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Agricultural Wages (Wales) Order 2022

The Agricultural Advisory Panel for Wales advises Welsh Ministers on the Agricultural Minimum Wage arrangements for agricultural, horticultural and forestry workers in Wales, and the Senedd usually passes a new Order each year setting new pay rates.

No Agricultural Wages Order was made in 2021, but a new Order will come into effect on 22 April 2022, and will apply retrospectively from 1 April 2022. As well as new rates of pay, there is a revised grading structure.

It is important to note that althought the rates as set out in the Order are less generous that those originally recommended by the Panel as detailed in our earlier blog here (whilst the other allowances are more generous), the published rates are subject to the qualifier that national minimum wage rates must be paid if they are higher.

The new grades and the rates of pay and other allowances that are payable are set out below. (*Denotes national minimum wage rate in excess of rate prescribed by the Order.)

Grade Rate per hour

A1 – Agricultural Development Worker (16-17 years) £4.81*

A2 – Agricultural Development Worker (18-20 years) £6.83*

A3 – Agricultural Development Worker (21-22 years) £9.18*

A4 – Agricultural Development Worker (23 years+) £9.50*

B1 – Agricultural Worker (16-17 years) £4.81*

B2 – Agricultural Worker (18-20 years) £6.83*

B3 – Agricultural Worker (21-22 years) £9.18*

B4 – Agricultural Worker (23 years+) £9.50*

C – Agricultural Advanced Worker £9.47 or, if over 23, £9.50*

D – Senior Agricultural Worker £10.39*

E – Agricultural Manager £11.40

Apprentice Year 1 £4.81*

Apprentice Year 2 (aged 16-17) £4.81*

Apprentice Year 2 (aged 18-20) £6.83*

Apprentice Year 2 (aged 21-22) £9.18*

Apprentice Year 2 (aged 23+) £9.50*

Other Allowances

Dog Allowance £8.53 Per Dog Per Week

Night Time Work Allowance £1.62 Per Hour of Night Work

Birth Adoption Allowance £67.09 For Each Child

The new Order also includes provisions in relation to daily rest and weekly rest in line with the Working Time Regulations 1998.

The Order can be accessed here. Our blog detailing the current national minimum wages rates is here.

For further information and advice in relation to employment law specific to the agricultural sector in Wales, please contact me or another member of the Employment team.

Agricultural Minimum Wage 2022

The Agricultural Advisory Panel for Wales advises Welsh Ministers on the Agricultural Minimum Wage arrangements for agricultural, horticultural and forestry workers in Wales, and the Senedd usually passes a new Order each year setting new pay rates.

However, no Agricultural Wages Order was made in 2021, so the current pay rates have been in effect since April 2020 – but, where applicable, subject to increases in accordance with the National Minimum Wage rates effective from April 2021.

The Panel has proposed changes to the current Agricultural Minimum Wage arrangements to apply from April 2022.

The proposals have still yet to be approved, but are as follows:

1. Rates of Pay

Hand in hand with the proposed new pay rates is a new grading structure, which the Panel considers will make it easier to define an agricultural worker’s appropriate grade.

The proposed new grades are explained here, at point 1, whilst the equivalent qualifications referred to in the grade descriptions are set out at point 2.

The proposed new pay rates are as follows:

Grade Rate per hour

A1 – Agricultural Development Worker (16-17 years) £4.81

A2 – Agricultural Development Worker (18-20 years) £6.83

A3 – Agricultural Development Worker (21-22 years) £9.18

A4 – Agricultural Development Worker (23 years+) £9.50

B1 – Agricultural Worker (16-17 years) £4.81

B2 – Agricultural Worker (18-20 years) £6.83

B3 – Agricultural Worker (21-22 years) £9.18

B4 – Agricultural Worker (23 years+) £9.79

C – Agricultural Advanced Worker £10.08

D – Senior Agricultural Worker £11.06

E – Agricultural Manager £12.13

Apprentice Year 1 £4.81

Apprentice Year 2 (aged 16- 17) £4.81

Apprentice Year 2 (aged 18- 20) £6.83

Apprentice Year 2 (aged 21- 22) £9.18

Apprentice Year 2 (aged 23+) £9.50

Other Allowances:

Dog Allowance £8.17 Per Dog Per Week

Night Time Work Allowance £1.55 Per Hour of Night Work

Birth Adoption Allowance £64.29 For Each Child

2. Other Proposed Changes

The current Agricultural Wages Order makes provision for rest breaks of not less than 30 minutes on any day that a worker aged 18 or older works more than 5½ hours (subject to exceptions).

The Panel considers it appropriate in the interests of clarity that provisions should be included relating to daily rest for workers under 18 and in relation to daily rest and weekly rest which replicate the provisions of the Working Time Regulations 1998 – although these are not new rights, as absent any equal or better entitlements of workers under an Agricultural Wages Order, the provisions of the Working Time Regulations must be applied.

For further information and advice in relation to employment law specific to the agricultural sector in Wales, please contact me or another member of the employment team.

For details of increases in the National Minimum Wage and increases to other statutory payments and limits, also to come into effect this April, please see our blog here.

Footpath Diversion Means No Need to ‘Moooooove’

I am a specialist agricultural associate solicitor with Lanyon Bowdler, having joined at the start of the year. I have specialised in agricultural property matters since I qualified as a solicitor in 2007, having grown up on a farm in Oxfordshire.

I was recently contacted by an NFU member with a view to diverting a footpath in Shropshire. The footpath was in an unfortunate location, immediately adjacent to a large cattle shed and also very close to a site, behind which was earmarked for an additional cattle shed of the same size.

It was necessary for the two sheds to be parallel to maximise the benefit. There had also been instances of members of the public disturbing the cattle. The NFU member considered that it would be better for the footpath to be diverted, both from a health and safety perspective for members of the public using the footpath, but also, and a crucial point for the NFU member, for the long term sustainability of the farm (where the proposed development might otherwise have been stifled by the location of the footpath).

I worked with the NFU member and submitted the application to ensure that the footpath was diverted away from the farm buildings and the main yard. I then liaised with the council’s public rights of way team and ensured that the footpath was diverted under 119 of the Highways Act 1980 and also under section 53A (2) of the Wildlife Countryside Act 1981.

I achieved a successful result in a short time, and was granted the exact diversion modification requested within the application. The NFU member was delighted and the additional barn is now in place, looking fabulous, with lots of happy farmyard residents!

I attained Fellowship of the Agricultural Law Association in 2009 and have experience in a wide variety of agricultural property transactions, including land sales and purchases.

