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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.

CAAV joins expert panel on BBC Radio 4's Farming Today Programme to discuss 'Five weeks until Brexit'

25 February 2019

CAAV adviser, Alice De Soer, joined an expert panel on BBC Radio 4's Farming Today programme at the weekend to discuss 'Five weeks until Brexit'. The programme covered trade, labour and farming subsidy issues. To listen, please go to the BBC Radio 4 Farming Today webpage (Alice's contribution relating to farming subsidies starts at around 14 minutes).

New research shows National Nature Reserves offer £36m of benefits to society

21 February 2019

New Natural Capital Accounts research published by Natural England today shows that National Nature Reserves (NNRs) provide £36 million of benefits to society. The report includes an extended balance sheet which gives an evaluation of "NNRs as natural assets, as well as demonstrating the ecosystem services, benefits and value they provide to society." Further details are available on the GOV.UK website where there is also a link to the report.

Gove delivers speech at NFU Conference

20 February 2019

The full transcript of the Environment Secretary, Michael Gove's, speech delivered to the NFU Conference yesterday is available on GOV.UK. 

In the speech, he stated that: "We have to do better in the delivery of countryside and environmental stewardship payments. They are still in a mess, the consequence partly of historic IT procurement decisions and the split responsibility for scheme administration between Natural England and the RPA, which led to inefficiency and confusion."

He also committed to:

  • paying 95% of Countryside Stewardship (CS) 2018 claims by 31st March 2019 (including bridging payments in early April to those who are unpaid by 31st March)
  • paying 95% of CS final payments by 31st July 2019, with a move to making full CS payments (advance and final in a single payment) straightaway

He also expressed an expectation that 95% of Environmental Stewardship (ES) 2017 final payments should be completed by 31st July 2019.

Countryside Stewardship - Tips for 2019 Scheme

20 February 2019

With the application window opening earlier this week for key elements of Countryside Stewardship, Alice De Soer (Policy and Technical Adviser at the CAAV) gives tips for farmers and land managers considering applying this year in this article on the Farmers Weekly website.

Northern Ireland: Report on the Care of the Government Historic Estate

19 February 2019

Northern Ireland's Department for Communities has published the 3rd report under the Protocol for the Care of the Government Historic Estate, which sets out case studies for the conservation of historic buildings and other assets, and their future use and management. The report can be downloaded from the Department for Communities website.

NFU Publishes Future of Food 2040 Report

19 February 2019

The NFU has published The Future of Food 2040, a report which examines how changing trends on what we eat and how we eat it will affect farmers and growers in the UK. The report can be downloaded from the NFU website.

Countryside Stewardship opens for applications

18 February 2019

Key elements of the Countryside Stewardship (CS) scheme have opened for applications today (18th February). They include:-

  • Higher Tier;
  • Mid Tier;
  • the 4 Wildlife Offers; and
  • the Hedgerows and Boundaries Capital Grant

 Application packs for Mid Tier can be requested online via the Rural Payments service by 31st May 2019.  Higher Tier application packs must be requested by 31st March 2019 by phoning the RPA (03000 200 301).

The 4 Wildlife Offers and the Hedgerows and Boundaries Capital Grant can be applied for online using the Rural Payments service, but where it is not possible to apply online an application pack should be requested (by 31st March 2019 for the Hedgerows and Boundaries Capital grant and by 31st May 2019 for the Wildlife Offers).

The application deadlines are as follows:-
- Higher Tier - 3rd May 2019
- Mid Tier - 31st July 2019
- 4 Wildlife Offers - 31st July 2019
- Hedgerows and Boundaries Capital Grant - 3rd May 2019

Scotland: Rural Economy Action Group to ensure rural-proofing

15 February 2019

The Scottish Government has announced that a new Rural Economy Action Group is to be set up to ensure that rural policy is embedded in decision-making and to promote the rural economy. Further detail is available on the Scottish Government website.

Scotland: Free training events on Compulsory Purchase

15 February 2019

The Scottish Government has announced details of a series of free to attend training and networking events, for all local authority staff and members of SCPA, RICS, SOLAR and ACES, on the subject of “Delivering a Successful Compulsory Purchase Project”.  

 The training dates will be held at the following :

  • Perth 4th March 2019 @ Perth and Kinross Council City Chambers, 2 High Street, Perth, PH1 5PH
  • Edinburgh 25th March 2019, Scottish Government, Victoria Quay, Edinburgh, EH6 6QQ

Attendees will hear from a number of experienced experts in the field of compulsory purchase and will have the opportunity to participate in workshops exploring various aspects of the process for promoting a CPO and estimating and negotiating compensation.

 To register your interest in attending one of these events, please email compulsorypo@gov.scot, and provide your name, job title, organisation, preferred training location, and your email address.

Scottish Biodiversity Challenge Fund Launched with Up To £1m Funding Available for 2019/20

15 February 2019

The first year of the Scottish Biodiversity Challenge Fund (BCF)  has been launched, with up to £1 million of funding available for 2019/20. The funding is to support 'large-scale' projects to improve habitats, protect species and encourage increased access to nature. Scottish Natural Heritage is looking for 'innovative ideas' and has published a News Release around the launch of the fund. Further information about the BCF can be found on Scottish Natural Heritage's website.

Scottish Less Favoured Areas Loan Scheme Confirmed

06 February 2019

Scotland's Rural Economy Secretary, Fergus Ewing, has confirmed that nationally-funded loans of up to 90% of Less Favoured Area Support Scheme (LFASS) 2018 payment values are to be made available to eligible claimants, with payments starting April 2019. Loan offer letters should start to be sent from 1st March. Further information is available on the Scottish Government website.

National Farm Management Conference 2019

22 January 2019

The Institute of Agricultural Management's National Farm Management Conference 2019 will take place in London on 13th February 2019. Fellows of the CAAV are offered the IAgrM member rate to attend - a saving of £60. Simply complete the booking form as if you are an IAgrM member.

Details and a booking form are available on the IAgrM website at https://www.iagrm.org.uk/events/

The conference attracts BASIS and NRoSO points.

RPA confirms 93.4% of BPS 2018 claims paid by 31st December 2018

16 January 2019

The RPA has confirmed that 93.4% of BPS 2018 claimants received a payment by 31st December 2018. This equates to 78,787 claimants with a value of over £1.57 billion. Further information is available on GOV.UK.

Scotland to streamline forestry grant process post-Brexit

10 January 2019

Scotland's Rural Economy Secretary, Fergus Ewing, has announced two initiatives to streamline the foresty grants process during a debate today in the Scottish Parliament on Future Rural Policy and Support in Scotland. The initiatives are:-

1) to review the current process for forestry grant applications; and

2) to review the Forestry Grant Scheme to allow more "small landowners" to access financial support for tree planting and woodland creation.

Further information is available on the Forestry Commission Scotland website.

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