing can prevent farmers from retiring.

Farming is a multi-generational venture, explains Mr Moody. “Around 84% are second generation, but measures to enable the retirement of the older generation and the opening of doors for the younger generation are severely restricted.  Yet we shall need the greatest flexibility in this to manage post-Brexit change in the sector and give opportunities to the next generation.

“Sufficient housing is needed by everyone in the sector, but it’s frequently scarce and expensive in rural areas,” he explains. “Housing is one key obstacle to farmers when scaling down or retiring - whether through lack of availability or limitations in affording it.”

After considering a wide range of issues in understanding and tackling the practical problems around farming retirement and housing, the next steps are about turning this work into effective action across the UK. “We need to identify, share and promote good practice to encourage progressively better performance,” says Mr Moody.

Some solutions discussed in the report include relaxing local planning for retiring and for new farmers, such as rural exception sites, farm building conversion, tax allowances and the development of affordable housing. We also need to promote the opportunities now in policies to provide housing for the next farming generation, so that the retiring farmer can stay in the house he has always lived in, he adds.

“Taking this work forward will be about encouraging imaginative practice, proactive and positive behaviour and innovative solutions among all, from local planning authorities to families considering their future or discussions within landlord/tenant relationships,” says Mr Moody. “This needs to be in place as farmers react to the loss of Basic Payment, so we can manage change practically and give the best start to the proficient farmers of the future.”

 

Click here for the full report.

China opens doors to British Beef

19 October 2019

The Chinese government has finalised details of a UK-China agreement meaning UK farmers and beef producers will have full access to the Chinese market, estimated to be worth £230 million, for the first time in over 20 years. Further details can be found on the GOV.UK website.

Developer fined £300,000 for illegal tree felling

16 October 2019

The director of a property development company and the company itself - Enzo Homes - have been fined a total of £300,000 for the illegal felling of a giant redwood and 72 other trees near Swansea. The trees had been subject to a Tree Preservation Order. The tree surgeon who carried out the work was also fined £120,000 at Swansea Magistrates Court.

Government to introduce "ground-breaking" Environment Bill

15 October 2019

Later today (15th October), the government will introduce the Environment Bill to Parliament "to tackle the biggest environmental priorities of our time, signalling a historic step change in the way we protect and enhance our precious natural environment." Further details can be found on the GOV.UK website.

State Opening of Parliament - Queen's Speech

14 October 2019

The State Opening of Parliament took place ealier today and the Queen's Speech set out the government's agenda for the next session of Parliament. It annouced 26 Bills, including the reintroduction of the Agriculture Bill and an Environment Bill.

Chief Veterinary Officers urge poultry keepers to prepare for winter Avian Flu threat

07 October 2019

Poultry keepers are being urged by the Chief Veterinary Officers across the UK to make preparations now in order to reduce the risk of avian influenza in their birds over the coming winter months. Please see the GOV.UK website for further information.

Scottish National Student Award 2020

04 October 2019

The Scottish Land Commission is offering a £1,000 award to any student studying at a Scottish academic institution who undertakes a land reform related piece of research. The closing date for submissions is 24th January 2020 and details are available on the Scottish Land Commission website.

Prime Minister delivers Statement on Brexit Negotiations

03 October 2019

Earlier today, Prime Minister Boris Johnson delivered a Statement in the House of Commons on the Brexit negotiations with the EU. The Statement can be viewed on the GOV.UK website.

Use tax relief to boost farm productivity by £100m

03 October 2019

Adopting an Irish model of Income Tax relief in the UK could boost farmland lettings and increase agricultural productivity by over £100m.

According to a review of data from the Irish Revenue by the Central Association of Agricultural Valuers (CAAV), the area of let land in Ireland rose to cover 7% of farmland in 2017, compared to just 2% in 2011. This followed an increase in Income Tax relief introduced in 2015 on farmland let for more than five years, explains Jeremy Moody, secretary and adviser to the CAAV. “This has had a profound effect on encouraging the letting of land and if adopted in the UK could be very beneficial.”

