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If you have any news or information please contact Carrie at info@ruralhub.org.uk.

Recent Developments

It's Farm Safety Week - 24 to 28 July 2017

The fifth Farm Safety Weekly is taking place between 24 and 28 July.

Farming is the most dangerous industry in the UK so the week will highlight first hand accounts of accidents on farm in a bid to raise the profile of farm safety.

Follow @yellowelliesUK and use the hashtag #FarmSafetyWeek on Twitter.

Website: www.yellowwellies.org

Consider registering a domain name for your business if you don't have a website

Online criminals are using a fake website scam to trick customers into paying money for goods that are never received. They do this by setting up a website using the name of a genuine business that does not have a website. The customer then thinks they are purchasing online goods from a genuine business but never receives the goods that they pay for.

If you are a business that does not have a website consider registering the domain name of your company to ensure that you do not fall victim to this scam.

New south Warwickshire Rural Community Development Worker is appointed

Jo Staniforth has been appointed as the South Warwickshire Rural Community Development Worker. Jo started on 2 May on a full time basis with WCC and is based at Elizabeth House, Stratford.

Jo will adopt an Asset Based Community Development (ABCD) approach when working with targeted communities to help residents develop their skills and talent and make better use of local facilities. Working in partnership with Parish Councils, the local community and rural agencies it is hoped real tangible benefits can be made to rural communities to improve people’s lives.

Jo will target her work in:

i)Kineton Castle, Lt Kineton & Combrook;
ii)Quinton;
iii)Lapworth South, Bushwood, Lowsonford & Rowington




Contact: Jo Staniforth
Contact number: 07880 178025
Email: jostaniforth@warwickshire.gov.uk

Tips for reducing fire risk

Every year in the UK, 1,700 farm buildings and 66,000 acres of grassland are destroyed by fire.

Tips to consider for reducing fire risk:

• Hay and straw should be removed from fields as soon as possible after harvesting
• Hay and straw should be stored separately from other buildings, particularly those housing fuels, agrochemicals and machinery in stacks of reasonable size, spaced at least 10 metres apart separately from livestock housing
• Petrol, diesel and other fuels should be stored in secure areas and storage tank outlets should be padlocked.
• Fertilisers and pesticides should be kept under lock and key. The Health & Safety Executive can provide further advice on the storage and transportation of fertilisers, particularly ammonium nitrate.
• Rubbish should be disposed of safely and on a regular basis

Warwickshire Fire and Rescue state that it is very important to ensure that the property name whether a farm, house or business is clearly shown at the entrance so emergency services can locate your property as quickly as possible.

Have you thought about applying for a Nuffield Farming Scholarship?

If you are between 25 and 45 working in or involved in agriculture, the land based industries or the food chain, have you thought about applying a Nuffield Farming Scholarship?

A ‘Nuffield’ provides funding, opens doors and creates global opportunities to meet people from across the whole sphere of agriculture, leading farmers, farming entrepreneurs and innovators, agricultural leaders and decision makers, people at all levels of research and development and people in the allied and food industries. Many countries have a similar scheme and their scholars are very willing to assist visiting scholars from the UK.

The organisation is not just about scholarships, it’s about a life-long association with like minds. The trust holds an annual conference where scholars give a short presentation of their travels and what they have discovered and there are various groups of previous scholars who keep in contact and meet to keep abreast of what is going on it their specific area or sector of the industry.

The closing date for applying this year is 31 July. For further information on how to apply for a Scholarship please visit the website.

Website: www.nuffieldscholar.org/

Beware of waste materials in animal bedding

During routine inspections the Environment Agency has discovered instances where waste materials, such as plasterboard and wood contaminated with plastics, metals and other hazardous material have been used as animal bedding on farms. This may be harmful to livestock, the environment, is illegal and can be very expensive to clean up.

Farmers should be present during the delivery of waste materials to their farm. Ensure that simple checks are made on whether the waste is to the same specification as you agreed and that it is free from contaminants. Wrongly described waste, contaminated waste or waste that is not allowed under a U8 exemption should be rejected. For more information please contact the Environment Agency.

Email: AGRMIDSEAST@environment-agency.gov.uk

Wyre Forest Local Planning Consultation

Wyre Forest District Council is currently consulting on a “Preferred Options” document for their local plan. This document identifies two potential approaches to how Wyre Forest District might meet its development requirements in the period up to 2034 along with proposed strategic, development management and allocations policies. The full document is available on the website below.

Contact number: 01562 732928
Email: LPR@wyreforestdc.gov.uk
Website: wyreforestdc-consult.limehouse.co.uk

Call for brownfield sites in Solihull

Planning Authorities now have a duty to publish a Brownfield Land Register (BLR), this is a list of previously developed sites that are potentially suitable for residential development.

Solihull Council is currently identifying sites to inform Part 1 of the BLR and is inviting landowners to submit any previously developed sites which may be suitable for housing development. Sites should ideally be 0.25ha or larger, or capable of providing at least 5 dwellings. All sites should be submitted using the Brownfield Land site proposal form which is available on the Council’s website and include a plan of the site.

Forms should be emailed or can be posted to Policy and Spatial Planning, Managed Growth Directorate, Solihull MBC, Council House, Manor Square, Solihull B91 3QB by 31 July.


Email: psp@solihull.gov.uk
Website: www.solihull.gov.uk/blr

Parish council help required for broadband rollout

CSW Broadband are looking to work even more closely with parish councils from the autumn. What they would like to know now is what would parish councils find most helpful to assist you in informing your residents about the broadband rollout and answering their questions? Some of the things that the CSW Broadband team are already doing include:

• Producing a range of articles (monthly) that can be used for newsletters and on websites
• Sending out monthly e-newsletter to everybody who is registered onto the project system. Please register your details as soon as possible, since this brings additional benefits
• Once work starts in an area the team will email everyone who is registered onto the system to let them know what is happening
• Once the service actually goes live CSW Broadband will email everyone who is registered onto the system to tell them that they can order a service from an ISP of their choice, with advice on how to do this
• Producing flyers to advise people when work is starting, and again when the system goes live (but the team do need help to get these delivered!)

What would help you, as a parish council, to keep your residents informed about the broadband rollout?

Please drop an email to broadband@cswbroadband.org.uk, and the team will develop a plan that incorporates as many of your suggestions as possible.


Email: broadband@cswbroadband.org.uk

The Forsyth Lapwing Challenge Cup 2017

Priors Hardwick farmer, Hugh Darbishire, has won the prestigious Forsyth Lapwing Challenge Cup for the second year running. The cup was presented by Anthony Forsyth at a Syngenta barbeque and plot trials event at Chesterton Fields Farm on 3 July 2017.

Organised by The Warwickshire Rural Hub and sponsored by Syngenta, the award is given to the Warwickshire farm judged to be attaining the optimal balance of profitable farming alongside environmental conservation and ecological enhancement.

With more farms entering than ever before this year, the two other short-listed finalists were Rebecca Sunang-Joret of Hodnell Manor, Ladbroke and Roger Mann of Norton Lindsey.

Hugh Darbishire successfully incorporated a range wildflower margins rich in pollen and nectar, buffer strips, wild bird cover and winter food habitats, alongside his arable cropping and grassland for the sheep enterprise on his 180 hectare (450 acre) Hill Farm at Priors Hardwick.

Over 10% of the farm is dedicated to HLS (Higher Level Stewardship) management of environmental areas.

“We are looking to protect the existing environmental features that we have, including ridge and furrow pasture dating back to medieval times and old Victorian hay meadows. But there are always ways to enhance areas or change the way that we manage things that can further enhance the ecological value, without impinging on the way that we can farm profitably,” he said.

Ponds have been restored, hedgerows planted and pockets of woodland created - all aspects that provide a diverse habitat for wildlife, but have also enhanced the farming practices. Hugh is extremely clear that the sustainability of the farm is dependent on economic viability of the business, alongside the long-term management of soils and the environment.

“We aim to farm the areas that suit modern practices in a commercial way, and the areas that don’t suit it are managed more traditionally and extensively farmed. It all seems far more harmonious.” Hugh recently opened his farm as part of Open Farm Sunday, to demonstrate his environmental work to the wider public.

Belinda Bailey, Syngenta Environmental Initiatives Manager and judge of the Forsyth Lapwing Challenge Cup, highlighted that all the entrants to this year’s competition had demonstrated that commercial farmland can be proactively managed to enhance the environment, alongside productive sustainable intensive agriculture.

“There are many ways that ecological features, such as pollen and nectar margins or wild bird food mixes, can add enormously to the diversity of wildlife on the farm, as well as protecting soils and water resources with a truly multi-functional landscape,” she said. “In the current agri-environment system they can also make a positive contribution to overall farm profitability and long-term sustainability.”


The Forsyth Lapwing Challenge Cup, originated in 1983, has been resurrected by the Warwickshire Rural Hub after a gap of several years. The winners received Syngenta Operation Pollinator seed mixes, for annual wildflower pollen and nectar habitats and Bees ‘N Seeds mix to encourage pollinating insects and overwinter wild birds.


Contact: Jane Hampson
Email: info@ruralhub.org.uk

Blue tongue confirmed within 150Km of the south coast of England

A case of Blue Tongue has been confirmed within 150km of the south coast of England. Farmers are therefore being urged to remain vigilant and consider vaccinating their livestock.

The disease can affect sheep, cattle, goats, deer, llama and alpaca.

NFU and the Next Generation Forum

Following a series of political landmark events there has been a surge of interest in the NFU Next Generation Forum. The form comprises young farmers between the ages of 25 and 40 years across all sectors and all regions. Its focus in on appraising how the next generation get involved with the industry and providing a perspective on the three main areas that affect young farmers: access to land and finance, financial risk management and developing business knowledge.

If you are interested in learning more or getting involved please email Rohit Kaushish.

Email: rohit.kaushish@nfu.org.uk

NFU launches Young Producer's Scheme

The Livestock team at the NFU is launching a Young Producer's Scheme to help young farmers understand the organisation and become involved with its policy process.

If you are a beef or lamb producer aged between 25 and 40 years old and would like to find out more you can register to attend the launch event on 5 September by emailing the livestock team.

Email: NFUlivestock@nfu.org.uk

Marketing for plant based substances

The EU Court of Justice has confirmed a ban on products of a ‘purely plant-based substance’ using the term milk, cream, butter, cheese or yoghurt in their marketing. There are some allowances, including coconut milk and ice cream, but the rule applies to all products not on the list of exceptions, such as soya and tofu.

