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COVID-19: Letter from the Environment Secretary

The Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, George Eustice, has written an open letter to the food industry thanking all those involved for their efforts so far in supporting the nation during the coronavirus outbreak.

Covid-19: Government support for self-employed

On 26th March Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced that self-employed workers will be able to apply for a grant worth 80% of their average monthly profits over the last three years, up to a maximum of £2,500 a month. The money will be paid in a single lump sum, but will not begin to arrive until the start of June at the earliest.

NEW PODCAST on EPCs and MEES

Podcast No. 6 - EPCs and MEES for domestic property: what you need to know Energy efficiency in buildings is a key area for Government to tackle if it is to meet the deadline for net zero carbon by 2050. Kate Russell of the CAAV explains how the Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards are being implemented for let residential property in England and Wales at the moment and looks ahead to where standards will go in future. ​​ Also available on Apple, Spotify and Google Podcasts. Catch-up...

Covid-19: Government to pay wages

The Chancellor has announced today (20th March) that the Government will step in and pay up to 80% of wages for employees not working due to the coronavirus outbreak.

Guidance for businesses during CV-19 outbreak

Many professional firms are publishing useful guidance on their websites for businesses during the Covid-19 outbreak. As examples of what is available, Michelmores solicitors has published guidance for employers and Roythornes solicitors has published information on employment issues for farm businesses....

DEFRA relaxes crop diversification rules and confirms £6m funding for flood-affected farmers

DEFRA has confirmed that the crop diversification rules under "greening" will not apply for Basic Payment Scheme (BPS) 2020 applications. This is to assist farmers in England who have been unable to establish crops because of the prolonged wet weather and flooding. In addition, the Farming Recovery Fund is being further extended with £6 million funding to assist farmers affected by flooding during February 2020. This support is being made available to eligible farmers in parts of East and...

Protection for private renters during Covid-19 outbreak

The Prime Minister has said that he will introduce legislation to prevent tenants in the private rented sector from being evicted if they are unable to pay rent due to lost earnings because of the coronavirus outbreak. Further details are awaited.

Government announces emergency Coronavirus Bill

The government has annouced the introduction of the Coronavirus Emergency Measures Bill to enable action in five key areas:- 1. increasing the available health and social care workforce 2. easing the burden of frontline staff 3. containing and slowing the virus 4. managing the deceased with respect and dignity 5. supporting people The legislation is to be time-limited for two years. Further details on the powers to be introduced can be found on the GOV.UK website. The Bill is due to be...

Wales confirms emergency support for businesses affected by coronavirus

As part of a package of financial support for businesses affected by coronavirus, the Welsh Government has confirmed: 100% business rates relief will be apply for retail, leisure and hospitality businesses with a rateable value of £51,000 or less; A £5,000 reduction in business rates for pubs with a rateable value between £51,000 and £100,000; and £100m grant funding for small businesses - further details on this grant scheme "will be confirmed as soon as possible."...

£1 million for Future Farming Resilience Funding

DEFRA has confirmed that nine organisations have been awarded a proportion of £1 million funding being made available as part of a Future Farming Resilience pilot. The projects approved range from one to one advice to workshops and should assess the effectiveness of these approaches in supporting farmers and land managers through the seven year agricultural transition period from 2021. Further information is available on the GOV.UK website and DEFRA's Blog....

Two month window opens for BPS 2020 applications and Stewardship claims

The two month window for Basic Payment Scheme (BPS) 2020 applications and annual revenue claims for existing Countryside Stewardship (CS) and Environmental Stewardship (ES) agreements has opened. BPS applications and CS/ ES claims must be submitted by 15th May 2020 to avoid late claim penalties. Further information is available on the GOV.UK website....

NEW PODCAST on the 2020 Budget

Following yesterday’s budget announcement, we have recorded a new podcast episode. This is the first budget of Boris Johnson’s majority government and the newly appointed Chancellor, Rishi Sunak. Packed with announcements and substantial spending commitments, what does it all mean for rural business owners? Tune in to hear Jeremy Moody’s expert analysis of the policy changes and new fiscal measures. Also available on Apple, Spotify and Google Podcasts. Catch-up on previous episodes...

UK interest rate cut to 0.25%

The Bank of England has cut the interest rate to 0.25% today (11th March 2020) as part of the response to the Covid-19 outbreak.

Scotland begins making CAP convergence payments to farmers and crofters

The Scottish Government has made initial CAP convergence payments worth £86.2 million to over 17,400 farmers and crofters. This represents the first tranche of a £160 million convergence funding package. A further payment should be made in the "coming weeks". More information can be found in the Scottish Government's News Release.

RPA pays almost 99% of Basic Payment Scheme claimants

The RPA has issued an update on payments under the Basic Payment Scheme (BPS), Countryside Stewardship and Environmental Stewardship. The headline figures given in the update are:- BPS 2020 payments have been made to almost 99% of eligible claimants (total value of £1.76 billion); Environmental Stewardship (ES) - 77% of agreement holders should have received a full payment for ES 2019 annual revenue claims (total value of £133 million); and Countryside Stewardship (CS) - 37% of agreement...