I also act for lenders, advising on partnership agreements, rights of way issues, adverse possession matters, sports and recreational sales, deeds of easement, option and overage agreements, contract farming agreements and share farming agreements.

I have been listed within the agricultural sections of Chambers UK since 2015 and The Legal 500 publication since 2018 (the two main legal ‘go to’ directories).

For more information about this or any other agricultural matter, please contact our agricultural team.

Footpath Diversion Means No Need to ‘Moooove’

I am a specialist agricultural associate solicitor with Lanyon Bowdler, having joined at the start of the year. I have specialised in agricultural property matters since I qualified as a solicitor in 2007, having grown up on a farm in Oxfordshire.

I was recently contacted by an NFU member with a view to diverting a footpath in Shropshire. The footpath was in an unfortunate location, immediately adjacent to a large cattle shed and also very close to a site, behind which was earmarked for an additional cattle shed of the same size.

It was necessary for the two sheds to be parallel to maximise the benefit. There had also been instances of members of the public disturbing the cattle. The NFU member considered that it would be better for the footpath to be diverted, both from a health and safety perspective for members of the public using the footpath, but also, and a crucial point for the NFU member, for the long term sustainability of the farm (where the proposed development might otherwise have been stifled by the location of the footpath).

I worked with the NFU member and submitted the application to ensure that the footpath was diverted away from the farm buildings and the main yard. I then liaised with the council’s public rights of way team and ensured that the footpath was diverted under 119 of the Highways Act 1980 and also under section 53A (2) of the Wildlife Countryside Act 1981.

I achieved a successful result in a short time, and was granted the exact diversion modification requested within the application. The NFU member was delighted and the additional barn is now in place, looking fabulous, with lots of happy farmyard residents!

I attained Fellowship of the Agricultural Law Association in 2009 and have experience in a wide variety of agricultural property transactions, including land sales and purchases.

I also act for lenders, advising on partnership agreements, rights of way issues, adverse possession matters, sports and recreational sales, deeds of easement, option and overage agreements, contract farming agreements and share farming agreements.

I have been listed within the agricultural sections of Chambers UK since 2015 and The Legal 500 publication since 2018 (the two main legal ‘go to’ directories).

For more information about this or any other agricultural matter, please contact our agricultural team.

The Countryside Stewardship Scheme

Applications are now open for the Countryside Stewardship Scheme. The scheme provides financial incentives to eligible farmers, foresters, woodland owners and other land managers to look after and improve their environment.

Applications can be made for:

  • Mid Tier

  • Wildlife Offers

  • Higher Tier

  • Capital grants

  • Woodland support grants

The Countryside Stewardship Scheme is made up of a number of different elements, including Mid Tier Agreement and High Tier Agreement; woodland creation and management; options to help improve wildlife on farms, and grants for boundaries, trees and orchards, water and air quality.

Applications under the scheme are made to the Rural Payments Agency.

With Basic Payment Scheme (BPS) payments beginning to reduce this year and with BPS payments being phased out between 2021 and 2027, the first payments under the Countryside Stewardship Scheme should begin to be received at the end of 2022. The new Environmental Land Management Scheme will also be introduced.

Manuals are available to explain the scheme rules, including who can apply and what land is eligible, together with how to apply guides to help with applications.

Mid Tier and Wildlife Offers applications are open from 9 February 2021 to 30 July 2021. Countryside Stewardship Mid Tier (including Wildlife Offer) will commence on 1 January 2022. An application pack may be requested online, using Rural Payments service, until 30 June 2021.

Under the Mid Tier Scheme, rural grants and payments may be made to support activities that support the local environment. This particular route offers a wide range of management options and capital grants. An application may be made for a combination of grants that are most relevant to your particular business and local environment. Grants are available as two year grants for specific capital works, and multi-year grants where payments are made every year for five years. Most applications are competitive, meaning they will be scored and ranked. An agreement will be offered to successful applicants and, if accepted, the Countryside Stewardship Agreement will start on 1 January 2022. Payment amount depends on the options and capital items chosen and compliance with the agreement.

Grants are available as management options and capital items.

Management Options:

  • Manage land for the benefit of local wildlife

    Providing sources of nectar and pollen for insect pollinators

    Providing winter food and nesting habitats for farmland birds

  • Support local priority habitats such as:

    Species-rich grasslands;

    Wetlands, rivers, streams, ponds and ditches;

    Hedges, orchards, wood pastures and parklands

  • Manage flood risk in your local area

  • Convert and manage land to organic certification standards

  • Manage and maintain landscape features, such as maintaining traditional farm buildings and maintaining Sites of Special Scientific Interest and scheduled monuments.

Capital Grants

Capital grants are available to help manage and maintain boundaries on your land including hedgerows and dry stone walls, manage water and air pollution and improve water quality in a high water quality priority area.

Wild Pollinator and Farm Wildlife Package (WPFWP)

This package is separate from the Wildlife Offers. It helps to provide farmland wildlife with the things they need to thrive and breed successfully.

The Wildlife Offers

There are four Wildlife Offers to choose from. Choose this route for a wide range of management options focusing on providing habitats for farm wildlife. This is the quickest and easiest way to apply for the Mid Tier. It is also non-competitive, which means you just have to meet minimum eligibility requirements for the offer.

Wildlife Offers help to provide:

  • Sources of nectar and pollen for insect pollinators

  • Winter food for seed-eating birds

  • Improved habitats, particularly for farmland birds and pollinators

Receive an annual payment each year for 5 years.

Apply online for a Wildlife Offer using the Rural Payments Service until 30 July 2021.

For Higher Tier applications, initial applications are open from 9 February 2021 to 30 April 2021. The Higher Tier covers more environmentally significant sites, commons and woodlands.

Applications may be made for capital grants. There are 67 standalone capital items within three groups:

  • Boundaries, trees and orchards

  • Water quality

  • Air quality

The aim is to protect and enhance the natural environment by increasing biodiversity, boosting habitats and improving water and air quality.

The following woodland support grants are available all year:

  • Woodland creation and maintenance grant

  • Woodland management plan grant

  • Woodland tree health grant

The Higher Tier also provides grants for woodland management.

Source: GOV.UK: Wildlife Offers: Countryside Stewardship (updated 22 February 2021)

Option Agreements - A Move Towards Strategic Land & Things to Consider

With COVID-19 impacting on the way we work and do business, it is not surprising that we are seeing an increase in demand for strategic land opportunities. More and more landowners are being approached by developers wanting to take an Option over their land and we have set out below some points to consider.

In simple terms, what is an Option Agreement?

