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Last week saw the publication of a report from the Committee on Climate Change entitled, “Land use: Reducing emissions and preparing for climate change”. It promotes transformational land use changes, which if they become reality, would have a significant impact on livestock farmers in particular.

The Rt. Hon John Gummer, Lord Deben, who famously fed a beef burger to his child during the BSE crisis when he was Secretary of State for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, chairs the committee.  He is an influential politician and as such I think farmers and landowners should take heed of this report because although it may not make palatable reading, I don’t think it should be dismissed out of hand because climate change is with us whether we like it or not.

The report is over 100 pages long and so I cannot provide much detail here but in simple terms it explains that the government’s goals for climate change mitigation and adaptation are unlikely to be met without fundamental changes to the way land is used and managed.

It is suggested livestock numbers should be reduced significantly thereby releasing poorer quality pasture land which can then be variously planted with woodland, biofuels or in places undergo peatland restoration projects.  Simultaneously the Government would promote changes in human diet through its nutritional guidelines, encouraging a significant reduction in the consumption of beef, lamb and dairy products as well as reducing food waste.

It seems the recently published Agriculture Bill has been identified as a key means of driving land use changes, which is in accord with Mr Gove’s thinking on “public money for public goods”.

The NFU is understandably not happy with these proposals and its president, Minette Batters said “The NFU has been clear with its position on British farming’s role in tackling climate change. Reducing livestock numbers in the UK is not a part of that policy.

“We are disappointed to see the Committee on Climate Change include that recommendation in its report. The report simply does not recognise the environmental benefits grass-fed beef and sheep production brings to the UK.

“It would be a fundamental mistake to design a farming system solely around an approach that mitigates greenhouse gases without any regard to the wider impact of such a policy for our environment and our food supply. It risks producing a one-eyed policy.”

I would agree with Minette Batters that the environmental and landscape benefits of livestock grazing should not be ignored.  However, it seems that measures to combat climate change are increasingly becoming ingrained in government policy across all sectors of our economy and farmers will inevitably be affected to some degree.  Thus, livestock farmers in particular are advised to be aware of the potential for the introduction of significant policy changes, which may affect them in the not too distant future.

James Stephen
Partner
01823 428860
James.stephen@carterjonas.co.uk

As we continue to digest the Agriculture Bill and evaluate what challenges and opportunities it will present to rural businesses, one thing is clear; it is going to be quite different.

That will mean many farming businesses will need to adapt their enterprises and income streams.  

For some farms and estates, diversification can mean consolidating assets to fund investment, which allows them to broaden the markets they serve. For others, it can be the creation of completely new business streams which complement the core operation. At a recent national event I attended the appetite for diversification was palpable, but many farmers didn’t know what would be best for their business and their family.

With change on the horizon and the greater importance of driving income from assets and farm businesses, we decided to dedicate our Autumn / Winter rural publication to diversification. We outline our approach to strategic reviews, which focusses on providing diversification options, enabling clients to make decisions on how to move their businesses forward. We also uncover many farms and estates that have successfully diversified as well as highlighting the most popular diversifications UK landowners get involved in. This issue is packed with top tips - from planning to marketing. If you would like to download a copy go to www.carterjonas.co.uk/rural-view

We have a team of expert surveyors on hand to support clients to successfully diversify their businesses.  For an initial discussion contact:

Arthur Chambers
Partner
01225 747270
Arthur.Chambers@carterjonas.co.uk

The long awaited ‘Road to Zero’ government strategy paper was published on 9th July. As well as policy encouraging new homes to include access to an electric vehicle (EV) charging point, a £400m fund to stimulate the roll out of public charging points was announced.

With projections of 10 million EVs on the road by 2035, and 1 million anticipated by 2020, a significant opportunity exists in providing public charging points. Businesses should be actively seeking to future-proof their property to secure the patronage of EV owning customers, whether they provide workspace, retail, leisure or visitor attractions.

The last year has seen a significant increase in the number of developers actively seeking to lease sites to host new public charging points.
Generally, developers are targeting two types of sites;

  • Retail and leisure locations to establish a number of fast chargers capable of charging over a 2-4 hour period. This is likely to provide a top-up charge whilst people shop or visit cafes, restaurants and other leisure facilities.
  • Larger parcels of land located on the major road network for dedicated charging stations with multiple rapid chargers capable of quickly processing a high volume of passing traffic with charge times of less than 30 minutes.

For the larger charging stations, land requirements can be up to 1 acre and are likely to include provision for onsite amenities such as toilets, and a café and shop.

Proximity to other charging stations and availability of grid are key determinants in site viability, making it essential that landowners act quickly before competing site owners do.  The typical requirement for an electrical connection with a load capability of up to 1MW is commonly a limiting factor, especially considering the grid constraints experienced in many areas of the country.

There is a range of business models available to commercial property owners for the development of EV charging facilities, from a straight lease granted to an EV charge point operator, co-investment in the charging infrastructure with a share of revenues, or outright purchase of the equipment.

To find out how you can benefit from EV charging opportunities speak to one of our Energy experts.

Simon Currie
Energy Specialist
0113 203 1099
simon.currie@carterjonas.co.uk

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@ James Stephen
James Stephen
RICS
Partner
01823 428860 email me about James
@ Simon Currie
Simon Currie
Senior Energy Specialist
0113 203 1099 email me about Simon
@ Arthur Chambers
Arthur Chambers
RICS
Partner
01225 747270 email me about Arthur
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James is a Partner who heads up the South West Rural team based in Taunton.  He specialises in rural estate management, landlord and tenant matters, valuation, compulsory purchase and compensation, rural grant and subsidy regimes, rural planning issues and farm and estate diversification opportunities.

He is a RICS registered valuer and appointed valuer for the Agricultural Mortgage Corporation (AMC).

James has two children that absorb much of his free time but during the odd window of opportunity he enjoys fly fishing, playing tennis and cricket and is an armchair rugby enthusiast.

I can provide advice on:

Energy Specialist in the Infrastructure and Energy team. Providing advice on energy projects and associated infrastructure including renewables, peak power generation and energy storage. Specifically, Simon advises landowners and developers on land referencing, site suitability, feasibility, technology selection, and project delivery.

I can provide advice on:

After joining Carter Jonas in the autumn of 2006, Arthur qualified as a member of the RICS in 2009.

Arthur provides advice to numerous private and corporate clients on a variety of professional matters, particularly issues around access and rights over land.  He also sells farms, farmland and Estates as well as advising on the Basic Payment Scheme to numerous farming clients across Wiltshire, Somerset and Gloucestershire

In between work on behalf of various private clients, Arthur also spends much of the working day on behalf of Network Rail assisting with their access requirements to the rail infrastructure across Wales.

I can provide advice on:

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