Category Archive: Agriculture

LEADER: The Solway, Border and Eden LEADER Programme

The Solway, Border and Eden LEADER Programme has re-opened until noon on Wednesday 30 January 2019. It’s only accepting applications under DEFRA Priority 2 – Support for micro and small businesses (non-agricultural) and farm diversification.

LEADER Cumbria

What is LEADER?

LEADER is a European Union initiative that encourages economic prosperity for rural areas and improving the quality of life of the communities. With the Solway, Border and Eden area covering approximately half of Cumbria; one of the main aims of this call is to encourage significant and sustainable economic growth and increased employment, with the full engagement of local people.

DEFRA Priority 2 – Support for Small & Micro Enterprises and Farm Diversification

Priority 2 was introduced to help a fund number of areas, ranging from new businesses with startup costs, improving community and rural services through to farm diversification projects, cost saving and retaining young people in farming. Priority 2 can help with the purchase of certain capital items, as well as help with the development of infrastructure within the business as a whole.

James Oliver, Assistant Farm Business Consultant at George F. White, says: “The LEADER grant is a great opportunity for farmers and small businesses in Cumbria to help make any changes, progress and secure longevity in their business, or even new ventures. It is really important that we take advantage of these opportunities when they arise due to our uncertain political future.”

The Solway, Border and Eden LEADER Programme has been closed for a number of months due to a staggering volume of interest, with this in mind, George F. White urge farmers, landowners and business owners to submit their expression of interest (EOI) in good time to avoid disappointment. The government has guaranteed funding for RDPE LEADER Programme grants if these are agreed and signed before the UK’s departure from the EU (even if the grant agreements continue after we have left the EU) however, they are working to a tight timescale and if your EOI is accepted, a Full Application would then have to be submitted before 12 noon on 3rd April 2019, with a full project completion before the 30th of September 2020.

Get in touch with James today for more information.

The Brexit Effect: deal or NO deal

The last few months and weeks have been particularly fractious in parliament as to whether or not a Brexit deal will be struck or indeed any deal at all. Theresa May has confirmed that Parliament will get to vote on a Brexit Deal in mid-January. Here, Simon Britton considers the effect that Brexit has had on the way we think about our businesses.

Whether or not we are cut adrift from our European friends, Brexit has made farmers stop and think about how exposed and reliant their businesses are to European subsidy and support. As an example, according to the Farm Business Survey, the average farming business in the North East makes £71/ac profit, including £97/ac support from BPS in agri-environmental schemes. This is a stark figure and illustrates that, if indeed we do leave the EU and the current UK Agricultural Bill that is tabled comes to fruition, then there are a significant number of farming businesses that would need to make radical changes within their businesses in order to replace the income lost by the removal of farm subsidy.

For nearly a year, our 10 strong team of dedicated Farm Business Consultants have been working with our clients and contacts in order to give them an understanding of their exposure to the loss of subsidy and to understand how resilient their businesses would be moving forward.

I think that the past 12 months and the introduction of the draft Agricultural Bill, has been a catalyst for a number of farmers to understand the impact of the loss of part, or whole of subsidised support. I do think that all farming businesses that receive subsidy do need to review and fundamentally understand their reliance to different income streams, whether it be subsidy or livestock sales.

We have recommended to many of our clients that they prepare a Present System Budget, which will breakdown the turnover by enterprise and give a better understanding of how their business are structured. We can then carry out sensitivity analyses on income received from each of the enterprises be it livestock/crop sales or occupancy rates for their B&B. This will identify the reliance on each enterprise or income stream and what a shift in policy or price would mean to their turnover.

The UK government are already steering farmers towards this by offering competitive grants to improve efficiency and competitiveness, diversify their income streams, improve animal health and welfare alongside water quality.

As a nation, we wait, with baited breath, for the outcome of the Parliamentary vote and whether or not we exit Europe with a Deal or No Deal, if at all. Whatever the outcome, I hope that this has given farmers food for thought and allowed them the opportunity to understand and examine their farming businesses in more detail and hopefully act upon it.

If you would like to understand your business in more detail please contact Simon Britton.

LEADER Funding Available for Rural Communities

The Coast, Wolds, Wetland and Waterways (CWWW) LEADER Programme has re-opened for two weeks from the 4th January 2019 to the 18th January 2019, accepting applications on all six Defra priorities.

Defra Priorities:

  • Support to increase farm productivity
  • Support micro and small farm businesses (non-agricultural) and farm diversification
  • Support rural tourism
  • Provide rural services
  • Provide cultural and heritage activity
  • Support for increasing forestry productivity


What is LEADER?