Be a #wifisavvy business

Warwickshire County Council’s Community Safety Team and the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner recently asked Warwickshire businesses and residents if they were #wifisavvy as part of Safer Internet Day 2017.

The #wifisavvy campaign asked residents to think about how they access free wifi connections when they are out and about in the county. The scheme was piloted in Warwick and was a resounding success. It saw businesses that offer free wifi displaying posters with a commitment to their customers that:

They have changed the admin password of their router from its default setting;
They have disabled remote management to the router completely;
They are committed to using reliable encryption (WPA2 as minimum); and
They ensure that their router is regularly updated with the latest software.

In addition to this, all customers were advised:

To be aware of their surroundings, to make sure no one is watching them type when using wifi in public locations;
To get the correct Identification for public wifi to ensure that they do not inadvertently access spoofed or insecure wifi connections;
To keep their internet security up-to-date and to always use a firewall; and
To avoid using free, public wifi to do things like personal banking or online shopping.

A number of cafés, pubs and business centres in Warwick are already involved in the scheme.

The campaign is now being rolled out across the County and the team are asking businesses that offer wifi to look at how this is managed and get involved with the campaign.

Milled timber for sale at Kingsbury Water Park

Kingsbury Water Par is now selling timber in their newly built pole barn, in the timber yard.

They have an excellent range of species from Yew through to Larch cladding. These are milled into planks and beams of various thicknesses. The wavey edged look makes it ideal for wood turners, woodworks and enthusiasts alike, to start a great project.

For further information please contact James Taylor


Email: jamestaylor@warwickshire.gov.uk

Stratford upon Avon Neighbourhood Development Plan

Stratford-upon-Avon Town Council has prepared a neighbourhood development plan with the help of the local community and has formally submitted its plan to the Local Planning Authority for consideration.

The plan sets out a vision for the future of the neighbourhood area and planning policies which will be used to determine planning applications locally.

A copy of the draft Plan and supporting documentation are available on the District Council’s website. Alternatively, hard copies of the documents are available for inspection at the District Council offices, Stratford-upon-Avon Library, Alcester Library, Henley-in-Arden Library, Shipston-on-Stour Library, Southam Library and Wellesbourne Library during normal working hours. A copy is also available through Stratford-upon-Avon Town Council, via the Town Clerk.

Representations on the draft Plan may be made to the Council by no later than 5pm on Friday 7 July 2017. You are encouraged to submit your representations electronically.


Email: planning.policy@stratford-dc.gov.uk
Website: www.stratford.gov.uk/stratfordnp

NFU Dairy Hub page

The NFU has establish a new "Dairy Hub" page on its website to set the record straight about inaccurate and negative stories regarding the dairy industry which have recently appeared in the press.

To visit the page please use the link below.

Website: www.nfuonline.com/sectors/dairy/dairy-must-read/setting-the-record-straight-our-dairy-hub/

24 hours in farming on 11 August

Farmers Guardian has teamed up with Morrisons, to launch this year’s 24 Hours in Farming.

24 Hours in Farming is the UK agricultural industry’s flagship on-line event, last year more 15,500 posts were made by the industry, achieving an audience reach of 112 million and trending in the top five on Twitter all day.

The 2017 event ’24 Hours in Farming: Tell Your Story’ will start at 5am on 10th August until 5am on 11th August. On the day farmers, and anyone working within the wider agricultural industry, are asked to post to all social media platforms to showcase what they do in a normal working day. The aim is to show consumers just how much passion and commitment goes into producing the food they eat.

The aim is for this year’s event is to reach even more people, with the industry also speaking directly to the public about their work. Farmers, farming groups and all those connected to the industry are encouraged to also speak directly to the public wherever possible - for examples hosting a public event, giving a talk to a local school or group, or speaking to the press.


Website: www.24hoursinfarming.co.uk/

The British Farming Awards are Back!

The British Farming Awards are back for a fifth year, this time with a brand new venue - the National Conference Centre in Birmingham - and supported by Morrisons.

Organised by Briefing Media Agriculture, parent company of Farmers Guardian, Arable Farming and Dairy Farmer, there are 14 categories in total.

Alongside farming’s core sectors - dairy, beef, sheep, arable and machinery - there is also a celebration of new entrants coming into the industry, the wealth of diversification businesses and the acknowledgement of an evolving digital presence within farming.

Entries are also invited for Agricultural Student of the Year, Contractor of the Year and Family Farming Business of the Year.

If you have re-invented your business, changed your approach, developed a new agricultural input, adopted new technology or launched a farm diversification, there is a category for you.

To enter or nominate someone you feel is doing an exceptional job and deserves recognition for their efforts, simply complete the online application form by Friday, July 14, 2017.

For more information on the awards, individual categories and tips on entering, visit the website below.


Website: www.britishfarmingawards.co.uk

Request for businesses to remain vigilent

Following a spate of robberies in Kenilworth and South Warwickshire, Warwickshire Police has issued a number of alerts in relation to incidents at business premises in recent days. A request to remain vigilant and report any suspicious behaviour to the Police on 101 has been issued.  If you’d like to sign up to the Warwickshire Police Community Messaging Service please visit the website below.

Website: https://www.warwickshire.police.uk/cms

Seven out of eight farmers voluntarily manage their land for the environment

According to a survey by the Campaign for the Farmed Environment seven out of eight farmers voluntarily manage their land for the benefit of the environment whilst farming productively. In 2015/16 nearly 10,000 hectares were farmed under voluntary CFE measures. Farmers have also put up 17,343 metres of fencing to keep stock out of watercourses, preventing bank erosion and improving water quality.

240,000 birds processed in Big Farmland Bird Count

A total of 112 species including 22 Red List species were counted across UK farms during the Game and Wildlife Conservation Trust Big Farmland Bird Count in February. Birds spotted included the fieldfare, starling, house sparrow, song thrush and yellowhammer. The most abundant of these, fieldfares and starlings, were seen on 40% of farms taking part. For the third year and top four most abundant species were wood pigeon, starling, rook and fieldfare, with chaffinch coming in fifth.

New Red Tractor Stickers Launched

Red Tractor has teamed up with Massey Ferguson to print 15,000 trailer stickers to help farmers spread the positive message of UK Farm Assurance. The stickers bear the slogans "Great Food, Great Farming" and "Trust the Tractor".

The stickers are free of charge to Red Tractor members.

Website: assurance.redtractor.org.uk/marketing-toolkit

Cyber Safety Advice

In the light of the recent cyber attacks on the NHS Warwickshire County Council has produced some cyber safety advice for businesses.

To read the advice in full please use the link below.

Website: https://safeinwarwickshire.com/2017/05/15/cyber-safety-advice-for-businesses-individuals-following-nhs-cyberattack/

Co-op commits to British farming

Announced last September, a promise to source fresh lamb and bacon from British only sources by the Co-op came into effect this week. This now means that the Co-op sources 100% British beef, chicken, ham, pork, duck and turkey and uses only British meat in all sausages and in its own-label chilled ready meals, pies and sandwiches (with the exception of continental varieties in ready meals and sandwiches). This bold move places farming right at the centre of their business and has been widely congratulated by the industry

NFU launches its General Election Manifesto

British farming matters was highlighted when launching the NFU launched its General Election Manifesto this week. They highlights that farming cares for iconic landscapes, returns £7.40 for every pound invested, employs 475,000 people and is the bedrock of the largest manufacturing sector in the UK, food and drink. The NFU’s General Election Manifesto is about underlining that value. It sets out the five key policy challenges the next government must address during the next parliament:

1. Making Brexit a success for British farming
2. Investing for growth
3. Safeguarding short, fair and secure food chains
4. Placing science at the heart of policy making
5. Caring for our countryside and rural communities.

Over 30 farmland birds identified on the Dawn Chorus Walk

Over 30 different species of farmland birds were identified by Matt Willmott of King Seeds on the Rural Hub Dawn Chorus Walk held on Hill Farm, Priors Hardwick by kind permission of the Darbishire family.

On the morning of 4 May 20 enthusiasts rose early for a 5.00am start. Gemma Harvey of the NFU was one of the participants and she has written a blog about the walk and recorded some of the bird songs. Visit the link below to read all about the walk and listen to the dawn chorus.

Website: www.nfuonline.com/news/latest-news/blog-dawn-chorus-walk-at-hill-farm/

A new platform for smart farming

The Horizon 2020 thematic network smart AKIS has recently launched a free online platform providing a number of tools to facilitate and promote the use of smart farming technologies.

The platform is intended for farmers, advisory services, agriculture consultants, and farming equipment providers. It includes a database of the latest technologies already available on the market or emerging from research projects. Additionally, it provides guidance, advice and a space for exchange on the use these new technologies.


Website: https://smart-akis.com/SFCPPortal/#/app-h/dashboard

Seed pollinator mixes from CFE

Campaign for the Farmed Environment discounted Operation Pollinator seed mixes are back for another year. They are offering an annual wildflower mix (£35/pack to cover up to a hectare) and a Bees & Seeds mix (wild bird seed mix and later season pollen and nectar) at £50/pack. Get in touch with CFE if you’d like a voucher code and then you can order directly from Kings.

Email: cfe@nfu.org.uk

New YouTube videos to help businesses avoid cyber crime

A new YouTube Channel has recently been launched which is specifically aimed at businesses. The Channel houses an array of short, useful videos covering cyber crime related topics.

Some of the video topics include Ransomware, Phishing Emails and Password Management. If you’d like to view the videos or look at what other topics are covered visit the YouTube Channel below.

Website: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCUO7CZW_JgRUJcN7lwX9OXA

Scene it. Herd it. A new Crimestoppers campaign

Theft of livestock, farm tools, oil, diesel, quad bikes, trailers and burglaries from farm buildings remain top targets of thieves in the Warwickshire countryside, prompting independent charity Crimestoppers to launch a new campaign tackling rural crime across the county.

It’s estimated that rural crime costs at least £750,000 in Warwickshire - a rise of 16 per cent from the previous year (2015) - and over £42 million nationally.

There has been a sharp increase in the theft of expensive tractors and recent intelligence suggests that organised criminals are specifically targeting British farms and machinery dealers. The problem affects communities, businesses, farmers and manufacturers.

Crimestoppers is working closely with agencies such as NFU Mutal, Horse Watch, and Rural Watch to spread the word that there is a safe, anonymous way to report crime.

Scene it. Herd it. Speak up about it anonymously.

