THE BASIC PAYMENT SCHEME – CAP INFORMATION SEVICE

To claim BPS from 2015 onwards you will be required to follow a series of steps through the online CAP Information Service (you will no longer be able to apply by post). It is essential that you register for the new system as soon as it opens to prevent delays in your 2015 payments.

With the introduction of the new scheme there will be more complications, as well as the new online application system for farmers to deal with, which we will be able to guide farmers through.

WebbPaton are able to assist you with one small part of the process or we offer a complete BPS service, setting you up on the new system and completing your claim from start to finish. We will also be offering a cross compliance checking service for BPS. Please contact us on 01793 842055 if you would like assistance with BPS.

REGISTERING FOR THE BASIC PAYMENT SCHEME

The Rural Payments Agency are continuing to gently roll out the registration process for the new Basic Payment Scheme as they iron out problems with it. This means a delay, as agents such as WebbPaton will register in the next 3 to 4 weeks, and farmers will receive registration packs probably in January.

It is vitally important that you register for BPS as soon as you receive your pack to make sure all is well in advance of making your claim. Registration is going to be done online, so if you have any problems with this you need to contact the RPA or ourselves as early as possible to see what help you can receive.

The ability to make changes to the register via Entitlement transfers looks likely to commence in February once both parties have registered, however WebbPaton can help farmers to agree a deal to buy or sell entitlements in advance of this. For further information call 01793 842055.

A DATE FOR YOUR DIARY

WebbPaton will once again be hosting our highly successful Farm Business Updates in 2015. Invitations will be arriving with farmers and their rural professionals over the next few weeks.

Obviously, high on the agenda will be the 2015 CAP reform and its implications, covering the rules around greening, definitions of active farmers and new entrants, and the new environmental Countryside Stewardship Scheme. Other matters include renewables, rents, planning matters and the implications of the general election result.

The dates for your diary are:

28th January at North Wilts Golf Club, Bishops Cannings near Devizes
29th January at Chippenham Golf Club, Malmesbury Road, Chippenham
2nd & 3rd February at Wrag Barn Golf Club at Highworth, Swindon
5th February at The Wiltshire Golf Club, Vastern, Wootton Bassett

Doors open at 6.30pm. A complimentary hot supper is available after the meeting. To book your place just call us on 01793 842055 or email post@webbpaton.co.uk.

BASIC PAYMENT SCHEME – GREENING

The provisional details for ‘greening’ under the Basic Payment Scheme (which starts in January 2015) are now clearer, although we are awaiting further announcements and the detail is subject to change.

There will be three strands to greening, as follows: 1. Permanent Pasture.

2. Crop Diversification – if you have more than 30 hectares of arable land you must grow at least three crops, with the largest not taking more than 75% of the area and the smallest at least 5%. If you farm between 10-30 hectares you are required to grow at least two crops, of which the smallest must be at least 5% of the area.

3. Ecological Focus Areas (EFAs) – if you have more than 15 hectares of arable land you are required to devote the equivalent of 5% of your arable land to EFAs. There are six EFA options including hedgerows adjacent to arable land, fallow land, buffer strips next to a watercourse, nitrogen fixing crops, catch crops and cover crops.

How can WebbPaton help? If you need advice on how you can meet the greening rules and whether you need to amend or terminate your ELS agreement, please contact us and we will be happy to help.

THE RPA’S IDENTITY AUTHORISATION

The RPA will shortly be contacting all claimants who are registered on its systems regarding Identity Assurance (IDA). As part of the CAP Reform, all Basic Payment Scheme claims will have to be completed online from 2015 onwards.

Each signatory to the farming business who wishes to claim payments in future years will have to create a new IDA account, even if an Agent is already authorised for SPS on your behalf. This replaces the Government Gateway, and all the old SPS Online log-ins will no longer be valid. IDA accounts will be used across all Government systems in the future, for example to view your driving record or tax details. Third party providers such as the Post Office or Experian will have the job of verifying IDAs.

