09 January 2007
Following suspected cases of Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD) in pigs, premises at Stevenson & Co., 146 Fenaghy Road, Cullybackey, Ballymena, Co. Antrim, BT42 1EA was declared by a veterinary officer as a suspect premises at 4.15 p.m. yesterday (8th January). The Department of Agriculture and Rural Development have issued a declaration of a temporary control zone which comprises 300 metres around the perimeter of the premises (centred on grid reference D061 053). This declaration may be viewed by clicking here. Samples have been taken away for testing for FMD and SVD and preliminary results are expected later today (9th January). To view the full news release please click here.
09 January 2007
It has been confirmed this afternoon (9th January) by the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development that the tests carried out on pigs in Northern Ireland for FMD and SVD are negative. The movement restrictions imposed yesterday afternoon are being lifted.
02 February 2007
The RPA have released figures (as at 31st January) of how many full 2006 SPS payments have been made to farmers. A total of 21,940 full payments have been made during the second half of January with a value of £201 million.
To view the RPA's press release, please click here.
22 February 2007
David Miliband has this morning (22nd February) presented a written statement to the House of Commons giving an update on full and partial 2006 SPS payments made to date. In addition to the 40,697 full payments made prior to the commencement of the partial payments, 40,270 partial payments have now been made to 2006 SPS claimants which equates to a total of £919.13 million paid (59% of estimated total fund) to 83,967 (77%) claimaints.
Further partial payments are to be made to small number of farmers who fall within the eligible group. Full and top-up payments should commence shortly.
To view the Secretary of State's written statement, please click here.
06 March 2007
With effect from 1st March 2007, pre-movement testing for bovine TB has been extended in England and Wales to include movements of animals over 42 days old (6 weeks) from a one or two yearly tested herd. Such cattle must have tested negative to a TB test within 60 days before the movement. To view Defra's news release, please click here.
22 March 2007
The RPA has released the latest figures regarding 2006 Single Payment Scheme payments made as at 21st March 2007:
- a total of 95,737 claimants have received a payment (partial or full) out of the total number of claimants which is approximately 109,000.
- 57.84% have received a full payment (which equates to approximately 63,000 claimants) and 29.99% have received a partial payment and are awaiting a top-up to full payment (some 32,689 claimants)
- total value of payments made is £1,056.36 million which represents 68.6% of the estimated total fund of £1.54 billion.
29 March 2007
David Miliband presented a written statement to the House of Commons today (29th March) in which he announced the rates of voluntary modulation to be applied to the Single Payment Scheme from 2007 onwards as well as plans for national co-financing to voluntary modulation to support the effective delivery of agri-environment schemes, particularly Environmental Stewardship, under Axis 2 of the Rural Development Regulation.
The rates of voluntary modulation are to be:
- 2007 - 12%
- 2008 - 13%
- 2009 to 2012 - 14%.
National co-financing for Axis 2, which is where 80% of the voluntary modulation receipts will go, will be provided at a rate of 40%.
The overall budget for the Rural Development Programme in England will be £3.9 billion, which is more than double that available for the previous ERDP 2000 - 2006.
To view Miliband's full statement, please click here.
11 April 2007
With effect from 6th April 2007, the rules governing cattle identification and tracing have been changed in England, Wales and Scotland. The new Cattle Indentification Regulations 2007 see two main changes to former procedures:
- Temporary calf passports - these have been abolished which means that full passports are required for all cattle before they are moved from their holding of birth.
- Late passport application procedure - if an application has not been submitted within the stipulated 27 day period, it is now possible for keepers of such cattle to choose to have the calf and mother DNA tested to prove that the calf is the offspring of the mother detailed on the application form.
In addition, a new fee of £20 (per passport) for replacement passports has been introduced and this fee will be charged for the replacement of any passports lost, stolen or destroyed.
Further guidance regarding the introduction of the Cattle Indentification Regulations 2007 is available on Defra's website.
01 May 2007
A farmer from Devon whose cattle were culled due to bovine TB and was paid compensation on the basis of Defra's table valuations system and who as a result felt that his cattle were vastly under-valued has been granted permission to bring a Judicial Review of the system backed by the NFU.
It is expected that the case will be heard in the High Court later in 2007.
Please see the Farmers Guardian report for further information.
15 May 2007
David Miliband, Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rurul Affairs, has delivered a further written statement to the House of Commons today (15th May) regarding the Single Payment Scheme. He has confirmed that the RPA should keep their focus on attaining the target of 96.14% of 2006 SPS payments having been made by 30th June 2007 as well as prioritising work on claims regarding "claimants who find themselves in difficult circumstances". Mr. Miliband continues in his statement to confirm that there are still some 22,000 2005 cases which have been indentified for possible amendment. This outstanding work is now to be carried out as a separate exercise from 2006 payments and "corrections to SPS 2005 and 2006 payments will follow as necessary". Please click on the link above to view the full text of the written statement.
15 May 2007
The RICS has stated that it will seek a judicial review on the new regime of Home Information Packs (HIPs) due to be introduced in manadatory form on 1st June 2007 on the grounds that the government did not properly consult. Parliament is also due to debate their introduction this Wednesday (16th May) following a House of Lords committee report which was not wholly supportive of HIPs. A key issue seems to surround there being sufficient qualified persons available to carry out the inspections of Energy Performance Certificates which form a part of the HIPs. To view further information please see the BBC News report.
25 May 2007
Trade and Industry Secretary Alistair Darling published the Energy White Paper earlier this week (23rd). This White Paper looks to 2020 and builds upon findings of the Energy Review Report which was published in July 2006 giving specific measures to save energy and reduce carbon emissions.
To view further information, please see Defra's website.