Contact number: 0800 555 111
Website: https://crimestoppers-uk.org/in-your-area/west-midlands/warwickshire/rural-crime-in-warwickshire/

Farming unions call for delay on digital tax scheme for farmers

The UK’s four farming unions are calling on Government to delay the new Making Tax Digital scheme for farm businesses. They fear that the scheduled implementation will be inaccessible for many farm businesses and difficult to implement properly.
The complex scheme requires access to digital infrastructure that is not available in many rural areas, as 5% of the population does not have adequate access to broadband - many of those people are farmers.

The Unions believe that farmers will have considerable difficulty due to the complexity of modern farm businesses, two-thirds of which run diversified enterprises, requiring different accounting and tax adjustments and potentially separate income and expenditure reporting. In addition to this, there is a lack of suitable and registered software that is compliant with the proposed measures. Farming’s seasonality compounds this, meaning that quarterly tax returns provide little benefit to HMRC or farmers.

Beware of storage scam

Following recent increases in fly-tipping there have been a number of incidents across the country where farmers have been paid cash to store material, for example road planings. Farmers are then discovering wrapped bails of landfill refuse stored instead, often in very large quantities and facing an equally large bill to clear the rubbish up. Please be aware of this and contact the police on 101 if you receive such requests for ‘storage’.

Survey for dairy farmers on EU labour

Much of the Brexit talk about EU labour has focused on the horticultural sector, however feedback from recent dairy meetings has been that is also an issue for many dairy farmers. Currently the NFU has little data on labour in the dairy sector, so to help strengthen their lobbying position it is running a survey which all dairy farmers are urged to complete by the end of April. The survey can be found at the link below.

Website: https://nfuresearch.nfuonline.com/wh/s.asp?k=149079536725

Open Water - chose your water supplier

From 1 April 2017, farms and other eligible business customers in England will be able to choose their supplier of water and waste water retail services. Customers supplied by water companies based in Wales (Dee Valley, Dŵr Cymru Welsh Water) will be eligible only if they use 50 million litres of water per year).

Retail services include billing and meter reading, and the handling of customer queries and complaints.

Businesses which are eligible to switch supplier can choose to shop around and switch to a new retail service provider for water and wastewater services; negotiate a new price and service package with their existing retailer, or a new retailer; or stay with their current retail service provider, accepting default price and service terms.


Website: www.open-water.org.uk/

National Minimum Wage increases on 1 April 2017

The National Minimum Wage and National Living Wage rates will increase on 1 April 2017.

The new rates are available on the link below.

Website: https://www.gov.uk/national-minimum-wage-rates

Kendalls calls on business community to offer financial support to the Rural Hub

Kendalls, a PR and marketing agency, from Stoneleigh Park, is calling on businesses from across Warwickshire and Solihull to provide financial support to a local farming network.

The PR and marketing agency, which has more than 40 years experience of working in agriculture, rural affairs and associated industries, has become a sponsor of the Warwickshire Rural Hub.

Henry Lucas, Chairman of the Warwickshire Rural Hub, said: "The Hub helps farming and rural businesses to develop innovative, profitable and market-led enterprises, specifically in the areas of food, tourism, bio-energy and non-food crops, waste management and core agriculture. Private sector funding is vital to the development and continuation of the Hub, which is why we are delighted that Kendalls has agreed to become a sponsor."

Andrew Kendall, the Managing Director of Kendalls, commented: "Farming in Warwickshire and Solihull adds to the local economy and the food and agriculture industry, which is worth £108 billion to the UK economy. We think that organisations such as the Hub are absolutely essential to the continuation and survival of farming, which is why we think the network needs more support from local businesses, and why we are pleased to be able to help the network in this way".

Contact: Richard Robinson
Contact number: (0) 2476 992 360
Website: www.kendallscom.co.uk

Are you able to receive super fast Broadband, but don't yet know it?

CSW Broadband have been rolling out fibre broadband across Warwickshire and Solihull. Over 57,000 properties are now able to connect to the new network, and to buy superfast broadband from a wide range of Internet Service Providers.
Because the project is reaching out to some of the most rural (and therefore most difficult) areas, different technologies are coming into play. So, residents and businesses may have thought that they were excluded from the rollout because they are in very remote locations, or because they are connected directly to the local exchange.
The new technologies enable CSW Broadband to reach even these areas, and the project team are urging everyone to see if superfast broadband is already available, or if it is planned by the end of 2019.

In the first instance, to see if superfast broadband is planned in your area by the end of 2019 go to the unique property-level checker. For the full list of areas which have been announced to date, please check the CSW Broadband Rolling 12-Month Plan. If you are not sure which structure you are currently connected to then you will need to check the BT DSL Checker. There is also a useful page on the project website which explains how to use the BT Line Checker and how to interpret the results.
If you are not included in the current rollout plans, then don’t despair. CSW Broadband are currently out to tender for up to £20m additional coverage, and should be able to map the results of the procurement by the autumn. If you register your details the team will keep you up to date with what is happening in your area.

Visit the website below to access all the resources mentioned above.


Website: www.cswbroadband.org.uk/

Schmallenberg Virus

Livestock producers across the country are being urged to submit lambs with suspected Schmallenberg virus (SBV) for post-mortem examination as the number of confirmed cases continues to grow. Lambing flocks across the country have experienced higher than normal losses from deformed lambs. Early calving herds have also experienced calves affected with congenital defects. Farmers and vets need to be vigilant through the lambing and calving period. It is very important that, if producers encounter lambs or calves with deformities, they contact their vets so post-mortem examination can be carried out to establish whether Schmallenberg is the cause.

When APHA suspects SBV they will fund the testing for SBV. Test results, whether negative or positive, allow you to confirm or rule out specific disease issues in that animal and potentially in the wider herd/flock, so there is value to the individual farm in investigation. There is more information on SBV cases in lambs and calves confirmed by APHA in England and Wales during December 2016 and January 2017, and about the arrangements for SBV testing on the APHA Vet Gateway website


Website: ahvla.defra.gov.uk/vet-gateway/schmallenberg/index.htm

Countryside Stewardship Online

Applicants for Countryside Stewardship hedgerows and boundaries grants and woodland management plan grants can now apply online through the Rural Payments service. The online service allows those applying to log on at a time that suits them and applications can be saved and completed at their convenience. The online service ensures only eligible fields are included. Customers who already apply for Basic Payment Scheme (BPS) online should find submitting an online application familiar and the service easy to use. The online service will be extended in April 2017, when customers will be able to submit their Countryside Stewardship annual revenue claims and capital claims online. Support is available from Natural England via the Rural Payments helpline.

Contact number: 03000 200 301

Call for vigilance for Sweet Chestnut Blight

The Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) are reminding woodland managers, tree professionals and the plant trade to be vigilant over the coming months for sweet chestnut blight, caused by the fungus Cryphonectria parasitica.

The appeal follows confirmation of the disease in sweet chestnut trees in woodland in Devon.

Tree and woodland owners, plant traders and tree professionals everywhere are being asked o inspect their sweet chestnut trees regularly and report any suspicious symptoms.

Suspected cases in trees and woodland should be reported to the Commission
with Tree Alert. Suspected cases in chestnut plants moving in trade, such as in garden centres and nurseries, must be reported to APHA’s Plant Health & Seeds Inspectorate (PHSI) on 01904 405138 or planthealth.info@apha.gsi.gov.uk.



Contact number: 01904 405138
Email: planthealth.info@apha.gsi.gov.uk.

New website about plant pests

A new website to improve access to information about plant pests and diseases has been launched by Defra.

The Plant Health Portal is already making it easier for plant health professionals to share and use vital information on plant pests and diseases, unlocking the power of data to better assess threats and determine action to tackle them.

The site is still under development, and has been launched in ‘beta’ form to enable users to give feedback to inform further improvements. There are plans to add more data and introduce further refinements to the site’s search functions during this second phase. Users are encouraged to send feedback on the site to Defra.


Email: plantpestsrisks@defra.gsi.gov.uk
Website: https://planthealthportal.defra.gov.uk/

Feedback about your voluntary environmental management

NFU members are being asked to take part in an important record of the voluntary environmental management carried out on farms across England.

This year the Campaign for the Farmed Environment will be funding a survey to record voluntary measures by farmers. To take part in the survey visit the link below.

Website: www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/CFE1516

Have your say on drones

NFU members are being invited to provide feedback on a government consultation on the safe use of drones in the UK. The NFU has called for more protection for landowners affected by antisocial drone use.

To feedback views on drone use please use the email below.

Email: nfulandmanagement@nfu.org.uk

Free on-line training courses on a huge range of subjects

Future Learn is an on-line portal that offers free of charge training courses in a huge range of subjects including the environment and business management. The courses are run by leading universities and specialist organisations from the UK and further afield and typically require a commitment of approximately 4 hours/week for 3 - 6 weeks, all from the comfort of your own home. At the end of the course there is opportunity to purchase a certificate at the end of the course.

To view the range of courses and register your interest visit the website below.

Website: https://www.futurelearn.com/courses/categories

Assistance with Badger Carcass TB Survey required

The Warwickshire TB Group spear-headed by the NFU is looking to assist Nottingham University who are undertaking a collaborative survey (funded by Defra) of badger carcasses looking for evidence of bovine tuberculosis. If you can help by reporting or even collecting dead badger carcasses from within the county of Warwickshire it would be much appreciated. Please see below for more
information on what is needed:

- Fresh (24-48 hrs), not too squashed, to be reported/picked up using kits provided
- Bagged carcass to be taken to a pre-determined collection site (phone for details)
- Badger carcass will be collected, transported to Nottingham for post-mortem

Every badger carcass submitted is worth £10 to the person who calls it in or
collects and there is a small fee available to anyone willing to act as a collection
centre. More details of the study can be found at:

www.nottingham.ac.uk/vet/badgerTB

If you want to receive a kit so you can collect a carcass please contact Luke Ryder. Please note that the health and safety guidelines for the collection of carcasses must be followed and Luke can provide you with all the details.

Contact: Luke Ryder
Contact number: 02476 017995 or 07766 745495
Email: luke.ryder@nfu.org.uk

PLANET Update Problem

ADAS have identified a significant problem with PLANET relating to the date of the computer clock, where this date is on or after 01/11/2016.

Do not open your farm files in your current version of PLANET.

If you do open your farm file in your current version of PLANET there is a risk that you will lose your data. Users must uninstall their current version of PLANET and reinstall a new version (v3.3.3) from the website.

