Countryside Stewardship Update for those already in Agreements

Info below taken from the .gov site for Countryside Stewardship exsisting agreements which can be accessed here:

Changes to the payment split for multi-year grants

You’ll now get 75% of your annual grant as an advance payment. You’ll get the remaining 25% as a final payment (subject to any penalties or reductions). The change is effective immediately and includes your 2017 agreement payments.

You don’t need to do anything, Natural England will adjust your payments for you. There are no changes to how and when you make a claim.

New Manuals

Natural England will write to you if you have an exsisting  Mid Tier or Higher Tier agreement with 1st January 2016 or 1st January 2017 start date to let you know about the new manuals.  You can access the new manuals here:



First UK base rate rise in a decade

All info below taken directly from Lloyds Bank Rapid Response email:

The Bank of England delivered its first hike in interest rates since July 2007, increasing Bank Rate by 0.25% to 0.50% ­– a move that was widely expected by financial markets. The voting record showed that seven of the MPC members supported the move, slightly more than had been generally expected, with internal members Ramsden and Cunliffe voting instead to keep interest rates unchanged, thus, delivering a 7-2 split.
As expected, the Inflation Report projections included a further downgrade to the growth profile. GDP growth for 2017 was lowered to 1.6% from 1.7% in August, but this was largely due to the impact of recent revisions to GDP history – particularly to GDP growth in 2016. Further out, the projected growth profile was little changed with growth in 2018 unrevised at 1.6%, while its forecast for 2019 was lowered to 1.7% from 1.8% previously.
Yet, despite the downward revision to growth, the inflation projections over the forecast horizon were broadly unchanged. The near-term profile for CPI inflation was revised up to reflect the above-expectations outturns in recent months and the Bank’s updated views that CPI will move above 3% in the coming months. Meanwhile, inflation at the 2yr and 3yr horizon continued to reflect an overshoot relative to the 2% target. This modest re-working of the inflation outlook suggests that the Bank continues to acknowledge that it has underestimated the initial speed of the feed-through from the post-referendum decline in sterling.
This updated inflation profile is conditioned on two further rate hikes over the next three years. This, on the face of it, would suggest that the Bank may need to raise rates by more than the markets are currently expecting. The Bank has explicitly acknowledged this in previous Inflation Reports. However, the absence of such a statement on this occasion delivered a more dovish outcome to today’s meeting than was expected.
Overall, the MPC’s take on the outlook for the UK has not substantively changed. The economy is expected to remain relatively resilient, while disappoint productivity growth will continue to see the limited amount of spare capacity that exists in the economy, to be used up relatively soon, necessitating further increases in interest rates over the forecast horizon. Beyond the first hike, the prospect for future increases will rest largely on how the UK’s supply potential reacts relative to demand. Ongoing signs of weak productivity, relatively subdued business investment and signs of diminished slack in the labour market suggest that any increases in economic capacity are likely to lag behind demand. As a result, we expect the MPC to sanction a further quarter-point rise in the Q3 2018. Nikesh Sawjani UK Economist



November Key Dates

I know I talk about the FAS a lot but they are really informative! Very quick post today with a round up on November’s key dates which were sent to me via FAS:

FAS provides free, confidential advice on cross compliance and the greening requirements, some aspects of the Water Framework Directive (including silage, slurry and agricultural fuel oil (SSAFO) and waste exemptions) and the Sustainable Use (of pesticides) Directive. To get in contact, please call 03000 200 301 (select the option for FAS), or email

1 November You can burn heather, rough grass, bracken, gorse or vaccinium on land, other than in upland areas, from this date. (GAEC* 6)
30 November If you have a two-part tariff agreement for your water abstraction licence, expect to receive your second part charge after 30 November. (GAEC 2)

*GAEC = Good Agricultural and Environmental Condition

For more detail on the information provided in the key dates table, please go to the relevant section of ‘The guide to cross compliance in England 2017’ and ‘Basic Payment Scheme: rules for 2017’.



Nitrate Vulnerable Zones- 2018 derogation window is now open

The 2018 derogation window is now open for applications and will close on 29 December 2017.