In return for a usually non-refundable sum, the landowner grants the developer an option to purchase their land subject to them obtaining planning permission.

The attractiveness of an Option Agreement

Option Agreements can be attractive from both the landowner and the developer’s perspective.

From a Landowner’s perspective

  • A landowner can achieve a much higher price for the land than they would do selling at its agricultural value if planning permission is obtained.
  • A landowner may also continue to use the land up until the developer chooses to exercise the Option.

From a Developer’s perspective

  • An Option Agreement affords greater flexibility in terms of whether they would like to purchase the land in future.
  • The initial option sum payable to the landowner is often a fraction of the full purchase price and therefore a significant amount of money is not being parted with up front.

Things to consider

  • TIME – is there adequate time for the developer to obtain planning permission? Extensions to option period for appeals?
  • LAND – what is the extent of the land to be transferred – will a plan need to be drawn up and is sale by phases likely?
  • TITLE – does the registered title cause any issues?
  • PRICE – will this be fixed or based on a % of market value?
  • TAX – what tax implications are involved?
  • RETAINED LAND – unlocking for future development
  • CONSTRAINTS- restricting land dealings during option period
  • PROMOTION – land promoted into local plan for future development

We would advise that you always seek legal assistance when proceeding with an Option Agreement due to their complex nature. For further information, please contact us and I will be happy to assist.

Pre-nuptial Agreements and the Family Farm

If you have an interest in a farm and you are getting married, then you should consider a pre-nuptial or post-nuptial agreement. A pre-nuptial agreement is an agreement in writing which sets out what you intend to happen with your financial matters should your marriage break down.

A pre-nuptial agreement can take into account the complexities involved in owning and running a farm. We understand that a farm is not only a place of work; it is also a home and a family asset that the people involved want to protect for future generations. There may be several family members living on the farm and different businesses operating from it. Therefore, a pre-nuptial agreement can give a couple and potentially, the whole family, clarity as to the situation on separation.

In England and Wales, pre-nuptial agreements are not legally binding and in the event of divorce, the Court retains the ultimate decision making power as to whether the agreement should be upheld or given weight. However, in order to make sure any such agreement is given as much weight as possible by the Court, the parties must have a full appreciation of the implications of the agreement.

We would advise that both parties obtain independent legal advice and exchange full and frank financial disclosure. We would suggest that the agreement is signed no later than two months before the wedding to mitigate any potential future arguments that a party was pressurised into entering the agreement close to the wedding.

Therefore, if you are in the process of organising your wedding, consider a pre-nuptial agreement as part of your wedding preparation. If your wedding day is coming up soon, you can contact us to discuss a post-nuptial agreement; another type of agreement which sets out what should happen with financial matters on divorce. If you want to discuss this further then get in touch with one of our specialist family law solicitors who offer bespoke advice based on your circumstances.

New Rules are Shortly to Come into Force in Relation to the Abstraction of Water from Rivers, Wetlands and Boreholes

Previously exempt activities such as trickle irrigation for growing potatoes will require a licence from the Environment Agency. The deadline is 31 December 2019.

The new rules are an attempt by the Environment Agency to reduce the amount of water extracted from, in particular, streams with a modest flow. They follow the hot and dry summer of 2018 when there was much criticism of potato farms using spray irrigation.

Who Needs to Apply?

Any farmer, householder or business wanting to draw 4400 gallons (20m³) of water per day from a water course, wetland or a borehole will need to acquire a licence through the Environment Agency website. As a rough guide this is a similar amount to a medium sized milk tanker or equates to 260 baths a day. These water abstraction rules will better protect the environment by helping to balance the needs of abstractors while protecting scarce water supplies and the plants and animals that rely on them.

How Do I Apply for a Licence?

Enquiries can be made by calling 03708 506 506 or emailing enquiries@environment‐agency.gov.uk stating “New Authorisations” in the email subject. The Environment Agency strongly recommends that people submit their applications before the end of September 2019, as it can take up to three months to validate an application.

At Lanyon Bowdler our commercial and agricultural property team is well versed in all aspects of agriculture. If you have any queries relating to an agricultural matter, please contact us here.

Burwarton Show 2019

For the 11th year running, we hosted clients, contacts, friends and visitors to the show in our marquee.

The show is the largest one day agricultural show in the country (Yorkshire might dispute this!) and is a showcase for the farming communities of South Shropshire and those living just over the borders in Worcestershire and Herefordshire.

It celebrates core farming activities with parades of cattle and sheep, horse and pony displays and agricultural machinery, in the ring. Many involve young and very young children who lead their animals round the ring, which they have raised, and who will be the farmers of the future. Outside the ring, countryside pursuits and past times are all displayed.

Local businesses that support the farming community have pitches, tents or marquees where they offer hospitality and discuss the professional services and support they provide. Retailers similarly offer their wares such as fresh foods, outdoor clothing, motor vehicles and there are numerous food stalls offering scrumptious platefuls.

One section of the ground is devoted to a Conservation Area manned by voluntary groups which gives practical insight and advice into the steps that they take, or we could take, to protect and preserve the countryside we all love and enjoy so much.

All this makes for a convivial atmosphere and a warm welcome for regulars and those attending the show for the first time.

Lanyon Bowdler, through our Ludlow office, can trace deep roots in the South Shropshire community, by virtue of being an amalgamation of earlier firms, (always known as solicitors’ practices), running back for 200 years or more. Our records go back to the Weyman family and suggest that they were practicing from 7 Mill Street in the 1850s (although they went back further as lawyers) and we only moved from there, to our present offices on the Eco Park, in 2008.

Our practice now operates through seven offices over four counties and the majority have a long association within the area in which we operate.

These services extend beyond the traditional legal services we have always supplied, and we offer specialisms such as company and commercial expertise, employment law and compensation claims for personal injury and clinical negligence. I, personally, have derived great satisfaction in serving the farming and local business communities in the commercial property and agricultural department for more years than I care to admit, and we pride ourselves on being a modern firm with old fashioned values.

We are the nominated solicitors under the NFU Legal Assistance Scheme for its members in the three counties of Shropshire, Herefordshire and Staffordshire.

We are also signed up to the Military Covenant which offers services and support to members of our Forces both serving and retired.

If you are a regular or occasional visitor to the show or you are going to visit for the first time and would like to learn more about us or legal services in general, then please come and see us next year. We offer refreshments and, for those with young children, entertaining distractions such as colouring books and crayons, and guessing games with the Lanyon Bowdler bears – who deserve a blog in their own right!

Agricultural Wages in Wales - Guidance Published

The Welsh Government has published guidance relating to the Agricultural Wages (Wales) Order 2019.

