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Jeremy's Blog 14th May 2021: The Queen's Speech

This article by Jeremy Moody first appeared in the CAAV e-Briefing of 13th May 2021.

The Queen’s Speech is both ritual and manifesto, bringing the Lord and Commons together for an outline of the Government’s intended legislation and policies for the coming year. Tuesday’s Speech can be seen as the real start of this Government’s busy domestic programme, eighteen months after its election, having been preoccupied with Brexit and the pandemic, albeit with the Agriculture Act done. Now outside EU law, with policy work in hand and the apparent success of vaccination, 30 Bills are promised amid other policies, many of which will bear on rural work.

Re-elected governments in Scotland and Wales can now focus on their post-Brexit agricultural policies:

  • Scottish policies looking to be framed by climate change with forestry, peatland and growing environmental conditionality for payments
  • Wales moving to the Sustainable Farming Scheme for land management and resilience (with only the legal challenge now to the NVZ/slurry rules).

In England, the Environment Bill comes again with important strategic provisions and a parallel planning system for nature, biodiversity gain for development, conservation covenants and potential land drainage rate changes.

Alongside that and policies for levelling up and infrastructure, the Planning Bill would bring major change with growth zones as permission, subject to a design code, the potential for development corporations and a consolidated development levy. The operation of those policies with their implications for values, taxation and interactions with the Environment Bill will all take some understanding. The rules for Environmental Impact Assessments are to be revised, giving flesh to the Prime Minister’s criticism of “newt-counting delays”.

A White Paper is expected on the operation of residential tenancies with potential legislation.

UK-wide measures will propose changes to the Electronic Communications Code, apparently in line with the recent consultation, and a Building Safety Bill with a new homes ombudsman. We will see how the new rules regulating subsidies, replacing the EU State Aid rules, will treat future farming and environmental payments.

A further recognition of the CAAV seems proposed in the coming Charities Bill, expected to allow charities to appoint Fellows for property valuations. Announced in the spring in which the CAAV President first made statutory appointments of arbitrators under the 1986 and 1995 Acts, this removes the Charities Act’s limitation to RICS members.

Meanwhile, and with animal welfare policies in the Speech and the running theme of climate change, implementation of the Agriculture Act continues apace with tenancy regulations and the lump sum consultation imminent and the Sustainable Farming Incentive unfolding.

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