A derogation allows farmers in an NVZ to increase the amount of manure nitrogen they can apply on their farm from 170kg per hectare to 250kg per hectare, per year. Derogations are available to those farmers who will have and maintain at least 80% grassland during 2018. There are certain conditions attached to a derogation and applicants need to provide a written declaration that these conditions will be met.

Farmers wishing to apply for a grassland derogation must do so between Monday 2 October and Friday 29 December 2017 by phoning the Environment Agency National Customer Contact Centre on 03708 506 506. Lines are open from 8:00am to 6:00pm, Monday to Friday (excluding bank holidays). Farmers who currently hold a derogation for 2017 and who wish to continue to benefit from the higher grazing livestock manure application limit in 2018, must reapply before 29 December 2017.

Further information on how to apply for grassland derogations can be found on the GOV.UK website Grassland derogations for livestock manure in nitrate vulnerable zones. If anyone needs further help they should contact the Environment Agency (as above).



October Key Dates

If you’re not signed up to the FAS emails, you should be, visit their website here:

1 October
You can burn heather, rough grass, bracken, gorse or vaccinium on land in upland areas from this date. (GAEC* 6)
1 October
Start of closed period for applying organic manure with a high readily available nitrogen content (for example, slurry, poultry manures or liquid digested sewage sludge) to tillage land on soils which are not shallow or sandy. (SMR** 1)
1 October Ecological Focus Areas (EFA) catch crops must be retained until at least this date. (Basic Payment Scheme Rules: rules for 2017)
1 October EFA cover crops must be established by this date. (Basic Payment Scheme Rules: rules for 2017)
15 October
Start of closed period for applying organic manure with a high readily available nitrogen content (for example, slurry, poultry manures or liquid digested sewage sludge) to grassland on soils which are not shallow or sandy. (SMR 1)
31 October If you hold a summer water abstraction licence (authorising abstraction wholly within the months of April to October), the Environment Agency will make actual abstraction return forms available to you from 31 October. You then have 28 days to send your readings to the Environment Agency. (GAEC 2)

*GAEC = Good Agricultural and Environmental Condition

**SMR = Statutory Management Requirements

For more detail on the information provided in the key dates table, please go to the relevant section of ‘The guide to cross compliance in England 2017’ and Basic Payment Scheme Rules: rules for 2017.



New Rollover Relief time limits

I was reading the Ellacotts newsletter today and came accross this great article which will be especially interesting to those affected by HS2, information taken directly from their page:

Over the years, many of our clients have lost land under Compulsory Purchase Orders (CPO’s) for transport infrastructure projects such as the M40, A43 improvements and A14. Now many are affected by HS2, the Huntingdon bypass and the East West railway.

Situations differ, but we find many farmers wish to claim Rollover Relief to avoid paying Capital Gains Tax on the compensation received. This is achieved by reinvesting all of the compensation into new assets, such as land. Please note where not all of the compensation is reinvested, the relief is restricted.

With a CPO a wider range of new reinvestment assets can qualify for Rollover Relief, for example, let land and buildings can qualify.

Currently, landowners can claim Rollover Relief on new assets as long as they are acquired between one year before and three years after the sale of the old asset. HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) have recently confirmed that (at their discretion) landowners affected by compulsory purchase may have longer to rollover the capital gain, extending the time limit to three years before disposal and six years after.

This is very welcome news as landowners affected by compulsory purchase often find strong competition for farmland near large compulsory purchase schemes, making it difficult to find suitable replacement land within the timeframe.

It can also takes years for compulsory purchase compensation to be negotiated. The effective date of disposal is when the compensation is finally agreed. This affects the time limits for reinvestment (see example 1).

Examples where HMRC discretion could be available (but not guaranteed) include:

  1. Land is lost to HS2 in late 2017, with replacement land bought in 2018 but the compensation not agreed until 2027, or
  2. Land sold in 2015 but compensation only agreed in 2017 and replacement land not acquired until 2022.

Each case will be determined on its own merits. We always advise clients looking to extend their rollover period to retain proof of attempted purchases over the years e.g. offers in writing and instructions to agents, as evidence to present to HMRC. Provisional rollover claims can be made if reinvestment is likely, but not made by the time the tax is due.

Please note that HMRC discretion also applies to Rollover Relief claimed under normal circumstances, where there is a valid reason that land could not be disposed or acquired within the usual time frame.