In addition to the increased minimum rates of pay for agricultural workers, under the Order there are amendments to the definition of an apprentice and amendments to the definition of qualifying days for the calculation of annual leave.

The increased minimum rates of pay and amended definitions came into force on 1 April 2019.

The guidance can be accessed here.

It’s All About You

Lanyon Bowdler’s “bear hoop-la” has been put away for another year, now we’ve completed our season of agricultural show attendances, and we look back on what has been a lovely sunny season for virtually every show. It’s been a good thing for the visitors to the shows but, of course, the hot, dry weather has caused problems for farmers.

Perhaps one of the best things about the shows is the opportunity to chat to clients in a more relaxed way and find out more about how they are getting on. I was particularly pleased this year to see an old client of mine who I haven't seen for some years. When I first met him, he stood to lose his livelihood and the roof over his head due to a dispute within the family which could have resulted in the sale of the farm. His wife was pregnant and their son was born during the time I acted for him. Like lots of farmers, my client had worked on the farm for years for very little money on the basis that the bulk of the farm would be passed to him, leaving him with a viable dairy unit. The family dispute put this in jeopardy. His motivation, as well as protecting his livelihood and his home, was to provide a future for his children and he hoped that his baby son would take over from him one day. His ambition was to get to the point where he was milking 400 cows on the holding.

At an agricultural show last year, there was something familiar about one of the boys who tried our "guess the number of bears in the jar" competition. When he put his address down on the entry form I could see why: he was the baby who had grown up into a teenager and looked very much like his Dad. I spoke to him briefly and asked him what he wanted to do when he left school. He told me that he wanted to work on the farm with his Dad.

This year, I bumped into my client, the boy's father, at another show. We got talking and it was clear that he was doing what he loved, and had a thriving dairy farm. "How many cows are you milking now?" I asked him,"400" came the reply, It made my day.

Solicitors often suffer from negative misperceptions about what we do. It’s important to remember that underpinning everything we do is the fact that our job is to help others to achieve their ambitions, whatever the circumstances. At Lanyon Bowdler, our brand slogan is ‘our people, your team’. This is a great example of why that’s the case.

Registering your Property Rights

According to Land Registry statistics, approximately 25% of property in England and Wales remains unregistered. All land has an owner; it being unregistered just means there is no record of it with The Land Registry. A portion of that unregistered land may be owned by a business, local authority, charity or other such body. the Land Registry estimates that 20% of that land is rural, which suggests a portion is owned by farmers/estate owners.

Registering_your_property_rights.jpg

Land registration is now compulsory in the UK when properties change ownership or are being mortgaged for the first time. Examples include transfers of land by sale or gift, by an assent, a deed of appointment of a new trustee or by a court order. The full range is set out on The Land Registry website.

The unregistered land is land that has not been transferred, had a first mortgage since the compulsory registration came into force or been voluntarily registered.

Voluntary Registration

The Land Registry has recorded a rise in voluntary registration over the last 10 years for residential, commercial or agricultural properties.

There are certain benefits to voluntary registration, one being that the land registry fee is lower. The most important thing about property being registered is that it gives greater security of ownership, which means more protection against claims that may be made against it. Sometimes with commercial and agricultural property, until the deeds are reviewed, the owner may actually be unaware of exactly how much land they own or if they have other rights over pieces of land. This happens more frequently than you might think.

For voluntary registration, the Deeds to the property are carefully reviewed so that an accurate boundary of all land owned can be registered which clears up any uncertainty there may be.

Land that has been voluntarily registered can make it easier later if it is to be sold and can avoid additional delay. The Land Registry often have a large amount of work meaning registrations can take a while following submission.

If you are an owner of commercial or agricultural property/land which is unregistered, here at Lanyon Bowdler, our commercial and agricultural property team can assist you with voluntary first registration, including going through all of the deeds to ensure there is an accurate plan.

Other rights

Often commercial or agricultural property/land owners may have rights of way, easements or other such rights over land owned by another. This may be a formal or informal agreement. The best way to protect such a right is to have it registered at the Land Registry. Such rights can be important and they often relate to access, so protecting them can be vital.

If you believe you have a right over another piece of land or if you are just not sure, it is a good idea to ask about it as it might be something that could be protected by registration.

“The land is the only thing in the world worth working for, worth fighting for, worth dying for, because it's the only thing that lasts" Gerald O'Hara, Gone with the Wind.

Continuity and Expertise

Lanyon Bowdler’s Ludlow office can trace its roots back to the 1850s, when Stanley Weyman moved his solicitor’s practice to 7 Mill Street which was occupied continuously by successor practices until our move to the Eco Park in 2008.

Ludlow_01_for_blog.jpg

The location of Ludlow, near the middle of the Welsh Marches, has meant that since that date the practice (in its various forms) has been firmly embedded in the farming community in the area, as well as in the life of the town. As a result, we have acted for succeeding generations of farming families over the years.

Four generations

A colleague recently came across a pleasing example when checking some farm deeds for a member of the team prior to registering the legal title at the Land Registry. The firm acted when the family originally bought the farm in 1914 and has continued to act ever since - some four generations later.

We are proud of our roots in the local community, and our long term involvement with clients is not confined to farming families, but this connection has allowed us to develop our expertise.

NFU's Legal Assistance Scheme

The whole firm enjoys a close relationship with the NFU and we are panel solicitors under the NFU’s Legal Assistance Scheme for the counties of Shropshire, Herefordshire and Staffordshire.

We are lucky to have a vibrant specialised agricultural department (which is ranked by The Legal 500 as being in Tier 1 for Agriculture and Estates in the West Midlands), and we have specialists in all our offices, which stretch from Oswestry in the North to Hereford in the South.

If one of our offices is not convenient then our specialists are ready to advise and, where necessary, visit clients and potential clients wherever they may be located in the Welsh Marches and beyond.

Metal Detecting

Metal detecting and the prospect of unearthing buried treasure is something that has always fascinated me. I wanted to be an archaeologist when I was at school but my teachers seemed less keen, so that was that. The rest, as they say, is history.

Metal_Detecting.jpg

I have visited the British Museum in London many times over the years and marvelled at some of the finds that are displayed there, particularly the artefacts from the Sutton Hoo ship burial and the Mildenhall Treasure. The Staffordshire Hoard of Anglo-Saxon gold and silver is probably the most recent metal detecting hoard that I have been to see. Now that I have just begun my fifth decade, I am hoping soon to become the proud new owner of my very own metal detector. The fields of Shropshire await!

