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HLS sees start of 10,000th agreement

Natural England has announced that HLS has seen the start of its 10,000th agreement which signifies a "major landmark". This sees HLS covering more than 977,000 hectares of land in England. Further information is available on the Natural England website.

Fraudsters targeting SPS 2012 payment recipients

The RPA and the Welsh Government have issued warnings of fraudsters targeting recipients of SPS 2012 payments. It seems that telephone calls are being made by people claiming to be the farmer's bank, asking for banking details. Please see the RPA website for further information.

2012 SPS Entitlements Statements available to view on SPS Online

The RPA has made 2012 SPS Entitlements Statements available via SPS Online. They may be viewed even if the 2012 SPS claim was submitted on a paper SP5 form, although there are a "small number of cases" where the Entitlements Statements may not as yet be available due to ongoing work. Further information is available on the RPA website.

Government agreement on energy policy

The Department of Energy & Climate Change (DECC) has confirmed that the Government has reached a Coalition Agreement which will see the introduction of the Energy Bill next week. Further information is available on the DECC website.

TFA Cymru launched

The TFA has launched a dedicated service for tenant farmers in Wales. TFA Cymru will focus on representation and policy work in Wales. A TFA Cymru Recommended Professionals panel has also been established. Further information is available on the TFA website.

Badger cull postponed

DEFRA has confirmed that the proposed badger culls in West Gloucestershire and West Somerset are to be postponed until summer 2013. Further information is available on the DEFRA website.

New GOV.UK website replaces Directgov and Business Link from 17th October

From 17th October, a new Government website GOV.UK will replace the Directgov and Business Link websites. This should not affect the use of services such as SPS Online or CTS Online which can be accessed via either the new GOV.UK website or the former Business Link webpage addresses. Further information is available on the RPA website.

Euro exchange rate set for 2012 SPS payments

The RPA has confirmed that the Euro exchange rate to be used for the calculation of 2012 SPS payments will be €1 = £0.79805 (SPS 2011 saw €1 = £0.86665). The rate is the last one set by the European Central Bank in September. Further information is available on the RPA website.

Badger Trust loses Court of Appeal challenge against badger cull

It has been reported in the press that the Badger Trust has lost its appeal against the badger cull in England. The rejection was unanimous at yesterday afternoon's Court of Appeal hearing. Further information is available on the BBC and Farmers Guardian websites....

David Heath MP replaces Jim Paice at DEFRA

Further to our news report yesterday, it now seems to be confirmed that David Heath MP was appointed yesterday as Minister for State for DEFRA, replacing Jim Paice MP. His ministerial portfolio is yet to be made available. Please see the DEFRA website for further information.

Wales appoints Chair for Welsh Single Environmental Body

The Welsh Government has announced that Professor Peter Matthews will chair the new Single Environmental Body in Wales. This Body is to bring together the Countryside Council for Wales, Environment Agency Wales and Forestry Commission for Wales as a single organisation from 1st April 2013. Further information is available on the Welsh Government website.

CAAV Model FBT now available

The new CAAV Model Farm Business Tenancy agreement, plus a Commentary text and Check List, are now available to CAAV members to download from the website.

CTS Online - service resumed

The RPA has confirmed that following the issues being experienced with CTS Online last week and the shutdown of the system over the weekend, it is now fully functional. Further information is available on the RPA website.

RPA - Cattle Tracing System (CTS) Online issues

The RPA is experiencing issues with Cattle Tracing System (CTS) Online. Even though CTS Online is working, any cattle information entered since the morning of Tuesday (24th July) has not yet been processed. The RPA is hoping to resolve this issue as quickly as possible. Please see the RPA website for further information.

CTS Online unavailable from tomorrow (Saturday) lunchtime

Following technical difficulties being experienced with CTS Online, the RPA has confirmed that the system will be unavailable from 12 noon tomorrow (Saturday) with the aim of restoring the full service from Monday. For further information, please see the RPA website.