The updated version of PLANET can be downloaded from the PLANET website as follows:
1. Go to www.planet4farmers.co.uk
2. Select ‘Login’ from the left hand menu and login using your username and password.
3. Scroll down and click on ‘Download PLANET version 3.3.3’ and ‘Save’ this file to a location on your computer.
4. Uninstall any previous versions of PLANET v3 from your computer. Do this from the ‘Start’ menu and select ‘Control Panel’. On most computers, then ‘Programs and Features’, then select PLANET, then select ‘Uninstall’.
5. Using Windows Explorer, navigate to the previously saved PLANET v3_3_3.exe file. Double click on this file to start the installation process. If you are using Windows 7, Windows 8 or Vista, you must install as an administrator by right clicking on the .exe file and then selecting ‘Run as Administrator’.
6. The new PLANET v3.3.3 will be installed with an icon on the desktop.

ADAS apologise for any inconvenience caused. If you have any problems installing the new version of PLANET, please contact ADAS directly on 01623 844331 and they will try to help.


Contact: ADAS
Contact number: 01623 844331

FREE Business Support for Social Enterprise

Coventry and Warwickshire CDA offer FREE hands-on support to help develop new or existing Social Enterprises with Legal Formations i.e. Not for profit or CIC, Business Planning, Income Generation & Grant Funding etc.

To book an advice session or for more information ring 024 7663 3911 email info@cwcda.co.uk website www.cwcda.co.uk

This project is part of The Warwickshire Transformation Fund and Coventry and Warwickshire Business Support Programmes and eligibility criterion applies


Contact number: 024 7663 3911
Email: info@cwcda.co.uk
Website: www.cwcda.co.uk

R.A.B.I

Supporting working farmers in Warwickshire
5 ways R.A.B.I could help you
R.A.B.I has been around since 1860 and is well established in the farming sector, providing help to those in financial difficulty. However, many people don’t realise how much help the charity provides to working farmers and farm workers. In 2015, R.A.B.I gave out £1.9 million in grants, and more than £270k went to working farmers to help them cope with such things as illness, flooding and animal disease. During 2015 we spent over £18,500 supporting beneficiaries in Warwickshire. In 2016 we’ve paid out over £11,000 (from January to June). That’s a 29% increase on the comparable period for last year.
People must have limited savings and be on a low income to qualify for help, but even if we can’t give a grant, we may be able to help in other ways or suggest someone else who can. If you know someone who is need of help call our free and confidential helpline on 0808 2819490.
We help in a diverse range of ways and our support is confidential. Here are just a few examples of how we can assist working farmers:
1. Paying domestic utility bills
R.A.B.I. can help working farmers by providing one-off emergency grants to help with domestic bills in times of hardship.
2. Paying for farm staff if you’re sick or injured
Although unable to help with the payment of business bills, R.A.B.I. may be able to pay for relief workers to work on the farm in times of crisis - when the farmer cannot do the work and is unable to pay for someone else to do it.
3. Helping you claim state benefits and tax credits
In 2015, the charity helped people from the farming community obtain £390,590 in benefit payments. Welfare officers visit farmers and farm workers to check they are in receipt of all the state benefits they are entitled to and help with applications on their behalf.
4. Organising free business appraisals
R.A.B.I. can consider putting you in touch with Promar, a consultancy specialising in farm and agri business advice. Following an initial visit, R.A.B.I’s welfare officers can direct people to Promar (or other appropriate consultants) and the first half day’s consultancy is free.
5. Arranging free debt advice
In addition to the help given by R.A.B.I.’s welfare officers, free confidential advice can be provided through referrals to Payplan, who offer valuable assistance on personal finances.
Call R.A.B.I. today… we do more than you think. If you or someone you know works in farming and is need of help, telephone 0808 2819490 - and just ask.


Contact number: 0808 2819490

Message from Police & Crime Commissioner - Philip Seccombe

A message from Warwickshire Police and Crime Commissioner Philip Seccombe

Following my election as Police and Crime Commissioner for Warwickshire in May I am now developing my Police and Crime Plan for the county, which sets out my aims and ambitions for making communities safe and protecting people from harm.

The plan will provide the strategic direction for policing during my term of office (2016-2020) and will be the basis of how I hold the Chief Constable and the police force to account. It will also detail how the police and my office will work with partner organisations to reduce crime and improve community safety.

Fundamentally, my role is to listen and engage with communities so I can act as the public's voice on policing matters. As I begin to draft the new plan, I want to hear the views and opinions of as many people across Warwickshire as possible.

I would be very grateful if you can spare a few minutes to complete the short survey ? click the link below to get started. Your feedback is important to me and will help influence what goes into the final plan when it is published later this year.

Take the survey: https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/PMBW2N8

The consultation will be open until Friday 26 August and I thank you in advance for helping me to create a Police and Crime Plan which reflects your priorities. Let?s work together to ensure Warwickshire remains a safe and prosperous place to live, work and visit.

Philip Seccombe
Warwickshire Police and Crime Commissioner

Paper versions of the consultation are also available on request and for anyone who in unable to complete the online version. Please contact the office on 01926 412322 or email opcc@warwickshire.gov.uk to request a copy or to discuss your requirements.

Deadweight Market Transparency – Beef and Lamb

The NFU needs your help...
Some producers are still struggling to gain clear information on pricing specs and payment grids from the processors they supply. The NFU livestock team is re-running the market transparency project, and we need your help!
We have seen changes in:
- Variation in cattle dressing specs
- Payment grids
- Weighing and grading specification
- Deductions relating to movements, residencies, max carcase weights and breed
- Rounding down
- Hot-cold rebate issues
With uncertainties within the current payment systems, we believe the time is right to revisit the report. We intend to publish the results in November 2016.
If you finish beef or lamb deadweight, we would like to hear from you.
We are looking to talk to members and receive as many payments grids and kill sheets from as many producers as possible. We would also be interested in your experiences regarding VIA grading. Please note, this information will be completely confidential and anonymised.
Please get in contact with a member of the NFU Livestock Team:
John Royle or Tom Dracup Telephone: 02476 858 836, Mobile: 07795 597487, Email: tom.dracup@nfu.org.uk

Is there a future for the small family farm in the UK?

A major new independent study commissioned by The Prince‟s Countryside Fund into the future of small family farms across the UK has been launched.
Over the last two or three decades, small family farms have experienced profound change. The report set out to explore the future for these farms by identifying the pace of change, investigating ways in which they might improve performance and viability as well as putting forward proposals for improvements to farm management, adjusting policies and bringing in new blood.
Overseen by Professor Michael Winter, a rural policy specialist and rural social scientist at the University of Exeter, the report revealed a complex pattern of change with the number of farms declining by half and showed many smaller farms had been consolidated into expanding larger farms.
One of the largest risks was identified as farm succession. Without the correct retirement planning and restructuring in place, it is claimed it will make it more difficult for the „older generation to step back‟, yet it confirms that the „most profitable farms are those most likely to have a successor, regardless of size‟.
The full report produced by The University of Exeter and its recommendations is available to download from The Prince's Countryside Fund website:
www.princescountrysidefund.org.uk/
Later this month, The Prince‟s Countryside Fund will be announcing a new programme of support in response to the findings of the report.

LEADER Funding for North Warwickshire, Hinckley & Bosworth

North Warwickshire and Hinckley and Bosworth LEADER Programme
Helping local rural businesses grow

Farming Productivity Grants
For farmers who are looking to invest in innovative business practices and new technologies to help them become more sustainable and productive. Grants between £2,500 - £25,000 will support three types of projects:
• a project to improve the overall performance and sustainability of an agricultural holding;
• an investment to support animal health and welfare improvements;
• or the processing, marketing and/or development of agricultural products.

Micro and Small Enterprise Grants
Grants of between £4,000 - £25,000 are available for businesses with under 50 employees including new businesses and social enterprises who aim to deliver a project that will have an impact on the local rural economy. This can include the creation of new jobs, increased turnover, creation of new products or use of new technologies.
Eligible activity includes:
• construction costs or establishment costs for workshops, factories, premises and facilities;
• purchasing equipment (not consumables);
• and setting up an I.T. business

Forestry Productivity Grants
Grants between £2,500 - £25,000 for private forestry holdings and micro, small or medium-sized forestry contracting businesses that aim to deliver permanent new supply chains and jobs that, at the same time, restore regular management to local woods and encourage a greater degree of added value to the timber output. Eligible activity includes:
• Investments in machinery and equipment to help the production, extraction, mobilising, processing and marketing of timber, non-timber forest products (including wild venison) and new forestry technologies;
• developing wood-fuel supply chains
• and transportation

Contact the LEADER Programme Team
Telephone: 01827 719 356
Email: leaderproject@northwarks.gov.uk
Facebook: /NWHBLEADER
Website: www.englandsruralheart.org

Computers for Rural People Scheme

Need a low cost, reliable laptop or desktop?
The ARC’s Computers for Rural People scheme can help.
We provide refurbished desktops or laptops, pre-loaded with Microsoft Windows 7 and Office 2010.
We deliver to your door, ready-to-go with three months warranty.
Prices from as little as £140 including delivery and £20 donation to the ARC.


Contact: John Bennett
Contact number: 024 7685 3066
Email: johnb@germinate.net
Website: www.germinate.net/go/computers

Register to be notified when superfast broadband is available

The extension of the fibre broadband network through the CSW Broadband project is going well, with many communities that could never have hoped to achieve superfast speeds under the commercial providers’ programmes now connected to the information superhighway.
One of the biggest challenges for the project team is keeping people informed of what is happening in their particular area. CSW Broadband has the facility to record details, including email addresses, street addresses and landline telephone numbers, and with this information they are able to contact residents and businesses to let them know when their local infrastructure is due for upgrade and, more importantly, when the faster broadband is actually available and ready to be ordered through an Internet Service Provider.
It may be that you receive the CSW Broadband newsletter, but they don’t have your full contact details and so are unable to link your line to specific telecoms structures - and without this information it is impossible to know when you will benefit from the upgrades. All residents are therefore strongly urged to register their details with the project by completing the form at: www.cswbroadband.org.uk/register
The site also contains a wealth of information about the rollout of superfast broadband, along with a checker map that goes right down to property level!
Register today to be kept informed of when faster broadband is available

Email: www.cswbroadband.org.uk/register

Get advice on pesticide safety

April is the beginning of the sowing and spraying season and these activities present their own safety risks. If you are using pesticides check the Health and Safety Executive's code of practice for advice on how to take precautions when storing, handling, using, keeping records and disposing of pesticides and pesticide waste.