But what rules do I need to abide by?

First, the owner of the land, where I intend to use my metal detector must be contacted, and their written permission sought, to allow me to search with my detector on the land.

It is illegal to search on public or private land without permission, or to search on a designated area, such as a site of Special Scientific Interest. The National Council of Metal Detecting website has a model agreement which can be downloaded (ncmd.co.uk). Also, the National Farmers’ Union’s website has its own model clause for the use of NFU members. These agreements can help determine issues such as the area to be searched, and how any income received from a find will be split between the metal detectorist and the landowner (a potentially important consideration).

Second, follow the Code of Practice for Responsible Metal Detecting. All finds should be recorded with the Portable Antiquities Scheme.

Third, the Treasure Act 1996 redefined the meaning of “treasure” for England, Wales and Northern Ireland. In broad terms, “treasure” now includes all objects containing precious metal that were buried for any reason and are at least 300 years old. Failure to record a find of “treasure” could result in a fine and/or up to three months in prison. Finds must be reported to the coroner in the district in which it was found within 14 days.

The local finds liaison officer at your local county council can do this for you. If the coroner declares the find to be treasure, museums will have the opportunity to purchase it. The treasure is valued by the Treasure Valuation Committee and they recommend a figure to the Secretary of State for Culture. The museum pay that amount if the valuation is agreed and a reward (equal to the full market value of the treasure) is usually paid to the finder and/or the owner/occupier of the land.

If the reward is payable to more than one person, the Secretary of State will determine how much is to be paid to each, although it is usually split equally between the finder and the landowner (this is where a written agreement may come in useful). If a museum does not want to acquire the treasure, it can be disclaimed and given back to the finder or landowner.

Fourth, non-treasure finds are governed by the British Museum’s Portable Antiquities Scheme, where finders are encouraged to voluntarily record their archaeological finds. In the last 20 years the number of recorded finds – both treasure and non treasure– has increased exponentially. Apparently, about 95% of finds are discovered by members of the public and there are up to 10,000 regular metal detectorists. Again, a prior written agreement with the landowner will be helpful in determining what is to happen to any object found.

It is thought that there is a huge amount of treasure just waiting to be discovered and therefore there is no time to waste - I had better get that metal detector and start searching!

Election Results - Hung Parliament and Farming

The Conservatives won the most seats, as expected, but they have fallen short of the 326 seats required to form a majority. Below we explore what the Tories promised the farming industry in their manifesto and the uncertainty of a hung parliament on Brexit negotiations.

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Focus on agriculture

The Conservatives have said that they have “huge ambitions for our farming industry: we are determined to grow more, sell more and export more great British food.”

The manifesto does place more emphasis on production and it commits to funding farm support until 2022 providing much needed certainty for the farming community amidst Brexit concerns.

They have promised new frameworks for food production and ‘stewardship of the countryside.’

As well as helping Natural England expand its provision of technical expertise to farmers to deliver environmental improvements on a landscape scale, from enriching soil fertility to planting hedgerows and building dry stone walls.

Need for certainty

However, a hung parliament has caused farmers to brace themselves for months of continued uncertainty as we begin our departure from the European Union.

Theresa May’s reason for holding the election was to give her a strong majority with which her party could confidently negotiate with Brussels and pass necessary legislation. Now the Tories must rely on support from other parties.

NFU president Meuring Raymond has said,

“It is important for our industry to have clarity and see certainty from a functioning administration as soon as possible…We will continue to push for the right post-Brexit trade deal, regulatory framework, a domestic agricultural policy suited to Britain and access to a competent, reliable workforce.”

Motoring Law and Farming

As summer approaches, I was recently asked to clarify the legal position in respect of Motoring Law issues that crop (no pun intended) up from time to time involving farmers and their employees …

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Driving licences and age:

Tractors and trailers

  • A person aged 16 can drive a tractor as long as it is not more than 2.45 metres wide and they have passed their tractor test.

  • They can also drive tow trailers less than 2.45m with 2 wheels or 4 wheels close-coupled

  • As a rough guide, older tractors are smaller than newer ones

  • At the age of 17, once a driving test (Class B) has been passed, a 31t tractor and trailer can be driven

  • However, a person still needs to be 21 before they can drive a combine harvester, telehandler and self propelled foragers/sprayers

Insurance

  • Employers should ensure that this is in place, expressly covering those under 17.

Mobile phones

  • The rules are the same as for other motorists…6 penalty points and a fine.

The Farmer wants a Dog

Its 10pm on a Friday night and my husband and I are sat on the sofa watching the news after he has come in from checking a calf that looked a little off colour earlier. I notice he is busy looking at his phone and when I ask him what he’s looking at he starts showing me photos of cute puppies that he has seen for sale on the internet.

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Bex & Pepper

My husband has been dropping hints about us having a dog since his two beloved dogs, Bex and Pepper, died close together in 2013. Before then we always had dogs and were both brought up with dogs as children. Since our dogs passed, although I miss them, I have not missed the commitment because we now have young children, and I work full time as a solicitor, so I feel my plate is full enough.

I have therefore ignored any hints that have been thrown my way about it being the right time to get another dog, but my husband is quietly persistent.

Missing a companion

However, recently I have been off work recovering from an operation and have been at home on the farm during the day. This has given me an insight as to what happens there during the working week, when I am normally in the office and the children are at school.

My husband runs our 500 acre mixed farm single handed, so as you can imagine his workload is full on and he is very busy juggling the stock and field work with trips to market, general maintenance, administration and all the other things farmers have to deal with, but what struck me though was not the hustle and bustle, it was the loneliness.

Now I am not saying I never saw a soul because we are not that remote, but I realised that for my husband, when the children and I left in the morning, he was on his own all day. I started to realise that until recently he always had his dog, and wherever he went the dog went too, and that without a companion his working day was very different. I thought about our farming neighbours and friends and found it hard to think of a farmer without a dog (or two).

Maybenow is the right time

A farm dog can have many roles, it can be a worker, a security guard, a gun dog, a pet and a friend and I understand now that a dog has a valuable part to play in life on the farm. A dog to a farm can be as important as the kitchen is to the farmhouse; it’s at the centre of its heart. My husband has gained further support from our five year old son and four year old daughter, who keep asking when we are getting a dog, and so maybe now is the right time for them to learn the responsibility and rewards that go with having a dog.

So as the song goes the farmer wants a wife, the wife wants a child and the child wants a dog!

Planning Permission and Keeping Horses

In recent years development involving horses has become increasingly popular. Farm land and buildings are being sold or let to individuals hoping to use the land and buildings to keep their horses. What many individuals are unaware of is that this material change in use is likely to require planning permission.

