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December 2016 - Farming Ammonia Reduction Grants (FARG)

23 December 2016

Natural England has launched a new scheme aimed at Dairy and/or Beef farmers offering 100% funding towards the costs of covering slurry stores. The grant scheme has a Deadline of 31st January 2017 and will comprise one-to-one advice from a Natural England adviser to assess your farm followed by detailed advice on the best method of reducing ammonia emissions and conserving Nitrogen on your farm. Grants are paid based on standard costs and include either £61/m2 for roofs and self-supporting covers over slurry stores or £11.20/m2 for floating covers on slurry stores or lagoons. Please contact Andrew Hardcastle or Will Foyle for details of the scheme on 01423 860322.

December 2016 - LEADER Grants

23 December 2016

Money has become available from the local LEADER Groups to support local priorities in key areas; the total fund available amounts to £4.566 million which can provide funding up to 40% with grants from £2,500 - £35,000. The two key areas where funding is available are the Yorkshire Dales (extending east to the A1 and A61) and the North York Moors (extending west to the A19 and cutting south east from Easingwold to Stamford Bridge). The key schemes are:


Farm Productivity / Dales Farm Capital Grant Scheme

Providing funding towards machinery & equipment which will:


Improve business productivity (make better use of resources, produce more or produce new


Increase business turnover or profit

Create new or extend employment opportunities

Grow or expand existing rural businesses.


Examples of items available under this scheme include GPS systems linked to variable rate applications and yield monitoring, slurry separators/trailing shoe & slurry injection equipment, robotic milking equipment, cluster flushing, variable rate vacuum, plate coolers, LED lighting for livestock sheds, calving detectors, electronic weighs with EID and shedding gates, sheep weigh crush and turnover crates, mobile handling systems, heat exchangers. This list is not exhaustive, ask a member of our team for details. Applications are invited on a first come first served basis with a deadline of 12th June 2017.


 Micro & Small Enterprise Capital Grants 

Funding to assist with both expansion of existing businesses or start-up grants for new businesses. Funding includes investment in capital items & machinery, new or existing workspace to make businesses more profitable and also marketing of new or existing products.


Capital Tourism Grant

Providing grants towards improvements to existing or development of new tourism facilities with the aim of increasing visitor spending within the area


Forestry Capital Grant

Grants are available towards the costs of machinery & equipment to help the production, extraction, processing and marketing of both timber and non-timber forestry products including the development of wood-fuel supply chains. Please contact Andrew Hardcastle or Will Foyle for details of the scheme on 01423 860322.

December 2016 - Countryside Stewardship Scheme (CSS)

23 December 2016

The CSS is open to farming businesses which do not have an existing Environmental Scheme and comprise:


Higher & Mid-Tier

The Mid-Tier deadline is 30th September 2017 and the Higher Tier deadline is 15th May for an agreement start date of 1st January 2018. The scheme offers a 5 or 10 year agreement to those looking to receive funding for a range of management and capital items. The Higher Tier is aimed at areas with the highest environmental value, particularly SSSI’s and ESA’s, or those areas containing particular target species.


Boundary Grants

This has a deadline of 30th April 2017. Grants of up to £5,000 will be available for works to boundaries that will enhance wildlife or improve landscapes.  These include payments for laying, coppicing and gapping-up hedges and stone wall restoration. If you would like advice on this scheme for 2017 please contact us.


Water Capital Grants

Funding is available to those who wish to improve water management and quality on their land. Targeted on specific priority catchments, funding will be given to those who can mitigate the impact that agriculture has on water quality in a specific area.  The range of measures for which funding is available include installing new drinking troughs and fencing livestock away from a watercourse as well as roofing and concreting of sprayer wash-down stores, manure storage areas, slurry stores and silage pits and concreting livestock yards. To discuss the CSS please contact either Andrew Hardcastle or Catherine Johnston on 01423 860322.

December 2016 - Basic Payment Scheme (BPS)

23 December 2016

The RPA has commenced making BPS 2016 payments to farmers with the aim of paying 90% of farmers by the end of December 2016 and 93% of farmers by the end of March 2017. There are still a high number of claimants who received incorrect 2015 payments and it is looking like many of these issues have not yet been resolved and are likely to lead to incorrect BPS 2016 payments doubling the correction works required by the RPA.