The increased relief starts at €18,000 (£16,000) per year for a five-to-seven-year tenancy, going up to €40,000 (£35,500) for 15-year leases.*

As a result, around 450,000 acres were newly let at arm’s length for more than five years from 2015 to 2017. “By the end of 2017 a country with no tenancy system for over a century had created 10,000 landlords,” says Mr Moody.

Initial modelling of the same relief for the UK suggests that if a further 4% of farmland in Great Britain and 15% in Northern Ireland were let in this way, the productivity gain could top £100m, explains Mr Moody. “Ireland has seen a higher proportion of farmland let for five years or more between 2015 and 2017 than England, Scotland and Wales have under all new forms of tenancy. Ireland now has 7% of its farmland let for such periods compared to about 5% in Great Britain under FBTs and limited duration tenancies, and none in Northern Ireland. There’s much greater potential for land to be let across the UK, it just needs the right encouragement.”

Increasing access to land for proficient farmers is one key to answering the UK’s agricultural productivity challenge, highlights Mr Moody. “Both Ireland and the UK have poor performance when it comes to agricultural productivity growth – averaging just 1% a year for many years. As shown in the Horizon** report, had we kept pace with the US since 2000, the contribution of UK farming to the rural economy would have been £4.3bn higher by 2013. 

“If the UK had achieved this, it would have almost doubled the Total Income From Farming, which was £4.7bn in 2018,” he says.

Moving forward, land mobility should be an important component in achieving Defra’s targets to increase the growth of UK agriculture, adds Mr Moody. “The availability of land for productive and proficient farmers who will adopt new technologies and practices needs to be improved. Adopting an Income Tax relief policy similar to that of Ireland could be the key to making this happen.”

CAAV Review Paper: TAXATION, Agricultural Productivity and Land Occupation

Government announces new measures to protect animal welfare and increase woodland cover

02 October 2019

The Government has announced proposals to introduce a ban on long journeys of live animals being transported for slaughter and to create a new forest in Northumberland.

There is due to be a public consultation on minimising live animal journeys "in due course", following recommendations made by the Farm Animal Welfare Committee (renamed the Animal Welfare Committee with effect from 1st October 2019).

The new Great Northumberland Forest should see the creation of three new forests in Northumberland, with up to one million trees planted between 2020 and 2024.

Further details of the proposals are available on the GOV.UK website.

Scottish National Basic Payment Support Scheme 2019 Payments Underway

01 October 2019

Scottish Basic Payment Scheme (BPS) 2019 loan payments should begin to arrive in bank accounts from 4th October 2019, as confirmed in this Scottish Government news release. These National Basic Payment Support Scheme payments should be for 95% of the estimated BPS 2019 and greening payment value and will be issued to over 13,450 Scottish BPS claimants. Loan offer letters should have been received during September and it is still possible to accept a loan scheme offer. Further information is available on the Scottish Government's Rural Payments and Services website.

Independent review calls for radical shakeup of England's National Parks

23 September 2019

A major independent review commissioned by DEFRA and led by Julian Glover has called for radical shakeup of the running of National Parks and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty in England. Further information is available on the GOV.UK website. DEFRA will now consider the recommendations made in the review.

DEFRA opens £2 million fund to restore flood-affected farmland

20 September 2019

Farmers in parts of North Yorkshire and Wainfleet, Lincolnshire affected by flooding over the summer can now apply to the Farming Recovery Fund for grants of between £500 and £25,000 for a range of farm restoration work, including rebuilding dry stone walls, re-cultivating productive land and replacing damaged gates. Further details on how to apply are available on the GOV.UK website.

Charities say £3 billion per year needed to support nature-friendly farming

19 September 2019

The National Trust, the Wildlife Trusts and the RSPB have said that at least £2.9 billion per year is needed to support nature-friendly farming in the UK post-Brexit; just under the current CAP UK budget of £3.2 billion.

