Much is happening … at PFK Rural Limited and beyond


In our industry we provide professional advice covering a range of subjects, the last few years has seen much change in policy, an obvious consequence of Brexit. New legislation cannot be created overnight, and it is not since before the McSharry reforms in 1973 that we have had to think about standing on our own two feet.

With this in mind, I touch on just a few of the current matters exercising everyone.

Agricultural Policy Development - De-Linking is with us with a growing volume of questions from famers as DEFRA have yet to produce key operational details and an effective mechanism for the transfer of the underlying reference history between parties.

New Schemes – the hope is for a statement soon that would assist people with practical decisions.

Slurry Infrastructure Grant Scheme - discussion of the development on the next round of this scheme continue and may be that there is yet a further round in 2024 and then a regulatory approach thereafter.

The net zero statements from Government look interesting in that a carbon audit baseline seems likely to fit alongside SFI for nutrient management and integrated pest management (but not yet).

Environmental Policy Development - Biodiversity Net Gain (BNG) is now a watch word with Natural England having produced a metric to measure the loss of biodiversity from a development. Nutrient Neutrality continues to be something of an issue and even more difficult to address. It is certainly too complex for this article.

Tenancy Issues - we await Governments response to the Rock Report and the various matters that raises. Until this is produced it is difficult to know which of the 74 recommendations to start with.

It is worth noting that the Agriculture Act 2020 enables a tenant (under an AHA 1986 tenancy) to challenge a consent issue or term of the tenancy that precludes entry into a financial assistance scheme or legal requirement.

Taxation - the Budget provided some support for business investment in plant and machinery. The main point in consultation at present is a link between the length of tenancies and environmental scheme access, with potential for this to be connected to APR.

Holiday Lettings – Government could widen the application of council tax premiums (in popular tourist areas) and possibly on second homes.

Development Control Policy - planning policy is intrinsically linked with the Levelling Up and Regeneration Bill. Planning and development in all its forms is a gargantuan subject and it is going to take time to be designed and implemented. New policy to address housing, agriculture, tree planting, environmental objectives, and any other pull on our limited land resource will take time to produce, let alone implement.

Housing – with the vast array of documents landlords must produce before letting a residential property, coupled with forthcoming changes through the Renters Reform Bill for England - as well as the long delayed response on Minimum Energy Efficient Standards (MEES), there is much to consider so as not to get caught out.

And with renewable energy, utilities companies, telecom masts, etc, the list goes on of all the matters currently under review in some capacity.

So next time you hesitate about taking professional advice, just think how much of the above you are comfortable with, then make that decision. 

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Wednesday, 17 July 2024