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Aid for Cumbrian farmers

Grant aid is available for Cumbrian farmers to help them clear land of debris and stone left behind after the recent floods. Further information is available on the DEFRA website.

RPA meets first formal target for SPS 2009 payments

The RPA has met its first formal target for the issue of SPS 2009 payments having made 75% of full payments by value. This first formal target was due to be met by the end of January. The next formal target to be met is 90% of full payments by value by the end of March. Further information is available on the RPA website.

Calling all Mediators!

We are compiling a list of CAAV members who act as Mediators in order to assist other members in need of this service. Members who would like their details included should contact Kate Russell at

Pre-Budget Report - headlines

VAT to return to 17.5% at 01/01/10 SDLT holiday ends 31/12/09 Empty rates relief to continue National Insurance contributions to rise by 0.5% IHT personal allowance threshold frozen at £325,000 50p per month levy on landlines to pay for improved broadband access. As we receive the detailed papers we will post further information on the website.

SPS 2009 payments RPA update

The RPA has issued a 2009 SPS payments update which states that 81% of SPS claimants in England should have received full payments to date following the opening of the payment window on 1st December 2009. Further information is available on the RPA website.

EU approves 300 million euro package for dairy farmers

The EU has approved an emergency aid package for dairy farmers worth 300 million euros. The UK's share of the total is 29.26 million euros which is to be allocated to individual farmers by the end of June 2010. DEFRA has until the end of February to decide the objective criteria it will use to distribute the funds. Further information will be posted as soon as it is available.

2009 CAAV exams success

The CAAV's professional exams of 2009 have seen 62 qualify to apply for Fellowship. This is 11 more than the previous highest figure of 51 in 2006 and 21 up on last year. A further 35 succeeded in passing part of the examinations with another part to sit in future. The results were posted to candidates on 1st December.

EU authorises State Aid to French farmers

The EU has authorised the payment of direct grants, subsidised loans and interest rate subsidies worth up to 15,000 euros to French farmers affected by the current economic crisis. For further information, see the Europa press release.

Cross compliance suspended in Cumbria for flood damage

DEFRA has announced that the cross compliance standards relating to waterlogged soils are suspended in Cumbria to allow clean up and repair operations to take place. Farmers are advised to record any damage to waterlogged soils and note the necessary remedial action on their Soil Protection Review.

HMRC helpline for those affected by floods

HMRC has opened a helpline for those affected by floods who may have lost records or need assistance with making payments. The number is 0845 3000 157 and further information is available from the HMRC website.

HMRC - company car fuel rates

HMRC has published the new advisory fuel rates for company cars, which take effect from 1st December. The rates can be found on the HMRC website.

RPA Workington office re-opens

Following the flooding experienced in Cumbria, the RPA Workington office has re-opened today. Please see the RPA website for further information.

CAAV Centenary Young Valuers' Conference - Early Bird delegate rate closes 25th November

The CAAV Centenary Young Valuers' Conference is taking place at Magdalen College, Oxford on 8th January 2010. The reduced Early Bird booking rate for delegates is closing on 25th November after which time the full rate will be charged. Book now to avoid disappointment. Booking form and brochure are available under "Events" on this website and any enquiries should be directed to Elaine Neades 01594 832979

South Downs confirmed as new National Park

The South Downs has been confirmed as a new National Park. A new South Downs National Park Authority is expected to be in place by April 2010. For further information, see the press release on the DEFRA website.

Marine and Coastal Access Bill gets royal assent

The Marine and Coastal Access Act was passed on 12th November. It introduces a right of access to the coast which will be implemented by Natural England. Consultations on various aspects of coastal access are ongoing and the CAAV is part of the Coastal Access Forum. See Members' Documents / Property for more detailed briefings on coastal access.

Bookings open for the CAAV Centenary Young Valuers' Conference 2010

Bookings are now being taken for the CAAV Centenary Young Valuers' Conference which is being held on Friday 8th January 2010 at Magdalen College, Oxford. The conference is open to all CAAV members aged 35 and under. A four-course, black tie banquet will take place on the Friday evening in the impressive 15th century Dining Hall at Magdalen College and tickets for this are open to partners, guests and friends. Places are limited so early booking is advisable. Further information is available in...