WebbPaton will be providing the opportunity for all current and new BPS clients to drop into the office for assistance with completing the IDA process once the system is up and running. If you would like to register as a new BPS client, please contact us and we will notify you when the IDA system is running.

FARM LENDING

There have been a number of changes in the personnel in the local agricultural banking sector recently. In contrast AMC has not changed. The AMC is very much open for business and keen to look at requests for secured borrowing, indeed at the moment they have funds discounted by 0.8% available to support infrastructure improvement projects eg new grain stores, dairy units etc.

If you would like to know more about borrowing from the AMC please call Mark Webb on 01793 842055.

WEBBPATON SOLAR CLIENTS FEATURE ON THRINGS TV

George Paton along with WebbPaton clients Philip Greenhill and Angela Livall feature on Thrings TV on a feature on solar farms.  Lawyer, Catherine Stickland of Thrings presents this fly through on what to expect when you enter into an agreement with a solar developer.  CLICK HERE to learn more about solar farms  vimeo.com/105361828

ENTITLEMENTS AND THE BASIC PAYMENT SCHEME

WebbPaton are currently selling Single Payment Entitlements which will be transferred in 2014. The deadline of 21st October (for the RPA to receive RLE1 forms) will signal the beginning of trading of Basic Payment Scheme entitlements. The RPA are expected to announce towards the end of October the opening and closing dates for transfers of BSP entitlements, and many more of the rules surrounding the scheme. Farmers who have surplus unclaimed entitlements in May 2015; anyone who fails the “active farmer” test; and farmers with less than 5 hectares of land (and <5 entitlements) will lose their entitlements at that point. WebbPaton will be selling entitlements right through to next April, so come and talk to us on 01793 842055.

SOLAR FIELDS AND SINGLE PAYMENTS

Some confusion seems to surround the issue of whether solar fields are considered eligible land for Single Payment purposes.

From the RPA guidance notes, the crucial point is the primary purpose of the land parcel. “If the primary purpose of the land parcel is for operating solar panels, the whole land parcel is ineligible” the guidance notes state. However, if the primary purpose of the land parcel is for agriculture, the rest of the land parcel will be eligible.

WebbPaton consider that the test of ‘primary purpose’ would be financial, ie the use of the land that generates the greatest income. In our view, income from solar use outweighs agricultural income (from sheep grazing for example), and to claim on this land risks jeopardising the farmer’s whole claim.

Contact us for further advice regarding SPS and BPS claims, and to discuss the sale or purchase of entitlements. We recommend selling SPS entitlements before 19th October 2014, although another window of opportunity will open some time in January (to be confirmed by RPA).

15 ACRES OF ARABLE LAND FOR SALE IN NORTH WILTSHIRE

WebbPaton have put on the market for sale a 15 acre field of arable land at Brinkworth, Malmesbury, North Wiltshire.  Particulars are available on our Property page of the website, or ring the office for the brochure. Buyers should speak to George Paton at WebbPaton on 01793 842055

GREENING AND ECOLOGICAL FOCUS AREA

WebbPaton are ready to advise farmers on the crop rotations for 2015 harvest taking into account the Ecological Focus Area and Greening requirements of the CAP Reform package.  Please ring WebbPaton on 01793 842055 for more details.

ENTITLEMENTS FOR SALE

If you need Single Payment Entitlements WebbPaton have sellers waiting. Currently we are seeking buyers, offers will be taken to our clients.

If you hold less than 5 entitlements and cannot claim on further land parcels your entitlements will be confiscated when the Basic Payment Scheme commences. You are advised to speak to your neighbours about collaborating your claims, or to seek a local farmer who needs a little more Entitlement.

If you have more than 5 hectares of eligible land which is not being used to claim Single Payments do give us a call to explore your options for increasing income, however you will need to comply with certain obligations to fulfil the expectations of the EU and RPA. The Scheme is worth considering, as you may be ticking all these boxes already within your current farming methods.