The charities said:

"For decades, farmers have struggled within the CAP’s food and farming system that delivers little profit for their produce and few incentives to deliver positive outcomes for the environment. Once we leave the EU and these payments stop, alternative policies will need to be put in place in each of the four UK countries.

"The revised figure published today provides justification for re-investing the current annual UK CAP budget to help farmers and land managers to restore nature and tackle climate change on their land, securing a sustainable future for farming and helping the UK Government and devolved administrations to achieve their own environmental ambitions."

Brexit Business Readiness Events

16 September 2019

The Government is arranging Brexit Business Readiness Events across the UK to help you prepare, starting Monday 16 September. Join us at a free event in your area to meet government advisers and to find out what actions your business needs to take to prepare.

The events will combine a keynote address, interactive support, advice stands and in-depth sessions led by subject matter experts. They will provide you with specific business-focused advice and help.

Register to attend an event at: https://registration.livegroup.co.uk/brexitbusinessreadinessevents/

Further dates and locations will be announced as they are confirmed.

You can also view a typical event agenda and some Frequently Asked Questions at the address above.

Government announces £56 million allocation of farm funding across the UK

09 September 2019

Following recommendations made in an independent review led by Lord Bew which was looking at what factors should be used to determine the distribution of Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) 'convergence' funding, the Government has confirmed it will allocate £56.59m of new funding. This should address concerns around the formula used to distribute this 'convergence' funding across the UK so that it rewards land that previously received less CAP funding per hectare than the EU average. The agriculture funding for 2020-2022 should therefore be increased in Wales and Scotland, with Scotland receiving approximately £51.4m. Further details are available on the GOV.UK website.

Warning: More fake CAAV emails

29 August 2019

We have been told that emails continue to circulate which claim to be from the CAAV, asking members to verify their details. PLEASE DO NOT RESPOND TO THESE EMAILS - they are not from the CAAV. Please ignore and delete them.

Best Practice in Compulsory Purchase and Compensation (Members Only)

27 August 2019

The CAAV's Kate Russell will chair a series of seminars on Best Practice in Compulsory Purchase and Compensation this autumn in Leeds, Bristol, Birmingham, London and Manchester. CAAV members are entitled to a discount when booking before 9th September 2019 by entering the discount code CAAV820. Further information can be found at https://cptevents.co.uk/event/best-practice-in-compulsory-purchase-and-compensation-1

Warning: Fake CAAV emails

27 August 2019

There appear to be fake emails circulating which purport to be from the CAAV, asking members to validate their details for our database. These emails were not sent by the CAAV and members are advised not to respond to it. We recommend that members ignore the request and delete the email. 

HS2: Government to hold review of whether and how to proceed

21 August 2019

The Government has announced an independently-led review of HS2 to review whether and how the scheme should proceed. The review is expected to report in autumn 2019 in order to inform the "Notice to Proceed" decision for Phase 1, which is to be made by the end of the year.

Further details are available on the GOV.UK website.

English water companies commit to planting 11 million trees by 2030

19 August 2019

As part of a wider commitment to achieving a carbon neutral water industry by 2030, English water companies have announced plans to plant 11 million trees over 6,000 hectares across England. Further information is available on the Water UK website.

Prince's Countryside Fund donates £50,000 funding to Yorkshire farmers affected by flooding

12 August 2019

The Prince's Countryside Fund has announced £50,000 of emergency funding to assist farmers and rural communities affected by the recent flooding in Reeth and Arkengarthdale, North Yorkshire. The funding is being provided via The Addington Fund. Further information is available on the Prince's Countryside Fund website.  The Addington Fund is also working with Forage Aid to assist farmers whose livestock have been affected and are in need of forage and/or bedding.