Website: www.pesticides.gov.uk/guidance/industries/pesticides

Bovine TB Eradication Advisory Group for England (TBEAG)

The Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) is seeking applications for a small number of new members to join its Bovine TB Eradication Advisory Group for England (TBEAG). This is an important group which has in the past helped advise Defra Ministers and influenced APHA policy,

Person Specification:
TBEAG members are appointed for their own knowledge and expertise (rather than as representatives of any particular group or groups) and must bring the ability to contribute effectively to the group’s deliberations, offer challenge, and communicate effectively with stakeholders. Applicants should be able to demonstrate a strong track record in one or more of the following fields or in a suitable equivalent to be detailed in the application form:

• The dairy and/or beef cattle industry in the High Risk Area
• The dairy and/or beef cattle industry in the Low Risk Area
• Veterinary practice relating to TB
• Animal health and veterinary science relating to TB
• Wider countryside expertise
• Consumer issues relating to the dairy/beef supply chain

Preference will be given to candidates who can show evidence of their ability to take a strategic view and incorporate scientific evidence into their decision-making. Candidates with expertise in a particular aspect of TB eradication should seek to show their ability and willingness to participate across the broad spectrum of issues that may arise. Further details can be found on the Cabinet Office’s Centre for Public Appointments website: https://publicappointments.cabinetoffice.gov.uk/appointment/bovine-tb-eradication-advisory-group-england/



Website: https://publicappointments.cabinetoffice.gov.uk/appointment/bovine-tb-eradication-advisory-group-england/

WRAP On-farm Anaerobic Digestion Fund

The On-Farm Anaerobic Digestion Fund by WRAP aims to help farmers in England get financial support to build small-scale AD plants on their farms.

WRAP understand that the main barriers to developing anaerobic digestion (AD) on farms are:

Access to finance
Availability of reference sites for technologies and case studies
Demonstration of the benefits of AD
The potential high cost of technology

To address these barriers and encourage the uptake of small-scale on-farm AD in the UK WRAP has developed a programme to help farms access finance, provide case studies and demonstration information and provide support for farmers who want to use AD on their farm.

The fund will be available to farms in England, that have access to slurries or manures; and who wish to build AD plants producing up to 250k/W of power.

The scheme is split into two parts:

a business plan grant up to £10,000 to investigate the environmental and economic potential of building an AD plant on the farm

a capital loan up to £400,000 (or a maximum of 50% of the project cost). This is available for AD plants producing up to 250kW of power.

The funding is available in England only, however if you are a farmer in another nation resources have been produced to help you through the process of feasibility and business planning.

For more information please visit the website.



Website: www.wrap.org.uk/content/farm-ad-fund

Could you be a Local Broadband Champion?

Are you interested in what is happening with the rollout of superfast broadband in your area? Do you think that others would like to know more? We are looking for Local Broadband Champions across Warwickshire and Solihull, but particularly in those areas where future coverage is planned.

We currently have over 220 Champions who are working with us to circulate information about our project and to feed back to us about specific issues in their areas. Our Local Broadband Champions are the eyes and ears of their local community and provide an invaluable service in letting people know what is happening with the project and giving us information about the situation on the ground.

So, what does it involve? Local Champions are likely to do some, or all, of the following: putting posters on noticeboards; delivering flyers to households; working alongside parish councils; posting updates to social networking pages; forwarding news to local contacts and website editors.

All information and materials are provided by the CSW Broadband team, and Champions will receive information about what has worked well elsewhere.

If you would like to find out more about being a Local Broadband Champion please visit: http://www.cswbroadband.org.uk/get-involved/become-a-community-champion

Farming Community Network

The Farming Community Network is working to build its volunteer base across Warwickshire. FCN is a registered charity and offers practical and pastoral support to farmers and to farming families at times of stress and difficulty. FCN Helpline: 03000 111 999 eHelpline: chris@fcn.org.uk

FCN is Christian based organisation and the Christian ethos is important to us and our volunteers, however, we work with people of all faiths, and we are non-proselytising. FCN was founded in 1995 and has a network of more than three hundred volunteers. We work closely with other farming charities such as R.A.B.I. Last year we helped over 6,000 farming people across the country. Volunteers receive training and expenses to cover incurred costs.

For more information about FCN in Warwickshire contact the FCN Regional Director for central England, Glyn Evans by email gevans@fcn.org.uk or phone 07581 491713


Contact: Glyn Evans
Contact number: 07581 491713
Email: gevans@fcn.org.uk

Farmers warned of targeted fraud attacks

Farmers are being warned to be extremely wary of any suspicious calls, texts or emails as fraudsters specifically target the agricultural sector when EU grant payments begin to arrive in bank accounts next month.
From December, farmers start to receive large funds through the Basic Payment Scheme (BPS), the European Union’s main rural payments scheme.
Information about the payments, including the recipients’ names and the amount paid, is publically available, meaning criminals are able to target directly victims and make their approaches appear more convincing.
The scam communications will typically claim that fraud has been detected on the farmer’s bank account and that urgent action is required to safeguard funds. The victim is then persuaded to divulge personal or financial information, or even to transfer money directly into a so-called ‘safe account’.
With some grants worth hundreds of thousands of pounds, in past years fraudsters have stolen significant amounts of money from their victims. As well as farmers, other organisations which use farm land also receive BPS funds.
Tony Blake, Senior Fraud Prevention Officer at the Dedicated Card and Payment Crime Unit, said:
“Criminals are well aware of when these annual payments start to arrive and will look for any opportunity to defraud their victims. It is vital that farmers, and other recipients of the payment, are alert to these scams and are very wary of any phone calls, texts or emails out of the blue asking for personal or financial information, or to transfer money to another account.
“If you receive such a call or message, hang up the phone and do not reply directly. Instead, wait five minutes and ring your bank to alert them to the scam, using a phone number that you trust - such as the one from the official website.”
Advice on how to avoid this type of scam:
Be wary of:
• Any calls, texts or emails purporting to be from your bank, the police, a Government body or other organisation asking for personal or financial details, or for you to transfer money.

• Cold callers who suggest you hang up the phone and call them back. Fraudsters can keep your phone line open by not putting down the receiver at their end.

• Any request to check that the number showing on your telephone display matches an organisation’s registered telephone number. The display cannot be trusted, as the number showing can be altered by the caller.

Remember:
• You will never be asked for your 4 digit PIN or your online banking password, or for you to transfer money to a new account for “fraud reasons”.

• If you receive a suspicious call, hang up, wait five minutes to clear the line, or where possible use a different phone line, then call your bank or card issuer on their advertised number to report the fraud.

Never disclose your:
• Four digit card PIN to anyone, including the bank or police.

• Your password or online banking codes.

• Personal details unless you are certain you know who you are talking to. People are not always


Fit For Farming

One man in five will die before he reaches 65. And when the average age of the UK farmer is 57, that's a fact you can't ignore.

The mind and body of the farmer is the best bit of kit on any farm. With a little care, the high-performance machine that is the male body will run smoothly for a lifetime with just basic maintenance and minimal need for spare parts. An easy-to-read booklet FIT FOR FARMING explains the little changes that can make a big difference and also includes details on all the common occupational health concerns for UK farmers from ticks and insect stings to asbestos and tetanus.

To access the FIT FOR FARMING booklet follow this link https://www.menshealthforum.org.uk/fit-farming

The 40 page full colour A5 booklet has been developed by a team who know a bit about farming and men's health. Originally written by Dr Ian Banks, himself a farmer, it has been revised and redesigned in partnership with several farming and rural organisations including the Yorkshire Rural Support Network, the Yorkshire Agricultural Society, the Farming Life Centre (Blackwell, Derbyshire), the Farming Community Network and many others.

The article about FIT FOR FARMING was included in the RASE’s Members Agri-Bulletin November 2015 issue (www.rase.org.uk) and the paper is taken from the Men’s Health Forum: https://www.menshealthforum.org.uk/fit-farming



Website: www.menshealthforum.org.uk/fit-farming

1.4m now available to boost local businesses

A new scheme, aimed at boosting the rural economy across the North Warwickshire and Hinckley & Bosworth, has officially been launched.

The two Councils have secured £1.416 million of European funding through the LEADER Programme (2015-2019). LEADER is part of the Rural Development Programme for England (RDPE) and is funded by the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD).

The money will be allocated to businesses, groups or organisations that can demonstrate a benefit to the local rural economy. To be successful, applications must contribute to the creation of jobs or the development of businesses in the rural areas.

The first call for applications for funding, which opened on the 16 November 2015, is for projects from farmers, foresters and small businesses with fewer than 50 employees. The deadline for outline applications in this first round is the 4 January 2016. Further applications to deliver projects relating to rural services, tourism, cultural and heritage activities will be invited from next year.

To discuss a potential project idea or to receive an outline application form, contact the LEADER Programme Team at North Warwickshire Borough Council, on 01827 719356 or email leaderproject@northwarks.gov.uk Alternatively visit the Facebook page at: /NWHBLEADER

Warwickshire CC Fire & Rescue

Warwickshire County Council’s Fire and Rescue Service are urging local businesses to step up to the challenge and think about releasing a member of their staff to become a retained firefighter.
Although not based on fire stations, retained firefighters usually live or work in their local community and carry a pager, so when they get the call, they are ready to respond to any emergency.
Currently, there are over 100 retained firefighters in Warwickshire, responding to the call to keep our communities safe. However, many more are needed, to provide cover at our retained stations during the day, nights and weekends.
Warwickshire Fire and Rescue Service’s Retained Duty Systems Liaison Officer, Andrew Goodman said:
“Retained firefighters play a vital role in keeping communities safe and we rely heavily on local businesses to help us achieve this. At present we really need more people to come forward to provide cover in the day time, especially in more rural areas of the county like Henley, Stratford and Wellesbourne.
“So if your business is situated within five minutes of any of our retained stations, then we really need your help!
“We are looking to recruit people from all walks of life. No previous experience is needed, but common sense, self-motivation, compassion and the ability to work as part of a team is essential. Any potential candidates must also live or work within five minutes travel time of their nearest fire station and be over 18.”

For more information on what it could mean for your business, then log onto www.warwickshire.gov.uk/beextraordinary or call the retained recruitment team on 01926 852223 for an initial chat.