WebbPaton operate a friendly, efficient trading service which can supply what you need at a market price. Call 01793 842055 today to explore your options without obligation.

MILK QUOTA – LEASE OR BUY?

Higher recent milk supply figures have led some to believe that the UK might get closer to filling the national quota in 2014-15. Whilst an unlikely 12%+ increase in production would be needed to exceed UK quota it is possible that if production rises this will lead to some milk buyers withholding monthly milk cheques from suppliers who exceed their individual quota.

That has had a knock on effect and kick started both the quota leasing and sale markets after 10 years of little interest. Bearing in mind this is the last year of quotas there is no great practical difference from a quota standpoint in leasing or selling but there are differences in the tax treatment and some tenants are able to lease out but cannot sell quota.

If your milk production is up and your milk buyer indicates that they will penalise you for exceeding your milk quota this year, you might consider the current price to either lease or buy a small price to pay to guarantee a regular milk cheque. Our webpage What We Do gives our current milk quota prices, or you can ring us on 01793 842055 if you wish to discuss your own situation.

WEBBPATON COMPLETE RESIDENTIAL DEVELOPMENT LAND SALES TO PERSIMMON AND LINDEN HOMES

WebbPaton have completed two separate sales of residential development land with planning permission this week. The sites are a 36 dwellings site at Steventon in Oxfordshire sold to Linden Homes and a 73 dwelling site at Hook Street, Swindon to Persimmon Homes.

In the next two months we have residential development sites at Faringdon and at Shrivenham which will come on the market seeking house builders bids.

The demand to find land for housing continues in the Wiltshire, Oxfordshire and swindon market place. If you are a farmer with land which you think is suitable for developmemt please contact George Paton at WebbPaton.

FARMING ESTATE FINED BY ENVIRONMENT AGENCY FOR BURNING RUBBISH ON BONFIRE

Stephen Rye was fined £800 and ordered to pay £877.55 in costs, along with a £15 victim surcharge for consenting to the burning by East Midland Developments Limited, totalling £1,677.55. The charges were brought by the Environment Agency under the Environmental Permitting (England & Wales) Regulations 2010.

On 16 September 2011, Nottingham Fire & Rescue Service attended a fire on the Annesley Hall Estate, owned by East Midlands Developments Limited. The fire emitted plumes of smoke that could be seen from the M1 Motorway. The fire crew were concerned about the smoke as it posed a significant risk to traffic travelling on the A608 carriageway. On attendance at the scene, a fire was burning with flames reaching 2-3 feet above the waste pile.

Following investigation by the Environment Agency on 30 September 2011, officers identified an area of scorched ground close to a small lake within the Annesley Hall Estate. Amongst the remains of the bonfire was evidence of tree cuttings, plastic items, paper and fragments of construction materials. Within the grounds, officers also discovered a large amount of construction and demolition waste deposited next to a track.

East Midlands Developments Limited had previously received a warning letter in 2009 from the Environment Agency regarding unauthorised burning at Annesley Hall. At the time of the incident, Annesley Hall did not have an environmental permit or any exemptions that allowed burning of waste on site, or for the importation of construction and demolition waste.

Speaking after the case, an Environment Agency officer in charge of the investigation said:

“Fires have the potential to cause serious pollution incidents or harm human health. In this particular case the defendants’ actions also showed a disregard for the safety of others travelling on nearby roads. This prosecution demonstrates that we take illegal activities such as burning waste in the open air very seriously and will not hesitate to prosecute if necessary, to protect the environment and local communities.”