NEW PODCAST on Residential Tenancies

Episode No.4 - Residential Tenancies: Radical Reform in England – or is it? Kate Russell of the CAAV explains the key measures set out in the Rented Homes Bill, including the proposed abolition of assured shorthold tenancies in England. This is the most significant change to the letting of residential property in England for forty years, but what will the real impact be for private landlords? The full podcast is available below and on Apple, Spotify and Google Podcasts. Catch-up on...

Environment Bill progresses with Second Reading

The Environment Bill has been brought forward today for its Second Reading in the House of Commons, giving MPs the first opportunity to debate the new Bill. The Bill forms a key element of the government's commitment to an ambitious environmental programme and is one of the main vehicles for delivering the 25 Year Environment Plan. Further details can be found on the GOV.UK website....

Eustice delivers speech at NFU Conference

Environment Secretary, George Eustice, delivered his speech earlier this morning at the NFU Conference. The speech was originally scheduled for the first day of the Conference (yesterday) to coincide with the publication of the Agriculture Bill Policy Statement and the new Environmental Land Management Scheme (ELMS) consultation, but had to be delayed due to a meeting of the Cabinet to discuss the latest flooding issues. The transcript of the speech can be viewed on the GOV.UK website....

DEFRA publishes future farm support details

The Environment Secretary, George Eustice, will be delivering a speech at the NFU Conference tomorrow (Wednesday 26th February) and ahead of that has announced the publication today of:- a Policy Discussion Document around the design of the new Environmental Land Management Scheme (ELMS) - this should give a high level overview of the proposed three tier structure. DEFRA is inviting views on these proposals, with ten weeks to submit comments (through to 5th May 2020); and a Future Farming...

NEW PODCAST on The Electronic Communications Code

The Electronic Communications Code - still in stasis? Whilst the new Electronic Communications Code has been in place for over two years, there is still considerable frustration over the lack of progress in agreeing terms for new agreements. In this episode, Jeremy Moody talks us through the purpose and operation of the Code, the approach to assessing rents and he provides a full run down of two Upper Tribunal cases - CTIL v Compton Beauchamp Estates Ltd and CTIL v Ashloch and AP Wireless.​...

Seasonal Workers Pilot extended for 2020

Environment Secretary, George Eustice, has confirmed that the Seasonal Workers Pilot is to be extended in 2020 to support the horticultural sector. Up to 10,000 temporary workers may be employed for up to six months, compared with the previous 2,500 workers. Further information is available on the GOV.UK website....

Government announces support package for areas affected by flooding

Following the recent storms and flooding, the government has announced funding and support for those affected, including:- A Community Recovery Grant - £500 financial hardship payments to cover short-term need; 100% council tax and business rates relief for at least three months; A Business Recovery Grant - up to £2,500 Business Recovery Grant for small and medium sized businesses with uninsurable losses; and A Property Resilience Scheme - up to £5,000 funding for homes and businesses...

NEW PODCAST on the Agriculture Bill – a watershed moment for British Agriculture

Our NEW PODCAST has just gone live! In this episode, Jeremy Moody gives an in-depth analysis of the new and eagerly anticipated Agriculture Bill. He talks through the phasing out of BPS in England, the payment of “public money” for the delivery of “public goods” and the proposed changes to agricultural tenancies. Whilst the Bill primarily focuses on future powers for England, Jeremy also provides commentary and comparison with the policies being developed in the other devolved countries...

Eustice confirmed as new DEFRA Secretary of State

George Eustice MP has been confirmed as the new DEFRA Secretary of State. Formerly the farming Minister, his promotion comes following the departure of Theresa Villiers earlier today as part of the Cabinet reshuffle.

Villiers no longer Environment Secretary

As part of today's Cabinet reshuffle, it seems that Theresa Villiers has lost her role as Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs. We await further news on who will replace her.

Government funding to re-open Beeching rail lines

The Government has pledged £500 million of funding for communities to develop proposals to re-open local railway lines, including those closed in the Beeching cuts. Further information is available on the GOV.uk website.

HS2 announcement expected today (11th February)

It is being widely reported in the media that the Prime Minister is expected to make an announcement later today on the future of the HS2 project, confirming that it will go ahead. Further briefing will follow in due course.

Harper Adams University Rural Research Conference 2020

Harper Adams University's Rural Research Conference takes place on Thursday 23rd April 2020. Details of the programme and how to book are available at https://www.harper-adams.ac.uk/events/301/harper-adams-rural-research-conference

NFU Rural Surveyor and Planning Firms - invitation to tender

The National Farmers’ Union of England and Wales (NFU) is looking to renew its approved list of professionals providing land and tenancy and/or planning advice and services to NFU Farmer and Grower members. Successful firms will be will promoted as NFU Rural Surveyor and Planning Firms on the NFU’s website and in national and regional NFU publications. Firms will also be able to display their status with an NFU Rural Surveyor Firm or NFU Planning Firm logo and may be invited to participate...