Full details about being a retained firefighter can be found at http://apps.warwickshire.gov.uk/api/documents/WCCC-844-147


Contact number: 01926 852223
Website: www.apps.warwickshire.gov.uk/api/documents/WCCC-844-147

Broadband Speed Tests - Warwickshire

Luke Ryder from NFU is looking into the Broadband speeds experienced by farmers and rural businesses based in Warwickshire. So that he can gather as much information as possible it would be helpful if anyone based in Warwickshire could test the upload and download speeds of their broadband.

To run the speed test you can use one of the options below:

Desktop/Latptop: This Which? Link is known to be reliable and works well on desktops and laptop computers - just simply click the ‘start speed test ‘ button and it should give you a download and an upload speed - it does also work on tablets and phones but just in case there is the link below as well: http://www.which.co.uk/technology/broadband-tv-and-phone/guides/speed-test-your-internet-connection/

Tablet/Mobile Phone & Desktop/Laptop: This is a speed test from Ookla who run an easy to use tablet and smartphone free app that runs speed tests. This will direct users to their app store to download it - OR will let them go to a webpage where they can simply click ‘Begin Test’ and it will give them a similar download and upload test result: http://www.speedtest.net/

Once you have ran the speed tests please email your name, postcode (or area) and both the download and upload values in Megabits per second/Mbps.

Send the information to luke.ryder@nfu.org.uk or text to 07766745495.


Contact: Luke Ryder
Contact number: 07766745495
Email: luke.ryder@nfu.org.uk

Soil Moisture Monitoring Stations

The NFU are in conversation with the Centre of Hydrology and Ecology (CEH) are requires sites for their COSMOS project which aims to provide a long-term network of soil moisture monitoring stations for the UK. Anyone who gives permission for a new station on their land would get access to all the information which the equipment collects.
Warwickshire and Worcestershire are in the middle of the area they are looking to establish. If you would like to get involved or can think of anyone who may like to, please contact Luke Ryder luke.ryder@nfu.org.uk or Ceris Jones Ceris.Jones@nfu.org.uk on 024 7685 8538.

The site requirements are quite particular - uniform land cover (ideally grassland) and reasonably flat within 350 m radius, absence of significant surface water within 350 m radius, avoid areas of water management (irrigation, drainage ditches) etc.

Ideal site requirements for COSMOS-UK
• Site location:
• Uniform land cover and reasonably flat within 350 m radius* absence of significant surface water within 350 m radius*
• Avoid shallow groundwater
• Avoid areas of water management: irrigation, drainage ditches
• suitably exposed for meteorological equipment (more details available)
• low likelihood of vandalism/theft
• Good mobile phone coverage (GPRS, for data feed)
• accessible by vehicle for installation work
• Installation includes:
• two 50 mm diameter stainless steel posts (1.6 m and 2.2 m above the ground) secured by postcrete (to 0.5 m depth).
• Concrete pad to secure rain gauge (50 x 50 x 50 cm)
• Area covered by installation 12 m by 3 m, preferably fenced off with post and wire (stock netting and two strands of barbed wire) - could potentially be shared with existing installation.
* subject to review


Contact: Luke Ryder
Email: luke.ryder@nfu.org.uk

The Soil Association: Working and sharing with farmers and growers

Most farmers and growers understand the importance of soils, yet keeping up to date with research and current best practice is not always easy. The Soil Association intends to continue building on their work to discover and share the best methods and management tools for improving soils. Working with farmers and growers and expert partner organisations Organic Research Centre and EarthCare Technical, the Soil Association will be reviewing and comparing current approaches to soil management. This knowledge will allow them to continue developing and field testing a set of methods, approaches, and new tools for soil assessment and management.

The findings will be turned into practical information and training resources to equip farmers and growers with an improved knowledge and understanding of soil health, enabling them to choose appropriate methods to enhance and maintain soil health - the key to good crop health, yield and quality.

The programme’s objectives are to:

◾evaluate soil assessment methods
◾improve confidence in ‘reading the signs’
◾offer the opportunity to practise assessment methods with colleagues and advisors
◾engage with, and disseminate the methods and approaches to a wide range of levy payers, farmers and growers, advisors and other stakeholders
◾develop methods and approaches for practical soil analysis and evaluation to enable confident choice of management options.
The 'Growing Resilient Efficient And Thriving' GREAT Soils is project is funded by the Horticultural Development Company.

FREE Business Support for SMEs in the West Midlands

NISP Network is a business opportunity programme, devised and managed by International Synergies Ltd, which aims to help businesses cut cost by making better use of their resources. International Synergies Ltd is able to provide FREE support to SME businesses in the West Midlands (covering Herefordshire, Shropshire, Staffordshire, Warwickshire, Worcestershire and the Metropolitan Borough of the West Midlands) through its NISP Network activities funded by the European Union’s European Regional Development Fund.

How NISP Network can help:
Instead of being destroyed, undervalued as a by-product or sent to landfill, waste streams and other under- utilised resources generated by industrial processes are redirected for use by other companies as raw material inputs, typically from different sectors, providing a mutual benefit. NISP Network’s role is to facilitate discussions between different organisations, identifying reuse opportunities for materials and resources from one company for use by another, either in the same condition or reprocessed for a different use.

If you are an SME with an operating site in the West Midlands, then you can qualify for 12 hours of FREE business support. This can be delivered in a number of ways:

• A site visit to help identify and characterize your waste resources, and raw material inputs and to fully understand where significant cost savings can be made;
• Setting up and facilitating opportunities to recycle and reuse materials arising from operating sites and projects;
• Attend one of our skills seminars to see the benefits of process mapping and other advanced waste auditing techniques;
• Attend one our internationally renowned resource matching workshops, identifying new business opportunities through networking and swapping resource details with other business delegates.

DETAILS ARE AVAILABLE AT www.NISPnetwork.com

Contact Details: International Synergies Ltd

Ian Humphreys
UK Manager
Mob: 07920 027139
ian.humphreys@international-synergies.com

Philip Johnson
Business Consultant
Mob: 07824 617103
philip.johnson@international-synergies.com

Head Office 0121 433 2660
E: info@international-synergies.com



Website: www.NISPnetwork.com

Broadband Connection Voucher Scheme

Since the Broadband Connection Voucher Scheme was launched in Warwickshire it is proving to be very popular. If you are a business, charity or other eligible organisation (even if you operate from home) then you could claim up to £3,000 towards the cost of your connections. Even if the fibre network hasn’t reached you yet, there may be other technologies that could be used. For more information about the scheme in Coventry or Warwickshire visit: http://www.cswbroadband.org.uk/the-project/broadband-connection-voucher-scheme

The Broadband Connection Voucher Scheme will complement the broadband rollout under the CSW Broadband programme, and is administered by Coventry City Council.
Applying to the scheme is very straightforward and applications will be dealt with promptly. Simply visit: www.coventry.gov.uk/broadband

1.4 million Boost for Rural Business

A NEW scheme aimed at boosting the rural economy across the North Warwickshire and Hinckley & Bosworth area will be launched later this year.

The partnership has secured approximately £1.4 million pounds of European funding through the LEADER Programme, which is delivered by the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) which is part funded by the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development.

The money will be allocated to businesses, groups or organisations that can demonstrate a benefit to the local rural economy. To be successful, applications must contribute to the creation of jobs or the development of businesses in the rural areas.

A Local Action Group (LAG), consisting of local public, private and voluntary sector representatives, will have the job of assessing the applications and will decide whether the project will contribute to the overall aim of the programme.

The Borough Councils and the LAG will now work together on developing the local programme. It is anticipated that a call for applications from local organisations and businesses will be made from September 2015 but further information on this will follow shortly.

In the meantime, anyone who would like to know more about the programme or who would like to register their initial interest in applying for funding should contact Emma McKay, LEADER Development Officer at North Warwickshire Borough Council, on (01827) 719356 or via email at emmamckay@northwarks.gov.uk

Tourism funding available to support festivals and events in Warwickshire

Warwickshire County Council has underlined its commitment to supporting tourism and culture by making a £75,000 grant fund available to organisations planning to hold events or festivals throughout the county.

The Tourism Event Funding Scheme has been devised as part of a new three-year work programme to support tourism and cultural activity across Warwickshire. Launched at the end of July, the first deadline for applications is Friday 18th September.

The scheme is designed to support those organising events and festivals and encourage them to evaluate what they do to become better equipped to gain future sponsorship and funding and sustain events for the longer term.

The council is looking for innovative projects that have demonstrable support from local businesses. Applications are welcome from Individual businesses or groups of businesses, Tourism Associations, Business Improvements Districts, Town Centre Management Groups, Tourism Groups, Business Network Group, Event and Festival Organisers and Arts organisations.

Any organisation or group interested in applying for a grant can find full details at www.warwickshire.gov.uk/tourism.

Could you be a supplier to the Leamington Spa Food Assembly?

Yes to local! Leamington Food Assembly is a new social enterprise enabling the local community to buy fresh, healthy & ethically sourced food directly from local farmers & producers. We are currently looking for farmers and producers interested in becoming a supplier to the assembly, due to launch in October.

Think of the Assembly as a farmers market, except food orders are pre-made online and customers pick up their order from you each Tuesday evening at the White Horse in Leamington.

Benefits to you as a supplier:
= A fair revenue - You decide the price of your products and the minimum orders required for you to deliver
= You manage your own stock and the availability of your products - The model is flexible around your needs
= Each week you know how much you are going to earn - All orders are placed before the collection and you only bring what has been ordered
Community is at the heart of The Food Assembly - we connect neighbours to farmers, neighbours to each other, and everyone to their food. Bringing power back to producers and consumers, our vision is a world with shorter supply chains where people connect to their food in a better way.

For more information, please email leamingtonfood@gmail.com or connect with us online:
Website: www.thefoodassembly.com
Twitter: www.twitter.com/leamingtonfood
Facebook: www.facebook.com/leamingtonfood

Contact: Nick Moffatt
Email: leamingtonfood@gmail.com
Website: www.thefoodassembly.com

Tree health information

The Forestry Commission Tree Health Newsletter is now available with disease updates on Ash, Larch, and Sweet Chestnut, as well as information on the Tree health team, events, funding, and how people can get involved. If you haven’t already signed up click http://www.forestry.gov.uk/pestsanddiseases to sign up.

Website: www.forestry.gov.uk/pestsanddiseases

Computers for Rural People

If you live or work in a rural area, the Arthur Rank Centre can supply a fully functioning computer for as little as £130.
Individuals, schools, businesses, community groups... all qualify!