Farmers with Common Land were generally some of the last to receive their BPS 2015 payments and it is yet to be seen whether this has a knock on effect with the BPS 2016 payments. It is possible that further delays could be experienced for these claimants in 2016 given the changes in the way the RPA process Common Land claims. If you would like advice on your BPS application or would like us to check the level of your payments please contact either Catherine Johnston or Andrew Hardcastle on 01423 860322.

December 2016 - Electricity Poles - Network Upgrades

23 December 2016

Much of the over ground electricity network was installed many decades ago and is coming to the end of its useful life. This coupled with changes to regulations and the connection of renewable energy supplies means much of the network over farmland is in need of upgrading. If you are approached by Northern Powergrid or National Grid it is recommended that you take professional advice on your position at the earliest opportunity as much of the replacement equipment may not be covered by the existing wayleaves and compensation may be due. Agents fees are payable by the utility company, for advice please contact Vicki Lamb or Will Foyle on 01423 860322.



December 2016 - Nitrate Vulnerable Zones (NVZ's)

23 December 2016

The Environment Agency is revising the boundaries of the NVZ’s in England for the period 2017-2020. Anyone with land in an NVZ is required to keep detailed records of all field applications of manure and fertilisers, stock numbers, manure imports and exports and assess each field before applying any nitrogen. If you would like further details of the NVZ requirements or assistance with your farm records please contact either Andrew Hardcastle or Will Foyle on 01423 860322.

December 2016 - Residential Lettings Update

23 December 2016

Following the appointment of Scott Littlefair as Lettings Director to the company back in September this year, we have made several key changes to our processes and procedures to ensure our Landlord clients fully comply with the industry’s forever changing rules and regulations. Coupled with this we have invested heavily in using the very latest technology to ensure the service we provide to our clients is second to none. If you are a landlord and have any questions surrounding the lettings industry or the various services we offer, please contact Scott on 07515 747189 who will be only too happy to assist you.  

December 2016 - Farmland Market Update

23 December 2016

2016 has seen a significant amount of land put to the market in Yorkshire, more than has been seen for 10 years. One would normally expect such a large increase in supply, coupled with the uncertainty caused by the Brexit vote to have a negative impact on land values but this has not been the case. The level of built up demand, particularly in the Harrogate district, for commercial blocks of farmland, together with the increase in buyers with rollover money following the sale of development land has held land values firm with some areas continuing to see increases. The market has quietened in the final quarter with a lack of supply once again but expectations for 2017 remain positive with land still seen as a good investment given its favourable tax treatment.


The demand for farms and land to rent in Yorkshire also continues to out-strip supply with substantial rents still being tendered for arable, grassland and buildings. Recent tender rents appear to contain a substantial amount of ‘key money’ on the hope that the tenant will be able to remain at the property for a substantial length of time, the rents not always reflecting the achievable return from the properties.


We now have a list of active buyers looking for farms and land in Yorkshire on both a commercial and an investment basis. If you are thinking of selling or would like a confidential discussion about potential sale and lease-back arrangements please call Andrew Hardcastle or John Haigh on 01423 860322.

November 2016 - LEADER Grant Scheme Re-Opens

21 November 2016

The Yorkshire Dales LEADER Programme has opened its next round of grants designed at improving efficiency and growth in rural areas.

The current “call” is for projects in both the Forestry and Agricultural sector and is aimed at introducing new technology and/or creating jobs in the local economy.  Additionally funding is available for improving the performance and sustainability of an Agricultural Holding.

Grants are available for up to 40% of project costs.  If you are thinking of investing in new agricultural or forestry equipment that may be eligible for a grant do not hesitate to contact Andrew Hardcastle or Will Foyle to discuss (01423 860322).  Lister Haigh’s specialist team enjoyed a 100% success record in its last round of applications.

November 2016 - Farmland Market in Yorkshire

18 November 2016

The farmland market in Yorkshire continues to show strength with further sales agreed over recent days by Lister Haigh’s agricultural team.