£5.25m emergency funding for Whaley Bridge

12 August 2019

£5.25m of emergency government funding has been made available to assist local communities and businesses impacted by the recent flooding at Whaley Bridge. Further information is available on the GOV.UK website.

Paul Maynard confirmed as HS2 Minister

09 August 2019

With Ministerial responsibilities now being clarified following Boris Johnson's appointment as Prime Minister, the Department for Transport has confirmed that responsibility for HS2 has returned to Paul Maynard, MP for Blackpool North and Cleveleys, who returns to a role he held previously.

£2.5 million extra funding for farmers working together on environmental projects

05 August 2019

The fourth national round of funding for the Countryside Stewardship Facilitation Fund has opened for applications today. An additional £2.5 million fund has been made available for groups of farmers and landowners to apply for financial support to work together as a facilitation group to deliver landscape-scale environmental improvements over a three year period. Further information can be found on the GOV.UK website.

RPA confirms Treasury-funded agri-environment claims paid

31 July 2019

Following the announcement made in June, the RPA has confirmed that the Treasury-funded payments for outstanding Countryside Stewardship and Environmental Stewardship annual revenue claims 2015-2018 have now been completed. For further information, please see GOV.UK.

Eustice reappointed as DEFRA Minister

27 July 2019

George Eustice has been reappointed as a DEFRA Minister. Having been a DEFRA Minister since May 2015, he resigned earlier this year over concerns relating to Brexit. Mr. Eustice replaces Robert Goodwill. Further information is available on the GOV.UK website.

Prime Minister's statement on priorities for the government

26 July 2019

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has made a statement in the House of Commons on the priorities for the government. The statement can be viewed on the GOV.UK website.

Teresa Villiers confirmed as new Environment Secretary

25 July 2019

Following yesterday's Cabinet reshuffle which saw Michael Gove become Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, Teresa Villiers has been confirmed as the new Secretary of State for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.

Boris Johnson delivers first speech as Prime Minister

24 July 2019

Boris Johnson has delivered his first speech as Prime Minister this afternoon. The transcript of the speech is available on the GOV.UK website.

Boris Johnson elected as new Conservative leader

23 July 2019

Boris Johnson has been elected as the new leader of the Conservative Party and will take over as Prime Minister later this week. The ballot results were: Johnson - 92,153 and Hunt - 46,656. Further details are available on the BBC News website.

Education is crucial to agriculture’s future, says CAAV

11 July 2019

Education is crucial to agriculture’s future, says CAAV

 

Educating the younger generation and embracing technology will be crucial to safeguarding the future of agriculture in the UK, a group of professionals has warned.

The approach taken towards attracting young people to pursue an education and career in farming needs to change to ensure the industry can survive, said speakers at the Central Association of Agricultural Valuers’ (CAAV) AGM on June 28. “The industry needs more degree-qualified people and highly skilled staff, as well as more continued professional development (CPD),” said Professor David Llewellyn, vice chancellor at Harper Adams University. “Solid professionals, able to deal with technology and leadership skills are needed in modern farming.”

There’s a huge shift happening in agricultural business management. “There does need to be a new approach to food, the environment, climate impacts and health implications, but we need to close the skills gap and bring the best and brightest into farming – this will be as important as the food we produce for the future,” explained Prof Llewellyn.

“With a demographic dip in 18-year-olds, agriculture needs to look at ways of improving skills but also attracting those into the industry that do not have a natural affinity to it. Productivity – and profitability – is driven by education.”

There also needs to be a comprehensive approach to education throughout workers’ careers, not just in the teenage years, he said. “Education and skills run together.”

Advancing technologies mean a number of jobs could become fully automated, including tractor driving, which might see a loss of jobs. But there’s also hope that automation might protect family farms, as technology could make smaller farms more financially stable. In addition, Prof Llewellyn believes co-bots, rather than robots, and labour-augmented automation could be the future. “New jobs could be created while leadership and management would need to be adapted.”