25 May 2007
Dr. Christianne Glossop, Chief Veterinary Officer for Wales, has confirmed a case of H7N2 low pathogenic avian influenza in birds situated at Corwen, Conwy, North Wales (to view the press release please click here). The source of the infection is currently being investigated but the strain identified differs from the highly pathogenic strain H5N1 which was found in Europe last year and which can currently be found in South East Asia.
A one kilometre restriction zone has been put in place around the farm and the farm has been placed under restriction with all movements on or off premises stopped since 23rd May. To view a map showing the restriction zone, please click here. Further further information regarding avian influenza, please see Defra's website.
11 June 2007
New CAAV President - At the AGM of the Central Association of Agricultural Valuers (CAAV) held last Friday (8th June) in Bedford, Graham Martyn of the Cheshire Agricultural Valuers Association, and partner of Wright Manley, was elected President of the CAAV. Graham is joined on the CAAV Presidential team by Paul Clayson as Vice-President and Mark Webb as Junior Vice-President.
The Debate on Biofuels - It is time for UK farmers to start committing to growing crops for biofuels, a leading merchant told the annual conference of the Central Association of Agricultural Valuers on Friday, while the CAAV’s Secretary and Adviser saw reasons for caution.
Richard Whitlock, industrial crops director of Frontier Agriculture Ltd, urged valuers to encourage clients to consider producing crops for biofuel in the light not only of rapid advances in the potential to produce biofuel in the UK but also the EU energy aid payment that will be available for two million hectares throughout the European Union.
"I would recommend that everyone advises their farmer clients that they tap into the extra payment available," he said.
Global warming, an awareness of the long term depletion of fossil fuels and high fuel prices have contributed to growing interest in biofuels, he said, itself fuelled by high interest from NGOs and the media. Farmers across the world would respond to the opportunities where they increased prices.
Next year sees the first phase of the Renewable Transport Fuels Obligation (RTFO), in which sales of fuel for road vehicles will have to include 2.5% of renewable fuels, rising to 5% by 2010/11, helped by a range of incentives. The feedstock requirement for 5% RTFO will require 410,700 hectares, or 3.69 million tonnes, of wheat - which is achievable, Whitlock said -- and 796,000 acres, or 2.87mt, of oilseed rape (which is not).
Setting the scene for the growing interest, he reminded valuers that this was a new and uncertain territory for the United Kingdom. The EU/UK renewable fuel obligation is aimed primarily at dealing with greenhouse gas emissions and environmental issues, he said. "It is not primarily to support agriculture in the UK. But if we end up exporting our cereal surplus and importing biofuel, it would be a sad indictment of our industry."
He pointed to a run of interest comparable to "dot com" fever, characterised by huge investment, a lot of hype and, for some of the 11 biofuel plants proposed or already built in the UK, financial instability and difficulty in raising funding.
But merchants were in the process of signing a range of contracts, on a range of terms, with the established companies, and were looking for growers, he said, adding that as a buyer, Frontier would be driving greater efficiencies in ex-farm collection - a factor that he was geared to towards reducing transport costs and wastage.
Jeremy Moody, Secretary and Adviser to the CAAV, also expressed caution about supplying the industry, but said he recognised the enormous opportunity it will offer some growers. "I think we may remain in primary food production but benefit from the impact on prices of land diverted to biofuels in other countries benefiting from greater sunlight," he said. "The important thing is to maintain flexibility, such as offered by annual crops." He warned that "today’s sources of biofuels may be replaced as technology evolves" while the impact of CAP reform illustrated the risks of depending too closely on government initiatives. Already pressed livestock sectors have reason to be more cautious - there were new by-products from biofuel processing but strengthening cereals prices increased input costs.
26 June 2007
Lord Rooker has today (26th June) presented a written Ministerial Statement to Parliament regarding the Business Plan and Performance targets for the RPA for 2007/8. The targets which Lord Rooker has set are contained in his statement, a link to which is provided above. The RPA 2007/08 Strategy and Business Plan may be viewed on the RPA's website.
25 July 2007
The Court of Appeal has overturned the decision made in a High Court judgment to spare Shambo, the 'sacred' bullock kept in the Skanda Vale multi-faith community which tested positive for bovine TB some weeks ago.
Following the High Court judgement which ruled that the slaughter of Shambo would contravene the rights of Skanda Vale community under the European Convention of Human Rights, the Welsh Assembly Government had lodged an appeal against the ruling. Unless the Skanda Vale community appeal to the House of Lords on the decision, Shambo should be slaughtered in accordance with the slaughter orders.
Please click the following links to view further reports on FWi and Farmers Guardian websites.
30 July 2007
1st August 2007 will see the introduction of the compulsory requirement for Home Information Packs (HIPs) for houses with 4 or more bedrooms. This requirement will be extended to small properties once there are sufficient energy assessors trained to carry out the Energy Performance Certificate (EPCs) element of the HIPs. To view further information regarding HIPs, information to be included, EPCs, guidance to buyers/sellers and property professionals, please click here.
04 August 2007
Debby Reynolds, UK Chief Veterinary Officer, confirmed last night (Thursday 3rd August) that further investigations into the suspected case of Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD) on what is understood to be a beef fattening farm near Guildford in Surrey had found that FMD was present. All of the cattle on the farm, which number around 60, are to be culled. A 3 kilometre Protection Zone has been imposed as well as a 10 kilometre Surveillance Zone.
All movements of ruminants and pigs have been banned on a UK wide basis unless under licence. Further information is available on the Defra website.
06 August 2007
Defra has this evening (6th August 2007) identified a further suspected case of FMD within a herd of cattle located in the larger of the two Protection Zones. The suspect herd is to be culled as soon as possible. A total of 97 animals have been culled from the initial situation found, 64 from the infected premises and 33 from two dangerous contact premises. To view further updates on Defra's website, please click here.