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Legal Update- Agriculture July 2018

Greater permitted development rights for agricultural property

The Town and Country Planning General Permitted Development (England) (Amendment) Order 2018 came into force on 6th April 2018. This Order amends the Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) Order 2015 ('GDPO') which grants planning permission for certain types of development (referred to as 'Permitted Development Rights'). 

As a result of these changes coming into force, there are now greater permitted development rights available for the conversion of agricultural buildings into dwellings under Class Q of the GDPO.

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Technology trends in food and agriculture

With population growth outstripping food supply and climate change affecting crop yields, many commentators are forecasting a "food crunch". With that in mind we are seeing more and more interest in the agricultural technology (or agtech) sector. Whilst farmers generally have been early adopters of technology, the agricultural sector has lagged behind other industries in terms of innovation - however, this is beginning to change. Not only are large corporates taking an interest in agtech, but we are also now beginning to see the rise of dedicated food and agtech investment funds. 

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The use of notices to prevent easements arising by prescription

The Court of Appeal case of Winterburn v Bennett [2016] would have come as a relief to many land owners. The case showed that by displaying clear and visible signage that the land in question is private, landowners can prevent unauthorised users claiming rights over their land in the form of a prescriptive easement.

An 'easement' is a right benefiting a piece of land that is enjoyed over another piece of land owned by someone else. The rules relating to acquiring easements by prescription are complicated but, in brief, the party claiming the right must show at least 20 years' uninterrupted use of the land "as of right", that is, without force, without secrecy and without permission.

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Agricultural Charges and Receiverships

The Agricultural Credits Act 1928 ("ACA 1928") enables a farmer to grant an Agricultural Charge to a bank over all his farming stock and other agricultural assets, but not the land he farms.  

An Agricultural Charge can be a fixed charge, a floating charge or both. However, any assets obtained by the farmer after the creation of the Charge will only be subject to a floating charge. Only a registered deposit taking bank or the Bank of England can take an Agricultural Charge. 

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Articles from around the Web

Tree Health Resilience Strategy launched

A Tree Health Resilience Strategy was launched on 25 May 2018 to protect England's trees from pests and diseases. The strategy aims to enhance protections and build the resilience of trees by heightening awareness of biosecurity supporting initiatives and exploring opportunities for UK wood protections. 

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National parks and areas of outstanding natural beauty 

The country's National Parks were first established seventy years ago by the National Parks and Access to the Countryside Act 1949 and attract 260 million visitors a year. The Government has now revealed plans to explore how access to these areas can be improved and greater support provided to occupants. The plans will also consider the merits of extending existing areas and the creation of new designated areas. 

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