The Home of Rural Expertise and Advice

The Government continues to issue advice and updates adhering to this ever-changing situation we currently find ourselves in. 

Rural businesses cover a huge range of industries and activities across the South West, therefore, the impact of Covid-19 will be widely varied. We are ready to help, and it is in situations such as this where experience counts. 
 
Contact your local professional

Outlined below is advice and government guidance which we hope will be helpful. 

The Farming sector has been impacted in a variety of ways, for some, activity will have continued largely unaffected. However, those with more diversified businesses will have had to adapt to the current restrictions.

We remain available to give both general and specific advice through this difficult period, please call or email in the normal way.

The NFU have provided a dedicated Coronavirus advice area, which provides useful information surrounding the current situation.

NFU advice site>>

Dairy Response Fund
The Governments Dairy response fund is set to open for applications on 18th June 2020.  For more information read this article>

Bridging payments for stewardship agreements complete
The RPA have announced that bridging payment have been made to all CSS and ES agreement holders for the 2019 payment whilst processing of the annual revenue claims continues. Take a look at this on the gov.uk website>

Environmental Land Management (ELM) Scheme

The Environmental Land Management (ELM) scheme is the new agricultural policy for England. Defra have recently re-launched a consultation with the aim of helping to shape the future of the scheme in England. The discussion will remain open until Friday 31 July 2020. For more information read our article - Your feedback is needed.

The Basic Payment Scheme application window has now passed, however submitted applications can be amended up to midnight on 30 June 2020 and late applications, which will be subject to penalty, will be accepted up to midnight on 10 July 2020 - additional information can be found here.

Countryside Stewardship Scheme: UPDATE

The CAAV have announced that the RPA are introducing a COVID-19 Exceptions Process meaning applications for the CSS mid-tier scheme can be submitted up to 31st August 2020 provided that the RPA are given prior notification that the application is not going to be submitted by the 31st July 2020 deadline due to COVID-19 related issues. The date to order an application pack has now passed for a 2021 start date, however if you have an application pack and would like help or advise on putting it together please contact our Professional Services Team.

Countryside Productivity Small Grant scheme – round 2, the deadline for submitting claims has been extended to 31 July 2020. Round 3 is anticipated in the autumn but has not been announce as yet.

Please note that the latest advice, from the Government in respect of Covid-19, for farmers, rural businesses and land owners can be found here.  

Our estate management team are working hard to provide clients with advice and support as they deal with the consequences of the Covid-19 outbreak. Consequently, we have developed a good understanding of how the outbreak is influencing estate management, property markets and in-hand businesses as well as grants and support mechanisms available to assist those affected. 

The team continues to have full access to all emails, electronic files, accountancy records and property database whether working from home or our offices. We are therefore well placed to continue management of all estates and farms unhindered.

The Covid-19 outbreak has left many in difficult circumstances were we have found our experienced perspective has frequently helped achieve satisfactory outcomes for all involved. 

Our teams are here to help through this difficult time so please pick up the phone and talk to us.

The government have produced a guidance note, which outlines the restrictions and practices which must be adhered during these times. 

The complete guide can be found here >>

For our development and planning teams they are working remotely, and therefore, it is business as usual. They are able to continue with team and client meetings via video conferencing and telephone calls. They are keeping in regular contact with local planning authorities in order to keep clients as up to date as possible.

The planning system continues to function, however, the following should be noted:

REGISTRATION OF APPLICATIONS

There will inevitably be some delays given that the teams are also working from home. Authorities are finding it difficult to deal with the issuing of some information via email. Local authorities are handling this is different ways. There may be difficulties with posting site notices informing the public of applications, and in some cases the authorities are asking applicants to assist with this process.

PRE-APPLICATION MEETINGS

The majority of these are now dealt with video conferencing.

SITE VISITS

There is inevitably disruption to site visits during this period of restrictive travel, therefore, some Councils are requesting additional photography to be included within submissions. The use of aerial photography, video footage and street view technology can also assist.

PLANNING COMMITTEES

The Coronavirus Act 2020 (Section 78) allows the following provision ‘persons to attend, speak at, vote in, or otherwise participate in, local authority meetings without all of the persons, or without any of the persons, being together in the same place’. This therefore means that committees can meet via video conference.

PLANNING APPEALS

The Planning Inspectorate has temporarily paused all appeals proceeding by way of hearing or public inquiry. Interested parties have submitted requests to PINs and the Secretary of State that by using video technology and adapting formats, these should be resumed shortly. 

Our three livestock centres; South Molton, Tavistock and Honiton Collection Centre remain open and operational, although adhering to strict guidelines to ensure the safety of both our staff and the public.

To keep up to date with their schedule of operation and outlined restrictions please visit our Agriculture Hub >>

In accordance with government guidelines we have postponed all our public auctions until further notice. In the meantime, we are using our well established online timed auction system to aid the rural community in the buying and selling of agricultural equipment.

For all forthcoming online sales please visit our Online Timed Auction page >>

National Farmers Union

Country Land and Business Association.

(Some is available to everyone and some requires a membership login to access.)

UK Government

Business Support 

Farmers, landowners and rural businesses 

We have put in place guidelines for both clients and also ourselves to allow us to proceed with inspections to allow formal valuations to be carried out in a safe manner. 

As well as having the luxury of a strong Estate Agency department, including specialist Farm Agency, Equestrian and Holiday Complex divisions, to provide us with up to date evidence and information on the latest activity levels and sales evidence we are also monitoring advice by the RICS (Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors) amongst others in the preparation of our reports. 

We are conscious that some have suffered delays and we will act to turnaround reports as efficiently as possible. 

For further information on the kind of valuations Stags can carry out please click here.