LEADER is a European Union initiative that encourages economic prosperity or rural areas and improving the quality of life of the communities. The CWWW Leader Programme covers the East Riding of Yorkshire and Southern Ryedale (excluding Bridlington, Goole and Beverly).

Simon Britton, Partner at land, property and business consultancy, George F. White, said: “Access to LEADER funding is fantastic news for the rural communities in the East Riding of Yorkshire Southern Ryedale; it has been an interesting few years in regards to politics and the economy; as we approach our exit from the European Union, it is extremely important that rural communities take advantage of funding opportunities whilst they are still available.”

The project has been closed to new applicants since July 2018 due to a staggering volume of interest, with this in mind, George F. White urge farmers, landowners and business owners to submit their expression of interest in good time to avoid disappointment. The government has guaranteed funding for RDPE LEADER Programme grants if these are agreed and signed before the UK’s departure from the EU (even if the grant agreements continue after we have left the EU), however, it is advised that projects are finished, paid for, and complete grant claims submitted, by 31 March 2019.

Britton added: “This opportunity concentrates on small businesses, farm diversification projects and rural tourism; since the programme opened in 2015, our team have been involved in countless LEADER applications across the North East and Yorkshire with a similar focus. The team have achieved results such as funding for local rugby clubs, holiday accommodation and public animal parks, to name a few. We understand that applying for necessary funding can be a long and complex process, however, many of our team have been raised on farms or in the countryside and are sensitive to the issues and the opportunities that land and property owners and occupiers face in the 21st Century.”

If you have a project that you think would be eligible for the current LEADER fund opportunity, please contact our team on 01677 425301, alternatively, email Simon Britton directly.

Compulsory Purchase Order: know your rights

Rural Practice Surveyor, Caroline Horn, talks around Compulsory Purchase and knowing your rights in case the Acquiring Authority knocks on you door…

Compulsory Purchase Order’s allow public bodies to force property owners to give up their property if it obstructs a development project which is for the greater public good.

It seems we are forever driving through 50mph zones on the motorway which is frustrating whilst the project is being built, however, the project should benefit everyone in the longer term. Are Landowners really prepared for when Highways England wants to acquire their land? I have the perception that a lot of property owners, or occupiers, do not fully understand their rights when an Acquiring Authority knocks on their door wishing to carry out surveys, or to acquire their land.

The frequent scenario I come across is that the Landowner, out of their good faith, has allowed the Acquiring Authority to come onto their land and carry out surveys, or has agreed to the Acquiring Authority initial proposals. This is usually where the Acquiring Authority promises to carry out beneficial work to the landowner, such as tarmacing their driveway or installing a new access, if the Landowner does not object to the scheme or allows them early access. In reality these are just verbal promises that never seem to materialise.

Having detailed records and agreements in place from the start is key to ensuring you are compensated accordingly; a professional adviser can ensure this is executed properly.

We all want the benefits of an improved road network but do you really want a roundabout or an electricity pylon in your best harvest field… There are several points through the whole Compulsory Purchase Order process that a Landlord or third party can object to, or raise any queries they have with the proposed project, however, to get the most out of these opportunities it is important an advisor is instructed who can effectively put the case forward, whether this is influencing the route of the project or objecting to the scheme as a whole.

If the Compulsory Purchase Order is approved and it does affect your land, you are entitled to be no worse off than you were before the Compulsory Purchase Order took effect, but equally you should not be any better off.

If you are a landowner and have had land taken by a scheme, you could claim:

  • The value of the land lost;
  • Any devaluation on the rest of your farm, including house and buildings, due the highway now being in close proximity;
  • The loss in value due to the new highway now splitting your ring fence farm into two separate blocks;
  • Any disturbance incurred throughout the process such as burst water pipes, damage to drainage pipes and your time involved in dealing with the project.

It is therefore important to keep a diary of your time and events to ensure you are fully compensated, although as some would say are you ever fully compensated when a large pylon has been placed in the middle of your harvest field…

Although you don’t legally have the right to accommodation works, these can be used to reinstate you and to mitigate the overall compensation payable to you.

It is also important to remember occupiers of land and other affected people also have rights to compensation, and they too should take advice early.

If you are affected by a Compulsory Purchase Order you will receive 90% of the compensation after a notice to treat is served, and the remaining 10% will be payable upon completion of the job. Affected people are eligible for interest on any outstanding balance of compensation. This is set at 0.5% below the base rate and up until recently, with the base rate has being 0.5%, it has meant interest is payable at 0%. Some would say the Acquiring Authority is loaning free money, although as the base rate has now increased above 0.5% there is a small amount of interest payable….

If you are concerned about a proposed development or road scheme, act early and speak to a professional advisor. Call your local expert:

Northumberland and Borders: 01665 603231
County Durham: 01388 527966
Yorkshire: 01677 425301