BM Rural Outlook E-FINAL Spreads - Flipbook - Page 4
2 | Rural Outlook Issue 21
10 points to note
Toby Trotman casts his eye over ten key issues currently facing the
Batcheller Monkhouse community of property owners, farmers,
estate managers and rural business owners.
bTB vaccination trials
A new bovine tuberculosis (bTB) vaccine and associated test could be
in place by 2025 after the Animal and Plant Health Agency awarded a
Leeds-based veterinary practice a contract to carry out phase two trials,
beginning in February 2022.
Bigger masts offer hope
The Government wants to allow existing
and new mobile phone masts to be
increased in size in order to improve
While it sadly won’t be developed as quickly as the Covid-19 vaccines, the
possibility of an effective vaccine will be welcomed at a time when current
Government measures are failing to check the spread of bTB across the country.
Currently in the South East, Kent and West Sussex are within low risk areas, while
East Sussex is in an ‘edge’ area. Given current trends, it is not difficult to envisage
both Kent and West Sussex becoming ‘edge’ areas if nothing more is done.
Evictions ban lifted
Residential landlords have been able to serve tenants on
assured shorthold tenancies (AST) with four months’ notice
to quit since 1 June, after the protection provided by the
Coronavirus Act 2020 came to an end.
While the threatened removal of ‘no fault’ notices to quit has
not materialised, landlords should consider this prospect
carefully, especially where they need possession to undertake
improvements or redevelopment.
It has proposed to allow them to be
five metres taller and two metres
wider, a change that would improve 4G
connections in rural areas as well as
helping with the roll out of 5G – particularly
useful in areas where fast broadband still
seems little more than a dream.
While the change would give the masts
increased presence on landowners’
property, the improved coverage would
allow businesses to operate from
rural locations and potentially enable
landowners to diversify into offering
business units with decent connectivity.
Forestry values and trends
Conifer timber prices appear to be recovering from the large drop
seen in 2019. Standing prices rose 1% in the year to March 2021,
reaching an average price of £31.03 per cubic metre, similar to
Softwood sawlog prices are up 15.4% in the six months to March
2021, reaching an average price of £67.70 per cubic metre. Prices
have been increasing steadily since 2012, again reversing the
fall seen in 2019/20. It is difficult to judge whether or not these
prices will hold, since the Government’s commitment to meeting
increasingly tough climate change targets is likely to see more
and more land being placed into forestry schemes.
Investing in farming
The Government’s recently launched Farming Investment Fund
aims to support innovation and productivity by providing grants to
support investment in equipment, technology and infrastructure.
Modern farm machinery can be a high risk investment for
farmers, especially when margins are small, and so the
new fund will aim to break down those barriers as well as
supporting young farmers trying to start out in the industry.
The fund covers a wide range of eligible investments, from
on-farm water storage to robotic and AI technologies.
Demand for rural office space
With demand for rural office space increasing in response
to the Covid-19 pandemic, farmers with redundant buildings
are well placed to take advantage of permitted development
rights and provide rural office space for businesses looking
to move out of cities and towns.
As rural connectivity steadily improves, an increase in the
number of businesses looking to take advantage of rural
office space is inevitable. Batcheller Monkhouse can advise
farmers on how to best meet this increased demand.
Electrical Safety Standards 2020
A reminder that the Electrical Safety Standards in the Private
Rented Sector (England) Regulations 2020 came into force
just over a year ago, on 1 June 2020.
They require landlords to have electrical installations in their
properties tested every five years by a qualified electrician.
A copy of the Electrical Installation Condition Report must
be given to a tenant before the tenancy begins.
Batcheller Monkhouse’s dedicated high street and rural lettings
and management department can provide further information.