This scheme gives YOU:
- A computer at extra-low CHARITY PRICES
- Internet ready laptops and desktops with pre-installed Microsoft software
- Order and pay online, by phone or by post
- Free delivery (UK mainland)

The Arthur Rank Centre started “Computers for Rural People” to provide rural communities, individuals and groups with
high quality, fully-refurbished second hand computers at very low cost to encourage people to take the first step.
So if you think a computer might be useful, but can’t afford several hundred pounds just to try, we can help you.
At a really low price we can provide a computer of your own, pre-loaded with Microsoft software, and delivered to your door with 3 months warranty, to get you started.

The ARC is cooperating with two other charities to supply re-furbished computers to you at extra-low charity prices.
This deal is only available through the ARC.
The prices include a donation of £12 to ARC to help cover our costs for the project. If you are a UK tax payer you can
increase your donation by 25% at no extra cost to you by completing a Gift Aid form with your purchase.

For further information please contact:- John Bennett
Tel: 02476 853066 Email: johnb@arthurrankcentre.org.uk
The Arthur Rank Centre, Stoneleigh Park, Warwickshire, CV8 2LG

Website: www.arthurrankcentre.org.uk/communities-and-farming/computers-for-rural-people

LEADER Funding - North Warwickshire

1.4million Boost for Rural Business

A NEW scheme aimed at boosting the rural economy across the North Warwickshire and Hinckley & Bosworth area will be launched later this year.

It is the first time that the two boroughs have worked together in precisely this way, although it builds on a shared commitment to work together to benefit the local economy and improve services for local people. The exciting partnership has secured approximately £1.4 million pounds of European funding through the LEADER Programme, which is delivered by the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) which is part funded by the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development.

The money will be allocated to businesses, groups or organisations that can demonstrate a benefit to the local rural economy. To be successful, applications must contribute to the creation of jobs or the development of businesses in the rural areas.

A Local Action Group (LAG), consisting of local public, private and voluntary sector representatives, will have the job of assessing the applications and will decide whether the project will contribute to the overall aim of the programme. It is anticipated that there will be considerable interest in the programme from businesses and organisations from across North Warwickshire and Hinckley and Bosworth.

The Chair of the LAG, Sharon Earp an active member of the Hinckley and Bosworth Tourism Partnership and Leicestershire Tourism Partnership, runs her own award winning tourism business stated, “We are absolutely delighted to have been awarded the funding, and anticipate and are confident that it will make a real difference to the longevity, sustainability and success of the rural economy in this wonderful area”.

The Borough Councils and the LAG will now work together on developing the local programme. It is anticipated that a call for applications from local organisations and businesses will be made from September 2015 but further information on this will follow shortly.

In the meantime, anyone who would like to know more about the programme or who would like to register their initial interest in applying for funding should contact Emma McKay, LEADER Development Officer at North Warwickshire Borough Council, on (01827) 719356 or via email at emmamckay@northwarks.gov.uk


FREE Guide to Help Rural Communities Reduce the Risk of Flooding

The ‘Community Guide to Your Water Environment‟ offers guidance on how communities can work with local authorities, drainage boards, farmers and the Environment Agency to reduce the risks of flooding and drought through a process called integrated local delivery.
It also explains how to protect water quality and biodiversity by taking action locally.
Supported by Defra and the Catchment Based Approach, the ACRE guide aims to help communities understand the importance of water in their local area - and especially the impact of extreme weather.
It features a step-by-step guide to developing a community project to manage your water, details of resources that will help you, and case studies of communities who have got stuck in to care for water environments across England.
There's also advice on getting your own house in order, including saving water, keeping a healthy septic tank, avoiding pollution, use of garden chemicals and blocked drains.
To access your copy of this FREE Guide, please visit:
www.acre.org.uk/cms/resources/comm-guides/communityguidewater.pdf

Warwickshire Businesses thrive with Rural Growth Network support

Rural businesses throughout Warwickshire are thriving thanks to the support and grant-funding of Warwickshire Rural Growth Network.

So far more than 500 businesses have been supported by the programme and over 120 people helped to start a business.

This continues the eye-catching success of Warwickshire Growth Rural Network, one of only five Rural Growth Networks being piloted in the country.

Working on behalf of the network, Warwickshire County Council administers the funding which comes from the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, the Rural Development Programme for England which is part financed by the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development, and the Government Equalities Office on behalf of Coventry and Warwickshire Local Enterprise Partnership.

Expert advice and support is available to rural businesses in any sector and people looking to start their own new business. And, with such a diverse wealth of expertise within Warwickshire's business community, that support has been accessed by a vast range of enterprises.

From manufacturing to retail and to health and social work; from science and technology to the arts and digital media; from education and construction to agriculture, businesses have either been started up or enabled to grow thanks to WRGN support.

A major strand of that support comes through Micro Enterprise Grants which have underpinned many success stories in the last two years and continue to help small rural business become established or expand. The grants have been accessed through both the Rural Development Programme for England, a seven-year programme (2007-2013) funded jointly by the EU, through the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD) and the UK Government and directly through the Rural Growth Network’s own Micro Enterprise Grant programme.

In the last two years MEGs have created or safeguarded 275 jobs with grants handed out totalling £640,000 with a leverage of over £1,100,000.

Among businesses to take advantage of a Micro Enterprise Grant is Wolston-based industrial design company Smallfry, whose managing director Steve May-Russell has been short-listed for the Institute of Directors' West Midlands Director of the Year Award.

Steve sought support for a very specific objective - and is delighted that he did as a £12,444 Micro Enterprise Grant enabled him to purchase a rapid prototype machine with obvious benefits to business growth.

"The machine was clearly going to benefit our business," said Steve, "but it was quite a significant investment for a small business so something to think about carefully.

"Basically, we just needed a little nudge and that's what we got when we found out that the grant might be available. It was real surprise to get a call from a colleague suggesting we look into it. I'm very glad we did."

For more information on Warwickshire Rural Growth Network please go to www.warwickshire.gov.uk/ruralgrowthnetwork or call 01926 412709.


Contact: Rural Growth Network
Contact number: 01926 412709
Website: www.warwickshire.gov.uk/ruralgrowthnetwork

Warwickshire Rural Watch - Crime Prevention Advice

Marking your property is a positive way to fight crime, it can act as a deterrent, it
allows you to prove ownership and helps you to identify your property easily if it
is offered for sale. Marking your property also provides a means for the Police to identify stolen goods and return them to their owners.

There are a number of different ways to mark your property:

Visible Markers:
Permanent marker pens
Waterproof paint
Stencils
Engraving
Specialised overt marking kits available on the market such as Cremark (being
used for Rural Crime property marking events)

Invisible Markers:
UV Pens
Specialised forensic kits such as SmartWater, SelectaDNA, Red Web etc.
(SmartWater kits are available through Warwickshire Horse Watch and
Neighbourhood Watch at discounted prices).

What to Mark Your Property With:

You can put any kind of mark on your property to distinguish it from other similar
items. Warwickshire Police and Warwickshire Rural Watch recommend using your postcode prefixed with the number of your address, i.e. 23 B78 1XX. A post code is unique to your property, which most organisations recognise and allows the goods to be identified and returned to you. Just putting a name or symbol on the property makes it identifiable, but does not provide details to the Police of who owns the property and where it came from.

As part of the Warwickshire Rural Watch Scheme the rural team will come to your farm, stables or rural business and help you mark your property - for contact information please visit the website: www.warwickshireruralwatch.co.uk.

It is strongly recommended that you take a photo of all your valuables and make
a note of any distinguishing marks, including where and how you have property
marked it. You can then print the photographs off and keep in a safe place, load
onto your computer or keep on a memory stick. By having these records if your
property is stolen you will have as much information as possible to give to the
Police and also pass to retailers and other organisations to help locate your
property. For more advice and information please visit the website www.warwickshireruralwatch.co.uk.


Contact: Carol Cotterill, Warwickshire Rural Watch
Contact number: 07787 151848
Email: carolcotterill@warwickshire.gov.uk
Website: www.warwickshireruralwatch.co.uk

Broadband Connection Voucher Scheme

A new scheme has been launched in Warwickshire to enable eligible businesses and voluntary organisations to claim grants of up to £3,000 towards the cost of upgrading to superfast broadband. The Broadband Connection Voucher Scheme is now available to any business, charity or voluntary organisation and can cover both fixed solutions, usually fibre connections, or wireless solutions such as satellite or microwave broadband where fibre is not available.

Organisations are usually eligible if they employ fewer than 250 people and have a turnover of less than £41m per year. Even sole-traders or businesses run from home can apply, so the scheme is open as widely as possible.

The Broadband Connection Voucher Scheme will complement the broadband rollout under the CSW Broadband programme, and is administered by Coventry City Council, who have over 12 months’ experience of the voucher scheme in Coventry prior to its extension into Warwickshire.

It is very positive that this scheme is now open to organisations in Warwickshire and organisations are urged to apply as soon as possible. This voucher scheme will help those businesses who need support to connect to the new technologies, and will also help those in areas where the fibre network has not yet reached by contributing to the connection costs of satellite or microwave solutions. Warwickshire has a high number of small enterprises and businesses run from home, and it is important that these should be able to compete against larger businesses in an increasingly global economy.

The scheme has been running in Coventry for some time and so far over 300 vouchers have been issued, representing grants with a total value in excess of £500,000. Applying to the scheme is very straightforward and applications will be dealt with promptly, simply visit www.coventry.gov.uk/broadband

All enquiries about the scheme should be directed to Coventry City Council by emailing sccbroadband@coventry.gov.uk

Remember: A fibre connection may not be available in your area now, but the CSW Broadband network is expanding rapidly. It is a wholesale network that will offer a wide choice of Internet Service Providers, so if you are told that fibre broadband is not yet available in your area, check the CSW Broadband website for more information: http://www.cswbroadband.org.uk and of course, this voucher scheme also covers satellite or wireless solutions if you can’t wait for fibre!


Website: www.cswbroadband.org.uk

Electric Wayleaves Survey

An important survey has been launched that deals with electric wayleaves and the impact they have on agriculture particularly since modern farm machinery has become larger. It’s essential that the electric wayleave compensation farmers receive recognises the impact pylons and poles have on farm businesses. Now is your chance to make sure this happens!