VAT returns to be submitted online

HMRC has announced that from April 2010, all businesses with an annual turnover of £100,000 or more will have to file their VAT returns online. Further information will be sent to businesses by HMRC and there is guidance on the HMRC website.

Welsh Assembly Ministers support TB Eradication Order

Welsh Assembly Ministers have voted (49-9) to support the TB Eradication (Wales) Order 2009 last week. Further information is available on the Welsh Assembly website. It is understood that the Badger Trust has sent a letter to the Welsh Assembly Government as part of the Judicial Review Pre Action Protocol which asks for a response by 19th November 2009....

Whole industry approach must work to deliver Campaign for the Farmed Environment

Farming and conservation groups will today (Thursday November 5) join forces with the Government in a groundbreaking agreement to help farmers and land managers protect and enhance the nation's countryside. The Campaign for the Farmed Environment (CFE) aims to retain the environmental benefits formerly provided by set-aside under the Single Payment Scheme (SPS) in three key areas - resource protection, farmland birds and farm wildlife. The industry led voluntary approach, which was given backing...

Wales broadens eligibility criteria for New Entrants Support Scheme

The Welsh Assembly Government (WAG) has confirmed that it is broadening the eligibility criteria for entry into its forthcoming Young Entrants Support Scheme (YESS) so that it will now be open to farmers who have set up as head of holding for the first time in the 12 month period prior to them submitting their YESS application. Further information is available on the WAG website....

Recognition of professional qualifications in EU

The EU has formally notified the UK of its failure to take action to implement the EU Directive on the recognition of professional qualifications across the EU. The Directive should have been implemented by members states by October 2007 in order to facilitate the movement of professionals to work across the EU. Belgium and Luxembourg have also failed to meet the EU requirements. More information is available on the Europa website....

Reports of challenge to proposed Welsh badger cull

Farmers Guardian has reported that a motion to annul the proposal for a legal badger cull has been put forward by two Welsh Assembly members. The matter will be debated on 4th November. For the full story, go to the Farmers Guardian website.

National Audit Office heavily critical of RPA

The National Audit Office has published a damning report on the administration of the Single Payment Scheme by the RPA, describing a "serious lack of attention to the protection of taxpayers' interests" and a "lack of senior management ownership of the scheme". The report and an executive summary can be downloaded from the NAO website.

Infrastructure Planning Commission - new website

The Infrastructure Planning Commission, which will decide planning applications for nationally significant infrastructure projects, has launched its new website which can be found at

TB Eradication (Wales) Order 2009 laid by Minister

Following a public consultation, the Welsh Assembly Government (WAG) has laid the TB Eradication (Wales) Order 2009 which gives them powers to make use of culling and vaccination of badgers as part of the Welsh TB Eradication Programme. Further information is available on the WAG website.

European Commission fines Member States for breaches of CAP rules

The European Commission has announced that it will recover €214 million from Member States for non-compliance with EU rules on the implementation of the CAP. Great Britain will be fined €10.94 million for overshooting financial ceilings and for not meeting payment deadlines. The largest fines go to France (€70 million) for f ailings in its cross-compliance checking system....

CRC seeks evidence of rural business performance

The Commission for Rural Communities is seeking evidence of how rural businesses are coping with the recession for its next report to Government. Views are sought on prospects for the future; bank lending; business closures and start-ups; and the use of support measures. To contribute evidence before Friday 9th October, go to the CRC website....

OFT bans Southampton estate agent

The OFT has banned two people and a limited company from trading as estate agents after they failed to join a redress scheme. More details on the OFT website.

DEFRA publishes Soil Strategy for England

DEFRA has published the new Soil Strategy for England which aims to improve the management of soil and tackle degradation. The Strategy can be downloaded from the DEFRA website.

DEFRA announces new Responsibility and Cost Sharing Advisory Group

DEFRA has announced the composition of the Responsibility and Cost Sharing (RCS) Advisory Group who are to assist with formulating the way in which RCS may be introduced in England. The Group is to report back to DEFRA Secretary Hilary Benn by late 2010. Further information is available on the DEFRA website.

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