Badger Trust lodges appeal against High Court badger culling decision

Following the High Court ruling on 12th July in favour of DEFRA carrying out the proposed pilot cull of badgers as part of their bovine TB Eradiction Programme, the Badger Trust yesterday lodged an appeal against this decision. They are seeking permission to appeal on three grounds which are detailed in the Badger Trust News Release.

High Court upholds DEFRA position on badger cull

The Judicial Review in the High Court has upheld DEFRA's position on the proposed badger cull for bovine TB control purposes. At the time of writing, nothing has been posted on DEFRA's website, but more detail is available on the Badger Trust website.

CAAV AGM and Conference

The 68th CAAV AGM and Conference is taking place in North Devon today (Friday 29th June). Having enjoyed an excellent dinner of local West Country produce on Thursday evening, members and guests are assembled at the Saunton Sands Hotel to hear a range of speakers on topical issues from planning reform to super-dairies. A more detailed report will follow in the next edition of the CAAV News Letter.

Fuel duty increase frozen

The Chancellor of the Exchequer has confirmed that the proposed increase in fuel duty which was due to take effect in August will not now go ahead.

Boundary disputes

A private members' bill which makes provision for the resolution of boundary disputes was laid before the House of Commons on 25th June by Dover MP, Charlie Elphicke. The Bill is due to be published before its second reading on 30th November.

Changes to FiT rates to apply from 1st August

The changes to the Feed-in Tariff rates for solar pv which were due to be introduced on 1st July will now come into effect on 1st August. Further information is available on the DECC website.

Drought status lifted in 19 counties

The Environment Agency has confirmed that drought status has been lifted from large parts of the Midlands and south west England. Areas which remain in drought include Lincolnshire, the eastern counties, the south east and much of central southern England. Further detail is available on the Environment Agency website.

Effect of industrial action on RPA on Thursday 10th May

The Public and Commercial Services Union is planning industrial action on Thursday 10th May which will affect the RPA. This is likely to cause disruption to normal services but in particular the RPA Customer Service Centre (CSC). It is hoped that the CSC will still be offering a limited service. Further information is available on the RPA website.

Milk price cuts

Arla, Dairy Crest and Robert Wiseman have all cut their milk price by 2p per litre. The Dairy Crest cut takes effect from 1st May; the other cuts from 1st June.

DEFRA appoints new Chief Scientific Adviser

DEFRA has appointed Professor Ian Boyd to be its new Chief Scientific Adviser. He replaces Sir Bob Watson who has been in the role for the past five years. Further information is available on the DEFRA website.

Channel 4 documentary seeks farm dispersal sales

Channel 4 is looking to speak to farmers who are undergoing a dispersal sale, for an observational documentary series about those who work and live in the countryside. The series will look at all aspects of country life, discovering what it means to work in agriculture and the issues and challenges that people face in their day to day lives. If you have a client who might be interested in speaking to us, or have any suggestions as to people we should contact, we would love to hear from you. We...

Judicial Review of Proposed Badger Cull in England

The farming press is reporting that the courts have given permission for a Judicial Review of DEFRA's decision to permit a badger cull in two pilot areas of England. The application for the Review was made by the Badger Trust. More detail to follow in the Members' Documents section of the website in due course.

SPS 2012 - RPA Customer Service Centre opens at weekends for calls

The RPA is opening their Customer Service Centre at weekends from this Saturday (21st April) to answer queries about SPS 2012. The RPA helpline will be available from 9 a.m. until 3 p.m. on Saturdays until 12th May as well as Bank Holiday Monday (7th May) and Sunday 13th May. Further information is available on the RPA website.

SPS Online - temporary issue now resolved

The RPA has confirmed that the temporary issue that was being experienced with SPS Online and 2012 submissions earlier this week has now been resolved. Please see the RPA website for further information.

SPS Online - temporary issue - error message

The RPA is experiencing a temporary issue with SPS Online today (17th April). This means that anyone trying to submit an application will get an error message. The RPA is recommending that applications are not submitted until they have provided a further update. Please see the RPA website for further information.