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So what is development and what is a material change in use?

Under the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 (TCPA 1990), planning permission is required for any development (section 57[1], TCPA 1990). Development is defined as the “carrying out of building, engineering, mining or other operations in, on, over or under the land or the making of any material change in the use of any buildings or other land” (section 55[1], TCPA 1990). As such, there is a basic requirement for planning permission to be obtained if there is a material change of use of any buildings or land. However, the term ‘material’ is not defined by the TCPA 1990 and there is a substantial amount of case law on what constitutes a material change in use and what does not.

Some examples of what would constitute a material change of use are set out below:

  1. Use of land or buildings to keep horses for recreational use;

  2. Use of land or buildings to keep horses for commercial use;

  3. The erection of buildings to shelter horses or horsiculture equipment;

  4. The erection of buildings for the purpose of exercising horses.

Agricultural v Recreational

The Court has held that the term in the statutory definition of agriculture referring to the breeding and keeping of livestock does not apply to the breeding and keeping of horses (except in connection with any farming use). Therefore, unless the horses are simply turned out to the land with a view to feeding them from the land, it is likely that planning permission will be required.

Example

You purchase a plot of land from a local farmer intending to keep the family horses on, but the field is currently used by the farmer to graze sheep. If you use the field to house, graze and exercise the horses, will you need to seek planning permission?

Answer: Yes. As the horses will be exercised on the land planning permission is required.

What happens if you do not obtain planning permission?

Failure to obtain planning permission is commonly known as a ‘planning breach’.

It is likely that a retrospective planning application will have to be submitted if a planning breach has occurred. If this retrospective application fails then the Council can serve an enforcement notice which requires you to put things back to the way they were.

How can we help?

To avoid the risk of enforcement action you should always seek advice before carrying out any change of use or development. At Lanyon Bowdler we have a team of experienced planning solicitors who would be happy to discuss your proposals and advise on any planning queries you may have.

What is your Pet Hate?

We all have certain nuances in our lives that irk us to the extremes and no matter how we try to justify other people’s actions we fail to understand why they do what they do. Do they have no understanding that it is wrong or is it the usual attitude “it’s not my problem”.

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We could all adopt that philosophy and attitude to life but sadly it does not resolve the problem.

Convenient place to dump rubbish

I live in the heart of the countryside in an area of outstanding natural beauty and I feel blessed to have nature around me. Every morning I draw back my bedroom curtains and gaze in awe at the green and pleasant land before me.

I start my day with hope in my heart that everyone embraces the start of a new day as I do with excitement and expectation.

How delusional can I be? Within half a mile of leaving my delightful surroundings I suddenly realise that not everyone feels the same.

It is unfortunate that there are irresponsible, mindless individuals with a blatant disregard for our environment and for the welfare of wildlife and future generations as they regularly see a green space as a convenient place to ‘DUMP THEIR RUBBISH’.

Under the cover of darkness

Why do they do it? A question I ask myself every time I see a pile of rubble, bricks, plaster, a fridge, mattresses, old beds, settees etc. etc. on the side of the road, in a hedge, piled high in a layby, gateways, woodland anywhere and everywhere except the recycling sites strategically placed around the county with open access to all and at no charge to the general public.

I fail to understand their logic as to why they take the time to load the offending objects onto a vehicle to travel miles, usually under the cover of darkness, to dump their rubbish instead of taking it to the recycling centre the next day.

I am tired of picking up fast food cartons, paper bags, empty bottles, cans and other unseemly objects from the grass verge fronting my property. How convenient it is to the offenders to just open the car window and throw it out!

Fly tipping is illegal

It doesn’t matter how small or how large it may be, a sweet wrapper to an unwanted kitchen cupboard, think responsibly and dispose of it thoughtfully and legally in the designated place…A REFUSE BIN OR A RECYCLING SITE.

Fly tipping is the illegal deposit of waste on land contrary to Section 33(1) (a) of the Environmental Protection Act 1990.

Landowners/farmers are liable for any waste that is fly-tipped on their land and can be prosecuted if they do not clear it away, often at a huge cost to their business. The waste poses a risk to livestock, wildlife and the environment.

There is no definitive answer to the escalating problem apart from penalising the offenders, if you can catch them, unfortunately this will not deter them as they will just dump their rubbish somewhere else. We need to look to the future and continue to educate the younger generations, encourage them to take more responsibility, learn to respect their environment and help to preserve it as they are the ones who will be living in it.

The Women's Land Army

I feel extremely privileged and honoured to be meeting with Mrs Nita Millington at her home in Staffordshire to talk about her early years as a member of the Women’s Land Army during the 1940s. Jan Graham, Mrs Millington’s daughter is also present.

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The main reason for the interview with Mrs Millington is to compare her time in the early 1940s working in the agricultural industry as a land army girl and the role of women in agriculture in the 21st Century. The interview takes the form of questions, which were sent to Mrs Millington prior to the interview.

1  Do you come from a farming background?

No. I was born in Salford Manchester on 25 January 1925, the youngest of five daughters. My father worked for the Co-Op as a saddle and harness maker. At that time all their deliveries were made by horse drawn drays, his main job was to maintain the harnesses. My father died at the start of the war in 1939, I was 14 years old. I had passed a scholarship to go to the Girls’ High School with a view to further education at a secretarial college. The school was then closed and the children were evacuated to the country. My mother did not want me to leave even though Manchester and the surrounding areas were being heavily bombed, so I stayed at home with her. They were frightening times with too many near misses.

At 15 I went to work in a factory sewing raincoats, which was hard work. Then when I was 17 my mother died and I went to live with my married sister. I then started work in another factory sewing mine-sweepers’ coats and sou’westers. There were many occasions when I machined over my fingers and finger-nails. The work was very hard. The most arduous work was the waterproofing; this was mainly done by the biggest and strongest women in a basement cellar. The work entailed painting thick black dope, which was kept in huge tubs, onto the clothing.

2  How did you become part of the Women’s Land Army?

It became compulsory at the age of 18 and over for all girls without commitments (children or retained occupations) to join one of the services. I decided to join the Women’s Land Army as I liked the idea of working and living in the country. I had seen lovely smiling faces on the many posters and in the films at the cinema. Everything about the WLA looked happy and cheerful.

3  What year did you join and how long were you with the WLA?

I joined in 1943 at the age of 18 and stayed until I married in April 1947.
In 1946 I met my husband to be Alf when he came to the farm to work. He had served in the Army during the six years of the war.