Following a very busy summer with more land, farms and rural property put to the market than has been seen for some years demand continues to out strip supply. Demand remains from commercial farmers, non-farming investors, amenity buyers and property developers. Over recent days we have agreed the following sales:



Another happy vendor following the sale (subject to contract) of Bankwood Farm, Summerbridge. A 110ac block of grassland with amenity woodland and planning consent for a new farm building, with scope to establish a farmstead on the land (subject to consents)



Following strong interest in the property and the invitation of Best & Final offers we have now agreed a sale (subject to contract) in excess of the guide price. The property comprised a grass paddock with planning consent for a timber field shelter on the site.



After a large quantity of interest in this property we received 16 offers and have successfully agreed a sale (subject to contract) well in excess of the guide price. The land extended to 4.16 acres and included a range of timber stables and buildings and had potential for future development (subject to obtaining planning)


If you have land or rural properties which you are thinking selling or letting, please give our agricultural team a call on 01423 860322

July 2016 - Small Scale Development Sites

01 July 2016

The government has won a legal challenge against a High Court ruling that quashed a national planning policy intended to exempt small sites from affordable housing obligations. The basis of the policy is that developments of 10 units or 1000 sq m or less should be excluded from affordable housing levies and tariff based contributions. However, local planning authorities may choose to apply a lower threshold of 5 units or less to development in designated rural areas.  Where this lower threshold is applied, local planning authorities should only seek affordable housing contributions from developments of between 6 to 10 units as financial contributions and not affordable housing units on site. 

Should you wish to convert an agricultural building, or, if you have land adjacent to existing development and wish to consider a small scale development, please contact Giles Chaplin.

June 2016 - Agricultural Permitted Development Rights

01 June 2016

Rules allowing farm buildings to be converted into houses without needing planning permission have been in place for nearly 2 years.  As with current agricultural permitted development rights, prior approval from the local planning authority must be obtained before commencing development.

A key feature of the permitted development rights is that they are not restricted to traditional agricultural buildings.  Any agricultural building which can be converted with building operations reasonably necessary to convert the building (outside National Parks and AONB's) will be acceptable.

The change in permitted development rights is a great opportunity for rural communities and will allow redundant buildings to be brought back into use.

May 2016 - Agricultural Waste Exemptions

01 May 2016

The legislation surrounding waste was amended in 2009, consequently the Environment Agency contacted all farmers in 2010 asking them to register any waste exemptions they felt they required to ensure they were complying with the new legislation.  Waste Exemptions last for 3 years and, as many were due for renewal in 2013, these are now likely to be due for renewal again this coming year.  We are aware that the EA is writing to the exemption holders.  If you would like to discuss which expemtions are likely to apply to your business or wish us to assist in renewing or registering new exemptions please get in touch.

April 2016 - Farmland Market Update

01 April 2016

Early summer 2016 has seen more land come up for sale in Yorkshire than has been the case for some years and this increased supply is having a consequential impact on the market.  The lack of supply over recent years has formed a backlog of buyers and good levels of interest are seen for most properties brought to the market.  The looming BREXIT referendum has added a level of caution by some investors; however, the majority of buyers are driven by the attractive tax treatments of owning farmland which many see as being unlikely to change regardless of the referendum outcome.  The low farm gate prices, particularly in the dairy sector, are undoubtedly having an effect on the market, however, more farmland is being released for development throughout Yorkshire which is consequently seeing buyers with substantial amounts of Capital Gains to rollover.


If you are thinking of selling or buying land or would like advice on budget figures to support loan applications, please contact Andrew Hardcastle or John Haigh to discuss your requirement.





March 2016 - Basic Payment Scheme (BPS)

07 March 2016

It is now possible to see land online again as either a map or aerial photograph view. From mid-March BPS applications should be able to be submitted online. Paper forms will be sent to those who applied on paper in 2014 but will not be available until later than the online system. The deadline is Monday 16th May 2016.

The minimum claim area remains at 5 Hectares and claimants must be “Active Farmers”. Those who do not operate airports, railway services, waterworks, real estate services or permanent sport & recreational grounds, or whose total 2015 BPS claim was worth up to £3,656.45 qualify automatically. If not, there are three “requalification” routes.