Farming and Forestry Improvement Grant Scheme - first grants approved

DEFRA has approved approximately 1000 Farming and Forestry Improvement Grant Scheme applications submitted during the first application round earlier this year. Successful applicants should be receiving letters over the next few weeks. Further information is available on the DEFRA website. The next application round is expected to open early May 2012.

CAAV Model Farm Business Tenancy

A consultation draft of the CAAV model Farm Business Tenancy plus a Commentary text, has now been put in the Members' Documents section of the website, under Professional Matters / Model Clauses and Agreements. Members' feedback on these documents is welcome.

Government loses FiT case in Supreme Court

It is being reported that the Government has lost its case on Feed-in Tariffs in the Supreme Court. This means that all solar pv installations completed by 3rd March 2012 will be paid at the old FiT rate of 43p/kWh. More details to follow in the Members' Documents section of the website.

HS2 - Threat of legal challenge

51m, an alliance of local authorities, and the HS2 Action Alliance have both have formally notified the Secretary of State for Transport that they may challenge the decision to proceed with HS2 through judicial review.

CAAV Disputes Day - 21st March - Hazlewood Castle, Near Leeds/York

Following two successful Disputes Days earlier in the year, we are holding the final day on 21st March at Hazlewood Castle A1/A64 south of York. The day is assisted by members of Rural Arbrix with talks by senior valuers and an experienced barrister. Please visit the events page of the website for flier and booking form.

Badger Trust gives DEFRA notice of legal challenge

Following DEFRA's announcement regarding two pilot badger cull areas, the Badger Trust has written to DEFRA to give notice of the grounds of challenge they intend to pursue if DEFRA does not alter its decision. Please see the Badger Trust News Release for further information.

CAAV Spring Briefings - 24th February and 8th March 2012 - early booking advisable

The CAAV will be holding two one day briefings (Friday 24th February - Belton Woods, Lincs and Thursday 8th March - The Gables Hotel, Falfield, S. Glos) where Jeremy Moody, Alice De Soer and Kate Russell will give an update on current professional matters of relevance including CAP reform post-2013 proposals, renewables, Inheritance Tax, agricultural and business tenancy agreements and disagreements. Early booking is advisable and booking forms are available in the Events section of this...

Government loses appeal on Solar Feed-in Tariffs

The Government has lost its appeal against the High Court ruling on the reduction of Feed-in Tariffs (FITs) for solar pv installations, but it is seeking leave to take the case to the Supreme Court. DECC has already put in place a revised reference date of 3rd March 2012. Further information is available on the DECC website.

DEFRA confirms pilot badger cull areas

DEFRA has confirmed the two pilot badger cull areas - one in West Gloucestershire and the other in West Somerset. Natural England will now assess their licence applications against the criteria set. If successful, badger culling will take place in the pilot areas over a six week period which is likely to start this autumn. Further information is available on the DEFRA website.

HS2 is approved

The Secretary of State for Transport has announced that the proposed HS2 high speed rail link between London and Birmingham will go ahead. The official statement can be downloaded from the Department of Transport website and further detail will be added to the Members' Documents section shortly.

DEFRA seeks new members for National Park Authorities

DEFRA is seeking to appoint new members to five National Park Authorities (NPAs) and the Broads Authority as follows:- - 2 members in the New Forest, North York Moors and Yorkshire Dales NPAs - 1 member in the Peak District and South Downs NPAs and the Broads Authority The appointments are to be for an initial period of up to 4 years and will commence from May 2012. The deadline for receipt of applications is 13th February 2012. Further information and application forms may be found on the...

Government appeals against FiT decision

The Government has lodged grounds of appeal against the High Court's ruling that its decision to amend FiT rates before a consultation had closed may have been illegal. A formal statement is available on the DECC website.

High Court rules in favour of solar campaigners

The High Court has held that the Government's actions in setting a cut-off date for new Feed-in Tariff rates before a consultation on the proposals had closed were potentially illegal, thus clearing the way for a potential judicial review of the process. The Government has indicated that it will appeal against the decision. The new, reduced FiT rates were due to come into effect from 12th December 2011.

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