4  Where were you based?

When I joined I was given a uniform and then sent to a farm on the outskirts of Manchester for a few Saturdays for training. I was then sent to work on Lord Chomondeley’s estate at a farm at Harmer Hill in rural Shropshire. I worked there until after the war ended. When the men started to return from the war to work the land they replaced the women and girls.

I was the only land army girl on the farm. I had lodgings at a house in the village. The farm was a few miles from the village so I cycled daily. There were hostels where a number of WLA girls stayed together or some even lived at home, this wasn’t an option for me due to the location of the farm where I was posted.

The lodgings were clean and reasonably comfortable, but quite basic. I was used to more modern conveniences, plumbing and electricity. In Shropshire it was quite different, no bathroom and an outside toilet. The only light was from oil lamps and the heating was a coal fire downstairs. It was very cold, so cold in the winter that the water in the wash jug in my room used to freeze. I kept my work clothes in my bed at night during the winter months to keep them warm so I didn’t have to put cold clothes on the next morning. The family I lived with were kind and I was well fed. As I worked on the land I had extra rations of cheese, sugar and butter which I shared with my host family.

I cannot remember how much I was paid but after paying my lodgings I had enough money to go out to the dance and cinema, whenever I could.

I later moved to another farm in Harmer Hill as I was no longer needed on that particular farm. I still wanted to stay in the Land Army and I was courting Alf at the time I therefore, found employment on another farm in Harmer Hill.

5  Did you work alone on the farm or were there other WLAs?

I was the only WLA on the farm; however there were two or three older women from the local village who worked on the farm. The older women did not have to join one of the forces or the war effort as they were all married, with families.

6  What were your working hours?

The basic working day was 8am to 5pm. The hours differed during harvest 8am until dusk or until it got dark. It was during war time that double summertime was introduced, which meant a longer working day as the evenings were lighter.

7  What type of farm was it?

The farm was a mixed farm so work was varied. I did not do the milking but often mucked out the cowsheds and fed the calves.

8  What were your daily duties or were they more specific?

Depending on the season the work was varied. The holding grew sugar beet, mangle wurzels, potatoes and arable crops.

Beet was grown to produce sugar, the rows of plants needed to be weeded by hand using a long handled beet hoe. The beets were singled out by hand. When the crop was fully grown the beet was dug up and I had to go along cutting the green tops off the beet with a large knife (dangerous work). The root was then taken to the processing factory.

We used to have to spread manure on the fields; this was done by hand as there were no muck spreaders or machinery to assist with the process.

During the winter one of my jobs was sorting potatoes. The potatoes were stored in a big hod covered in straw and soil layer on layer. This was to protect the potatoes as they were stored outside. The hod was 30ft wide and 300ft long. I worked with the other women kneeling on sacks in the field sorting the good potatoes from the bad ones. Sometimes we wore gloves, but these soon got wet and muddy so quite often the work was done using bare hands.

I was sorting potatoes when I first set eyes on my husband to be when he came to work as a wagoner on the farm in January 1946. He was a natural horseman and very good with the horses.

I think hay making at harvest time was one of my favourite jobs, turning hay in the warm sunshine. When the hay was dry it was loaded onto the horse drawn carts using pitch forks. The hay was later stacked into hay stacks by hand.

The corn grown during the 1940s was much longer than the varieties grown today. The wheat grew to a height of five foot and the barley even higher at six foot, which was much taller than me.

When the corn was cut it was bundled into stooks and tied together with a long blade of corn. The stooks were then gathered and tied together with string. When they had dried they were fed into the threshing machine. The farm did not have a threshing machine of its own so one was brought to the farm once a year. As I was only short, it was my job to stand on the top of the threshing machine with a knife to quickly cut the string as the corn was fed into the machine. It was dangerous work, hot and tiring. The box were the corn was fed into was open and the sharp rotating blades could be seen below. The blades cut the corn into pieces separating the chaff from the grain. There was no guard on the box to prevent anyone from falling in to their death, which was not uncommon.

9  What did you find the most difficult?

My least favourite job was cutting curly kale with a knife in winter. The kale was often frozen and as it was cut the ice used to fall into my wellies. It was a cold laborious job.

10  Was it a family run farm?

The farm belonged to the estate of the very elderly Lord Cholmondeley, whom I rarely saw as when he visited the farm he only spoke to the farmer/Farm Manager Mr Jones. When the war ended I went to another farm at Harmer Hill. The farm was family run and belonged to the Mayalls which was run by Hugh & Richard Mayall. The Mayall family still farm in Shropshire at Pimhill Farm.

Mrs Millington says that she liked working for the Mayalls. Mrs Mayalls was fond of her and sometimes took her out, outings included going to the theatre.

11  When you finished with the land army did you stay in farming or did you pursue a different career?

My husband and I moved to Quarry Farm in Newport where he was offered a job as a farm labourer and wagoner. When Quarry Farm was sold we moved to Befcote to work for Mr Tomkinson.

12  Do you think the experience and time spent as a WLA helped to make you the person you are today?

As a naïve 17 year old girl I had no idea how my life would change. The work was challenging but provided me with a great independence which I have carried with me all my life. It also confirmed to me that I am and will always be a country girl at heart.

13  How do you think your time as a WLA girl would compare to the role of women in farming today?

There can be no comparison, in the 1940s safety was not an issue as it is today, and the work I did was dangerous. It was very hands on heavy work whereas today there is a piece of machinery to do all the back breaking work.

My work during the war was a big part of the government incentive ‘growing to feed a nation at war’. Farming today is more of a business.

14   Do you think agriculture has changed since your time as a WLA?

Yes, it has changed considerably, now it is a livelihood and business.

15  Do you see a future in farming for subsequent generations?

Yes very family orientated and more as a commercial business.

16  If you had your time over again would you still join the WLA?

Yes I would as I loved working and living in the countryside.

17  Do you still have contact with the Women’s Land Army?

Yes. In addition to attending the Armed Veterans Day Parade in Weymouth for quite a few years, health permitting, I have also attended, with my daughters Barbara and Jan, the annual WLA reunion and service at the Cenotaph in London each autumn for several years until the final gathering a couple of years ago. The service was followed by a most enjoyable lunch at Westminster School Hall for all Land girls who attended the reunion.

Barbara, Jan and I have also attended the WLA annual reunion near Brighton on a few occasions where we met and made friends with several former Land Girls.

I would like to thank Mrs Millington for a most enjoyable morning, sharing her memories with me. I would also like to thank her daughter Jan for providing a great deal of the back ground information.