PERMITTED DEVELOPMENT FROM AGRICULTURAL BUILDING TO RESIDENTIAL ALLOWED

CHANGE OF USE OF AGRICULTURAL BUILDINGS TO RESIDENTIAL USE IN ENGLAND

The Government has introduced a new Use Class MB with permitted development rights to allow the change of use of agricultural buildings to dwellings in England from 6th April 2014. There is no reference in the legislation to type of building such as traditional buildings or any particular type of construction. It therefore looks las if it allows for the conversion of a Dutch barn, Atcost cubicle house or a Portal Frame barn to residential

The Permitted Development Rights based are as follows:

1. The change of use of existing agricultural buildings and land within their “curtilage” to up to 3 dwellings, together with the building operations reasonably needed for that conversion.
2. for upto 450 metres squared can be converted.
3. one house of 450 metres squared will be permitted.
4. The footprint of the completed development must not go outside the footprint of the original building.
5. The permitted building operations are limited to the installation or replacement of doors, windows, roofs or external walls.
6. Partial demolition is also allowed.
7. Prior Approval will be required for location, siting, design, external appearance, noise, contaminated land, flood risk and highways.
8. The Order limits these permitted development rights by stating that they are NOT allowed where:
“…the site was not used solely for an agricultural use, as part of an established agricultural unit on 20th March 2013.

The new permitted development rights will not apply:
1. to listed buildings.
2. land in National Parks, AONBs, conservation areas, World Heritage Sites and The Broads.
3. on scheduled monuments.
4. on Sites of Special Scientific Interest.

ENTITLEMENT TRADING

With around four weeks of trading left, time is running out for buyers needing Single Payment entitlements for their 2014 claim. WebbPaton have sellers waiting to accept offers from buyers. Just give us a call on 01793 842055 to discuss either your own requirements (or your Clients’ if applicable) with our experienced professional team. Whether you need SDA, SDA Moorland or non SDA, we can help. Whether you are VAT registered or not, we can match your needs to get the best deal. If you have control of land without entitlements we can help you maximise your options, so don’t delay, just give us a ring or email susan@webbpaton.co.uk.

FARMLAND WANTED BY BUYERS

WebbPaton have instructions from a number of farmers and investors looking to buy farms or bare farmland across Wiltshire, Oxfordshire and Gloucestershire. If you are thinking of selling please speak to Mark Webb as a number of our clients are happy to by privately off market.

WebbPaton are The Agricultural Mortgage Corporation AMC Agents. Currently there are some very good mortgage packages available to farmers to buy land, invest in buildings or to rearrange farm finances. Please speak to WebbPaton for more information.

WEBBPATON’S 2014 FARM BUSINESS UPDATE

WebbPaton are once again holding our annual farm business update meetings in January 2014.  Items to be included in the presentation in our own inimitable style include CAP Reform 2015 (what it means and the financial impact on farm businesses); what happens after ELS and HLS; planning policy changes; the renewables scene and opportunities for farmers; farm tenancy and taxation matters.

 

Speakers are land agents Mark Webb, George Paton, Cathy Hancock-Angell and Charlotte Pearson-Wood.  Farm XS (farm plastic recylcing) and AMC are kindly sponsoring the evenings once again, and will be present to talk to you if you wish, and a hot supper will be served afterwards with our compliments.

 

Be sure to book a place at one of our seminars by ringing 01793 842055 or emailingpost@webbpaton.co.uk.  Whilst the North Wilts and Wrag Barn Golf club venues are now fully booked, limited space is still available at:

 

The Wiltshire Golf Club, Royal Wootton Bassett on 30th January 2014

 

Doors open at 6.30pm when refreshments will be available.

PHOTO COMPETITION

WebbPaton are delighted to announce the launch of a photo competition. Those living and working in the rural areas are invited to submit typical countryside scenes which WebbPaton can use to decorate the bare walls of our newly extended office meeting room. Full credit will be given, and these pictures may also be used in WebbPaton promotional materials, farm business update slides and advertising. The prize is a case of wine. To enter please email your photo to post@webbpaton.co.uk together with your name, address and telephone numbers. The closing date for entries is 30th April 2014.



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