Scotland begins to issue Basic Payment Scheme 2019 payments

The Scottish Government has confirmed that Basic Payment Scheme 2019 payments (including Greening and Young Farmer payments) have started to be issued. This follows the National Basic Payment Support Scheme 2019 loan payments (up to 95% of estimated payment value) which were issued in October 2019. Please see the Scottish Government website for further details....

Northern Ireland: Agriculture Minister confirms £293 million secured for Direct Payments for 2020

The Agriculture Minister Edwin Poots MLA has confirmed that farmers will share £293 million in Direct Payments for 2020, with the Department aiming to make full payments from 16th October 2020. The Minister announced that the 2020 scheme will operate in a similar fashion to that in 2019, apart from a small number of changes as a result of the exit from the EU. The full article can be found on the DAERA website...

Agriculture Bill is brought forward for Second Reading

The Agriculture Bill was brought forward for Second Reading in the House of Commons yesterday (3rd February 2020). This was the first opportunity for the Bill to be debated by MPs. The Bill will now go to Committee Stage, Report Stage and Third Reading, before transferring to the House of Lords. Please see the GOV.UK website for a news release and the progress of the Bill can be viewed on the UK Parliament website....

DEFRA podcast on future funding for farmers

In preparation for the UK leaving the EU, DEFRA (in conjunction with Farmers Weekly) has recorded a podcast on funding for farmers. This covers:- DEFRA funding for farmers in 2020 and beyond; Wider funding for farmers; and Trade and promoting the farming sector....

CAAV launches new podcast

The CAAV has launched a new podcast. In the first episode, the Secretary and Adviser to the CAAV, Jeremy Moody, gives his analysis of the future challenges that farming businesses will face, how they should act now and prepare for change with the role of the Valuer as a trusted adviser helping clients through this. He also discusses some highlights of the CAAV’s most recent publication called ‘Reviewing a Business: An Introduction for Agricultural Valuers’. You can listen to the podcast...

Environment Bill to be introduced into Parliament

The Environment Bill is to be introduced into Parliament later today (30th January 2020). This "ground-breaking Bill will enshrine environmental principles in law and introduce measures to improve air and water quality, tackle plastic pollution and restore habitats so plants and wildlife can thrive." Please see the press release for further details....

DEFRA launches new online resource for 'natural capital'

DEFRA has launched a new online resource "to help ensure better environmental decision-making by valuing our 'natural capital'". The 'Enabling a Natural Capital Approach' (ENCA) resource is available on the GOV.UK website and brings together guidance, data, analytical tools and case studies to "help policy makers, businesses, landowners and public sector organisations make better planning decisions in order to protect and boost natural capital."...

RPA issues update on BPS, Countryside Stewardship and Environmental Stewardship 2019 Payments and 2020 Plans

The RPA has issued a Press Release giving an update on progress with making BPS, Countryside Stewardship (CS) and Environmental Stewardship (ES) 2019 payments, as well as indicative 2020 plans for all of these schemes . The key points are summarised below:- Almost 97% of eligible BPS claimants should have received a BPS 2019 payment by 20th January 2020 (overall worth of £1.69 billion); £109 million of CS/ES 2019 payments made (more than double what was paid out by this time last year);...

Beware dangers of telecoms masts

Landowners are being warned of the hidden risks and responsibilities associated with having telecommunications masts on their land. The Central Association of Agricultural Valuers (CAAV) is urging landowners to request information on radiation exclusion zones from operators of telecoms masts located on their land. Though non-ionising, significant levels of exposure to the radio waves emitted by base stations on telecoms masts can affect health, requiring exclusion zones to protect people, says...

Village Halls have received £1.2 million funding under Government Grant Scheme

Village halls in England have received £1.2 million funding to assist with improvements such as roof repairs, refurbishing kitchens and creating new meeting rooms. This funding has been provided as part of the Government's Village Halls Improvement Grant Scheme which has a total fund of £3 million available. Applications can still be made for grants of up to £75,000 (20% of the total eligible costs of a project). Further information on applying can be found on the Action with Communities...

Agriculture Bill is a monumental step

The return of the Agriculture Bill is a welcome announcement for farmers and the entire industry; giving shape to developing post-Brexit policy in England. “This is a monumental moment for agriculture,” says Jeremy Moody, secretary and adviser to the Central Association of Agricultural Valuers (CAAV). “This passing of the Agriculture Bill will be our generation’s 1947 moment; where we have a life changing opportunity to review the national expectations of agriculture and set out the...

Agriculture Bill to be introduced into Parliament

The Agriculture Bill is to be introduced into Parliament later today. A news release is available on the GOV.UK website. It will give the legislative framework for aspects including:- Phasing out direct payments over the seven year "agricultural transition" period which will start from next year (2021) and see direct payments reduced to nil by 2028; "Later in the agricultural transition", "de-link" direct payments, removing the need to "farm the land" to receive payment; and Paying farmers...