The Legal Obligations of Quad Bikes

Quad bikes, or all terrain vehicles (ATV) are a very useful light machine used by many farmers, growers and gamekeepers who enjoy their versatility and utility. However, like everything used on the land which is mechanically driven, there are rules and regulations which must be adhered to to prevent prosecution at the Magistrates Court. 

All quad bikes, if they are to be used on the road must be approved, registered and taxed and have an MOT if they are more than three years old.   There are quite a few designs of quad bikes that cannot be used on the roads as they do not meet road safety standards. Some are tested and “type approved” in a similar way as motorbikes and these are sometimes called “leisure quad bikes” or “quadricycles".  These car-like quads, where the driver compartment is fully enclosed are treated in the same way as other quad bikes.  They are the only type of quad that can be used on the road.   We recommend that you check with the manufacturer if your quad bike has been approved for road use.  If your bike has not been approved but meets road safety standards, you can apply for type approval with the DVLA.   

The quad bike must be registered with the DVLA, have number plates and display a tax disc.  Bikes used on the road must have a valid MOT certificate.   To drive on the road you will need a full driving licence or a category B1 licence if it was issued before 1997.  Most important is that you must have a minimum of third party insurance.  A quad bike can only carry passengers if it is designed to do so and has the right number of seats – again check with the manufacturer to make sure that it is compliant and only choose quad bikes suitable for the purposes required.  If two gamekeepers are needed then the quad bike should have two seats. 

Crash helmets are recommended in all circumstances but quad bike drivers and passengers do not have to wear the crash helmets - but on or off road, these vehicles give little protection in an accident.  

If you are using your bike off road you do not need a driving licence, nor do you have to tax and register it.   However there is an off road register where you can record the details of the bike which could help the Police if it is stolen.   I would recommend that all off road quad bikes are so registered and protected with such items as trackers and “smart water”.  These items assist the Police in retrieving the vehicles which are often targeted by thieves and easily sold on the “backstreet market” . 

If you are using your quad bike for agricultural, horticultural or forestry work such as spreading of slug pellets or other chemicals it is effectively a light agricultural vehicle and should be registered as such.   You will need to get the correct nil value tax disc and renew it each year.   You can only use an agricultural quad bike on the road if travelling less than 1.5 km between sites where it is being used for agriculture, horticulture or forestry.  An agricultural quad bike used on the road does not need an MOT but must be registered and licensed for road use and must have a valid number plate and a minimum of third party insurance. Any owners who allow staff to use quad bikes should ensure that they have proper training and the correct safety equipment and the correct insurance.    If quad bikes are used after dark they will all need the correct lights, this is particularly important for looking after stock and again in the short hours of daylight in the winter.  Quad bikes used for light agricultural vehicles are usually made only with a driver’s seat and therefore are not allowed to carry passengers. 

Farmers and landowners who use the vehicles might want to check with their insurers and solicitors that they have correctly applied the rules and regulations for the use of these vehicles.
 

Ragwort - what's the problem?

Farmers, landowners and the general public may be aware of the legal implications under the Weeds Act 1959 and the legal obligation to clear away and prevent the spread of this notifiable weed.  

In fact, the “powers that be” and the Environment Agency can issue a clearance notice under the Ragwort Act since this is a poisonous plant which is dangerous to animals, in particular horses and cattle.  It is more poisonous in its dry form so if found in hay it can kill more rapidly than if it was left standing in a grazing field.  Farmers selling hay to other livestock owners for winter fodder should be particularly cautious if there is any risk of contamination with this poisonous weed. 

Ragwort spreads rapidly and has a long-lasting seed and can take years to eradicate once a parcel of land is infested.

You as a landowner have legal obligations to remove and treat your own land and you must not allow ragwort to spread onto adjacent land since that landowner could take legal action against you for allowing the spread of the weed.

Each plant produces thousands of seeds which are dispersed mainly by the wind and even the movement of contaminated soil during building operations could incur such a liability if the soil has ragwort weed within it.  Therefore it is important that landowners have management strategies for the removal and disposal of this weed to prevent further infestation.

The weed can be easily pulled up since it is shallow-rooted and the stem and flower should be burnt, or if no seeds are present it can be chopped and composted.  However for heavy infestations, broadleaf weed killers will be necessary.

The legislation

Under the Weeds Act 1959 common ragwort is one of the five weeds which allows the appropriate authorities (DEFRA) to serve a notice requiring an occupier of land to prevent the spread of this weed.  It is unfortunate the Highways Authority do not take this weed seriously and if landowners feel that their land has been contaminated by the spread of the weed along the highway and can show it has spread over several years they may have an action against the Highways Authority or the County Council.

There is also the Ragwort Control Act 2003 which gives a code of good practice not seeking to eradicate ragwort but to help prevent its spread onto land used for livestock and forage production.  Many people other than farmers and growers believe that ragwort is a useful plant for wildlife and it is particularly noted that certain butterfly species do enjoy ragwort as a source of food and in nature every plant has its place, but not in a hay or silage field. 

The responsibility to control ragwort rests with the occupier of the land and farmers that have land rented under Agricultural Holding Act or Farm Business Tenancy agreements should enforce their lease provisions regarding the spread of this noxious weed.  Farmers and landowners should seriously consider the implications of the spread of this weed and if they have concerns, contact their agrichemical consultants or environmental consultants for further advice.  

Alternatively, DEFRA gives very good advice on its website including advice on chemical use and other means of disposal of the plant and contaminated soil.

Farmers can allow caravans and camping on their land for fourteen days without change of use application

My family and I recently stayed on a camp site which was located on agricultural land behind a local public house.  We had an arrangement with the public house to use their facilities and water supply.  

Farmers and landowners may not be aware that they can legally allow camping on their land with tents and caravans for up to fourteen days continuous use or fourteen days spread over a year without change of use application to the local planning authority.   Obviously, there are other considerations as to the safety and security of the camp site and landowners may wish to have a short agreement in place with any holiday makers and campers which would reduce their potential liabilities in such circumstances.   It is well known that the National Scouts Association are looking for suitable camp sites and particularly are looking for woodland which is not grazed with livestock where they can place small camp sites on an ad hoc basis.   Similarly local schools are often looking for such sites for pupils undertaking the Duke of Edinburgh Award Scheme which often involves some form of expedition.  

Should you require further information on temporary use of agricultural land for recreational purposes I can be contacted on 01432 378379 or email douglas.godwin@lblaw.co.uk.

 

Latest News

30 Jan 2018

Farmers can allow caravans and camping on their land for fourteen days without change of use application

My family and I recently stayed on a camp site which was located on agricultural land behind a local public house. ...

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