Trees form a vital element in the government’s 10-point plan to achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2050; woodland stores carbon, boosts biodiversity and brings to the table associated benefits such as flood mitigation.
And with Defra committing to plant 30,000ha of new forestry a year by 2025, the existing incentives available for turning land over to trees are attractive, with more in the pipeline.
Woodland and forestry appeal on a number of levels; trees can be a prudent option for those looking for secure investment opportunities or, on a smaller scale, a revenue-earning operation that bolts on to existing farm and estate businesses.
News in brief
As spring begins to show signs of emerging, a busy season of fieldwork gets underway on most farms and estates across the UK. But while landowners set about their work, they are keeping one eye on the burgeoning post-Brexit policy environment they will be working within in the future. Here’s a flavour of some of the hot topics you need to know about this month.
Compliance Rules: Residential Lettings on Rural Estates for 2021
If you have residential lettings on your estate, the terms of the tenancy need to be in line with the latest rules. Find out how to ensure compliance.
On face value, it may not seem that an Act of Parliament ensuring tenanted properties are fit for human habitation would have a significant impact on estate owners. Properties let out on farms and estates may not always be the most modern accommodation, but few would be considered uninhabitable by most definitions.
Yet, Sophie Crookes, Rural Surveyor at Carter Jonas, says the Homes (Fitness for Human Habitation) Act 2018 – which came into force in March 2019 – has the potential to catch some landlords out. “It applies to every landlord and covers everything from a one-bed city flat to a seven-bedroom mansion in the countryside,” she said. “Landlords who use agents will be compliant because they have to be to let the property. But there are a lot of private landlords out there who risk falling foul of the law amid a strengthening of rights for tenants.” Sophie says that most landlords have nothing to fear, but added that some will only realise they have not followed the correct procedure when they have an issue with a tenant.
What rural grant funding will be available from 2021
Over the next few years farmers are going to experience a fundamental shift in agricultural support and they will need to use the next few years to plan for this change.
Funds will be diverted away for direct support payments, currently paid via the Basic Payment Scheme (BPS), towards schemes that will deliver “Public Goods” for which the government is prepared to pay.
Up until now, farmers have been able to utilise the payments received from the BPS to support their existing farming businesses but in future farmers will be expected to farm their land in a sustainable and profitable manner, complying with all basic regulations without any public support. And, farmers should be under no illusions – these basic regulations are likely to become tougher.
How to market a holiday lodge for sale
When you’re thinking of selling a holiday lodge, there is a lot to take into consideration. Our head of rural leisure talks through the process of putting up a holiday lodge for sale.
What is a holiday lodge park?
A holiday lodge park, or holiday lodge complex, is a development of timber lodges used for holiday accommodation, typically with additional amenities or activities such as a fishing lake. Larger parks, particularly those aimed at families, may also have an indoor or outdoor swimming pool.
The quality of lodges has improved in recent years, with many offering central heating or wood burners, televisions and hot tubs. The natural materials used to build these lodges, along with the cosiness that can be achieved, often mean they resemble ski chalets.