BPS claimants must meet 3 “Greening” measures on all their eligible area, not just the land used to claim BPS: Retention of Permanent Pasture and, for those with arable land, Crop Diversification and Ecological Focus Areas.

Young Farmers Scheme: Those under 40 can apply annually for a 25% top-up payment on up to 90 entitlements for up to 5 years after taking control of a business.

If you would like some advice or assistance with your 2016 application, please contact Catherine Johnston, Andrew Hardcastle or Amy Crabtree.

March 2016 - Entitlement Trading

07 March 2016

Basic Payment entitlements are currently trading and entitlements are now available to view or transfer online. Only those matched to land on the 2015 forms were retained under the new scheme and any spare were confiscated. If you have surplus Entitlements or require additional Entitlements for 2016 please contact Catherine Johnston, Andrew Hardcastle or Amy Crabtree.

February 2016 - Farming Recovery Fund

19 February 2016

DEFRA has recently opened the Farming Recovery Fund (FRF) with grants from £500-£20,000 available to farmers to replace and repair capital items not covered by insurance.

Farmers can receive funding for restoration of agricultural land, restoration of stock proof fences, walls, field accesses, tracks and gateways amongst a range of other items. The deadline for applications is Friday the 1st April. If you have been affected by the flooding and would like some advice please contact Lister Haigh to discuss funding available.

February 2016 - Countryside Stewardship Scheme (CSS)

19 February 2016

Natural England has recently announced a series of changes to its Countryside Stewardship Scheme, a scheme designed to replace the expiring ELS and HLS agreements. Lister Haigh would be delighted to discuss in more detail any of the schemes below.

Boundary Grants
Recently opened for applications from now until 30th April 2016, grants of up to £5,000 pounds will be available for works to hedgerows and boundaries that will enhance wildlife or improve landscapes. These small grants will likely appeal to a large number of farmers. If you would like advice on this scheme please contact a member of the Lister Haigh team.

Mid and Higher Tier
Set to open for applications on the 1st March for an agreement start date of January 2017 Mid Tier and Higher Tier schemes offer a multi-year agreement to those looking to receive funding for a range of management and capital items that address key targets within Natural England’s designated ‘Priority Areas’. This year’s application process should see the introduction of an online system which will help evaluate options that will score the highest in the application process.

Funding will also be available in the form of capital grants designed for those who wish to carry out work in their woodland to support the environment. This is set to include grants for woodland restoration, woodland management plans and addressing tree health issues.

Water Capital Grants
Funding will be available to those who wish to improve water management and quality on their land, targeted on specific priority catchments funding will be given to those who can mitigate the impact that agriculture has on water quality in a specific area. This can be achieved by a range of measures for which funding is available most notably installing new drinking troughs and fencing livestock away from a watercourse as well funding for items such as roofing and concreting of sprayer wash-down stores, manure storage facilities, slurry stores and silage pits.

February 2016 - Countryside Productivity Scheme

19 February 2016

Covering a wide range of features the Countryside Productivity Scheme is expected to open for applications again in Spring 2016. Grants of up to 40% are expected to be available on a number of projects considered to increase productivity. Previous applications have seen funding for a range of applications from livestock handling equipment to crop robotics, if you are planning investing in new technology in 2016 then contact Lister Haigh to discuss any funding available.

February 2016 - Farmland Market Update

19 February 2016

The value of land varies greatly from parish to parish depending upon local demand with prices anywhere from £6,000 to £15,000/ac for arable land in North Yorkshire. Farmers continue to be the main bidders however, non-farming investors continue to play a large role in the market. As land is now being sold for house building on a much larger scale than has been seen since the recession, landowners with rollover money will play an ever increasing part in price setting. The supply of land on the market has continued at historic low levels for some years which have caused a bottleneck of demand. As 2016 progresses there is an expectation of more land coming to the market as farmers seek to reduce the level of borrowings held by farming businesses which are starting to feel the pinch of continued low commodity prices.

If you are thinking of selling or buying land or would like advice on budget figures to support loan applications please contact Andrew Hardcastle to discuss your requirements.
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