Jeremy Moody, Secretary and Adviser to the CAAV, said it was vital to adopt technological advances, or risk being left behind. “If we don’t pick it up, our competitors will.”

However, one of the core issues is the management of land occupation – and the latest tenancy law review could be integral to moving land into the hands of the trained. “We need the right people on the land to do the right thing with it. It doesn’t matter where land comes from, but it does matter who it goes to.”

Younger generations perceive technology differently, which could be used to attract them into agriculture, said Prof Llewellyn. With Generation Z having never lived without access to a smartphone, it is essential that they are informed that agriculture is a technologically advanced sector in which to pursue a rewarding career. “We need to consider the attitudes of young people, because if we don’t adapt as an industry, we will not attract them.

“We have a national drive to get skills into the industry at the moment – through various channels such as AHDB and the NFU, with the idea to build a new professional agenda for farming,” said Prof Llewellyn. “So we can say to young people that agriculture is the industry they should choose, as it’s professional. Education and skills need to be front and centre to fulfil our ambitions for the future. If we don’t advocate the exciting advances in the industry, then we will lose out.”

New Part-Time Master’s Course in Rural Land and Business Management

11 July 2019

New Part-Time Master’s Course in Rural Land and Business Management

University of Reading

 

The University of Reading has now approved a part-time two year version of its Master’s course in Rural Land and Business Management which can be taken in conjunction with work.  It is now available for applications for September this year, subject to numbers. 

The course is aimed at those already working in the rural sector who want to improve their career prospects by further study on an RICS-accredited Master’s course (contributing to their record for the RICS Rural APC) that will assist preparation for the CAAV examinations.  

It is designed to provide students with the specialist knowledge and skills they will need to further their careers, including economic, technological, legal and social concepts and principles.  It is to help develop a critical awareness of current problems and new insights with the exercise of initiative, sound judgement, and the ability to make decisions in complex and unpredictable situations.

Those on the part-time course will study the same modules at the same time as the full time students, including:

  • Introduction to agriculture and rural industries
  • Rural property law and valuation
  • Strategic rural asset management
  • Management case studies in rural surveying
  • Rural policy and planning

The course includes a dissertation which is to be completed over the summer in Year 2.

As a part-time course, this will be:

  • over two years instead of one
  • require attending the University for one or two days a week during the 20 teaching weeks over the autumn and spring terms. 

That may make this particularly suitable for those within travelling distance of Reading.

All students will need to attend the induction programme prior to starting the course in September and the five day field trip in the summer of Year 2.

The tuition fees will be £5,225 per year for two years.

For further details, contact a.cropley@reading.ac.uk

 

New National Nature Reserve declared in Cumbria

09 July 2019

Natural England has declared Bolton Fell and Walton Mosses as a new National Nature Reserve in Cumbria. Located near Carlisle, Natural England's press release confirms that the new reserve encompasses the recently restored Bolton Fell Moss Site of Special Sceintific Interest (SSSI) and the pristine condition Walton Fell Moss SSSI. Further information can be found on GOV.UK.

RICS/RAU Rural Market Survey - Call for Contributors

04 July 2019

Many members will make use of the RICS/RAU Rural Market Survey, which is the longest running independent survey of land transactions in the rural market. The survey is produced half yearly and the survey team, which is led by Nick Millard at the RAU, is collecting data for the first 6 months of 2019 now for publication at the end of July.

The survey is in two parts:

- the list of transactions, which is of particular interest to practitioners; and

- the opinion survey which, conversely, is of interest to commentators and is an important tool in updating the non-specialist press and others on the rural land market.

Whilst contributors are still keen to submit transaction reports, for which the team are very grateful, responses to the opinion survey have fallen below the levels they were previously. The RAU Team hope that as many people as possible will respond to the survey, even if only in part, to improve the robustness and utility of the data. If you have not previously contributed to the survey but would like to do so please email RicsSurvey@rau.ac.uk and the Team will send you a link and add you to the circulation list.

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.

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