For more information, see the following link: http://www.nfuonline.com/news/latest-news/wayleaves-help-us-to-achieve-fair-payments/ (or Click Here)

The survey which is being run by ADAS on behalf of the NFU and the Energy Networks Association has gone live on the NFU website and will be being promoted over the coming weeks. It is very important‎ that we get as many members as possible who are affected by electric pylons and poles to complete this survey. This survey will lead on to what ground survey work is carried out now through late spring, summer and autumn. So for example this might be timing how long it takes a modern sprayer to go round a pylon situated in the middle of a field etc. If you would like to see wayleave payments changed to better reflect losses and interference, now is your chance,

Horse Watch

West Mercia Police have recognised that Warwickshire have a very active and successful Horsewatch scheme and work is being undertaken to set a similar scheme up for the West Mercia area. A benefit of the West Mercia affiliation with the Warwickshire police is that the excellent Warwickshire Horsewatch is now open for horse owners in the West Mercia area. Warwickshire and West Mercia forces also recognise that with rural and equine crime, thieves do not respect borders and what happens in one county soon moves across to another. Therefore, alerts from many counties including Worcestershire, Shropshire, Staffordshire, Leicestershire and West Midlands are included on their Facebook page and in their Rural and Horsewatch Crime Alerts Bulletins. You are invited to join the Warwickshire Scheme. To join, please visit the Warwickshire Horsewatch website: www.warwickshire-horsewatch.co.uk The Warwickshire Horsewatch website also provides crime prevention advice sheets on all manner of issues from oil theft and fencing energiser thefts to the keeping of livestock and chickens. You can also download a Record Form to record details of equipment and tack. If you are on Facebook, you can also 'like' the Warwickshire Horsewatch Facebook page, to get alerts directly to your Facebook account, about what is happening in rural areas across the Midlands - http://www.facebook.com/WarwiskshireHorseWatch?fref=ts

Warwickshire Community Resource database

Warwickshire Community Resource is a FREE database which enables organisations in Warwickshire to swap, share and trade resources for low cost or no cost rates. The database is available to all organisations big or small and open to the voluntary and community sector, statutory sector, businesses and social enterprises.

To register, click on the link below and download a membership application form.


Website: www.warwickshirecommunityresource.org.uk/

Calling All Warwickshire Businesses - Want to Save Money By Recycling?

Warwickshire County Council now offers commercial waste and recycling services at the majority of its household waste recycling centres across Warwickshire.
Drop Off Services Available:

1) Purchase a recycling permit for your recyclable waste such as cardboard, paper, soft plastics etc at a cost of just £20 for 6 months, visiting as often as you like.
2) Purchase commercial waste bags for your non-recyclable waste at just £60 for x20 bags (£3/bag equivalent).
3) ‘Pay-as-you-throw’ for materials such as wood, plasterboard, soil/rubble, wood/timber, green garden waste or non-recyclable waste. Charges start at just £10 for a car load of green garden waste.

For more information or to apply for a recycling permit please visit the website below or to purchase bags or to use the pay-as-you-throw service please visit the recycling centre.




Website: www.warwickshire.gov.uk/commercialwaste

New booklets by LEAF

Simply Sustainable Soils Guide
Simply Sustainable Soils is a booklet designed to help ensure you are getting the best out of your soil, to create an awareness of the importance of soil quality and allow you to track changes in soil quality over time. It is based on six simple steps to help improve the performance, health and long term sustainability of your land and has been developed by LEAF in close association with ASDA.
Download at: http://www.leafuk.org/resources/000/595/601/LEAF-Simply_Sustainable_Soil

You can now see Simply Sustainable Soils in action on farms across the UK. There is a set of 6 case studies demonstrating some top soil tips from a range of farm, soil and enterprise types, available to download here. There will be a further 17 case studies available soon to LEAF members in myLEAF. There are six preview case studies available to download from the LEAF website.

Simply Sustainable Water Guide
'Simply Sustainable Water' outlines the 'six simple steps for managing water quality and use on your land'. This booklet has been produced to help you develop an effective on-farm management strategy for efficient water use and to improve the farm’s contribution to protecting water in the environment. It allows you to get the best from this valuable resource, to improve awareness of the importance of water and track changes in water use and quality over time. This booklet has been developed by LEAF in close association with ASDA and Molson Coors Brewing Company.

All books are available to download from the link below.



Website: www.leafuk.org/leaf/farmers

The Farm Crap App

A new manure management app "the Farm Crap App" is designed to help farmers and growers value the nutrients found in organic manures.

What is it?

The app, developed by the SWARM Knowledge Hub in collaboration with Rothamsted Research North Wyke allows the farming community to appreciate the nutritive and economic value of livestock manures.

Farmers are able to visually assess manures and slurry application rates and calculate what is being provided in terms of available nutrients as well as giving an estimate of potential savings in artificial fertilisers.

The data is based on Defra's RB209 Fertiliser Manual values for crop available nutrients along with the industry produced publication Think Manures and allows you to select different seasons, types of manures and crops growing to see what the manure will provide in terms of fertiliser value.

The calculator determines the amount of crop available nutrients that are found within manures spread at different rates. This helps with decisions on how much to spread in order to meet the crop requirements.

How do I access it?

The app is available on Apple and Android devices, through the Google Play or iTunes stores. For more information please visit the link below.





Website: www.swarmhub.co.uk/about.php?id=3919

Stocktake - a benchmarking service for all English levy payers

Do you know your costs of production? How does your performance compare to others? Would you like data to help you improve your efficiency and returns?

What is Stocktake?
· Stocktake is a secure benchmarking service which is open to all English levy payers at no extra cost.
· Stocktake is a cost and performance comparison service which draws on information collected from beef and
sheep enterprises.
· Stocktake has been tailor-made for commercial English producers, to analyse the efficiency and profitability of
their livestock enterprises.
· Stocktake is a stand-alone service operated by Eblex. The results are confidential and independent. Figures
collected and analysed are not influenced by the marketing messages of commercial companies.
· Stocktake’s comparisons can be based on net margins at enterprise level, so farmers can judge like-against like.

What is involved?
· Participating farmers typically spend no more than half of a day assembling the basic farm costs information, one of our trained collectors will come to your farm, collect information and upload it for you.
· Once analysed, farmers will receive a detailed report of their figures which highlights the strengths and weaknesses of their business compared to similar operators in the county.

If you are a commercial beef or sheep farmer and are interested, then please contact Richard Meredith.

Contact: Richard Meredith
Contact number: 07717 493015
Email: Richard.meredith@ahdb.org.uk

Practical tips for improving your Broadband speed

Ofcom reports that there are a number of factors which can affect the speed of your broadband connection. The distance your home is from the telephone exchange, the time of day you go online and the number of people in your home using the internet at the same time, can all play a part in slowing down your connection.

Your device may also not be set-up correctly or the line that provides the internet connection to your home may be damaged, while your internet provider’s traffic management policies could also be a factor.

Coventry, Solihull and Warwickshire Broadband has listed some tips could help bring your connection back up to speed - visit the website below for full information.

Website: www.cswbroadband.org.uk/about-broadband/self-help-guides/how-to-improve-your-broadband-speed/

Build a stronger business with the help of a mentor

A mentor can be a fantastic source of support and guidance in fact research shows businesses that have a mentor are more likely to survive and grow than those without.

The mentors at Get Mentoring in Farming have extensive farming and/or agricultural business experience. They can support and guide you in a number of ways:

By providing honest and constructive feedback;
By being a sounding board for your ideas;
Or, by listening, confidentially to the things that are concerning you about your business.

The support being offered is completely free of charge so what have you got to lose? Visit the website below to find out more and register your interest.

Website: www.getmentoringinfarming.org.uk

Rural Enterprise - FREE Business Advice and Workshop Programme

Do you live in rural Warwickshire?
Are you interested in starting a Social Enterprise?

Sign up for COVENTRY AND WARWICKSHIRE CDA'S FREE Business Advice and Workshop Programme

Contact us to book an advice session or for more information.

This project is part of The Warwickshire Rural Growth Network Programme and an eligibility criterion applies.



Contact: Isobel Fitzgerald
Contact number: 024 7663 3911 ext.112 or 07811 966345
Email: i.fitzgerald@cwcda.co.uk
Website: www.cwcda.co.uk

Follow Farming Advice Service on Twitter or sign up for free newsletters

FAS has joined Twitter. Follow them on @DefraFAS for up-to-the-minute updates on publications, events and industry information.

Alternatively you can subscribe to the free FAS Newsletter. To receive further copies of the FREE FAS newsletter which is provided every two months, please call the number below or send an email with ‘Register for newsletter’ in the subject line.


Contact number: 0345 345 1302
Email: bookings@farmingadviceservice.org.uk

Bovine electronic identification

A new EU Regulation for the identification and traceability of bovine animals (that is, cattle, bison and buffalo) came into effect in July. It will enable the use of official electronic identification (EID) tagging for bovine animals, which will be similar to that used for sheep and goats. Member States have been given up to five years to set up their systems to run a bovine EID system. Each country can decide to make it compulsory to use an electronic identifier, but they must have consulted their industry fully before making the decision. Although the five years commences from July 2014, the next necessary stage is for the European Commission to agree with Member States the exact technology for EU bovine EID and to publish it.

What does all this mean for UK cattle, bison and buffalo farmers? First, there will be no major alterations to current procedures immediately. Cattle, bison and buffalo will still have to have a visible tag in each ear, with the same number on each, which gives the animal its unique, lifetime identity - just the same as they do now. This will be the case until the five-year transition period comes to an end. This is because all Member States must have the same deadline for moving to EID and some countries would require more changes to their IT systems. Even after bovine EID comes in, cattle, bison and buffalo would still have to have one visible tag, along with one electronic identifier. The EU list of potential official electronic devices includes tags, ruminal boluses and ‘injectables’. One of the decisions that will need to be made during the transition period is which of these devices would be approved for use. Again, that question will be part of a full industry consultation. In the meantime, the current selection of unofficial EID tags will continue to be available.

CAP: Greening and Cross Compliance

From 2015, 30% of Pillar 1 payments to farmers will be linked to greening measures that must be undertaken to benefit the climate and environment. One of the requirements that farmers must meet is to ensure that 5% of their land is set aside in an Ecological Focus Area (EFA). The greening rules include crop diversification and EFAs for arable land. Details for EFA options were announced by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) in June.

The package of EFA options gives farmers flexibility over how they comply with the rules. Farmers who need to have EFAs will be able to choose how to meet the requirement from a list which includes land lying fallow, buffer strips, ‘catch and cover crops’ used to manage soil fertility and quality, nitrogen fixing crops (such as legumes) and hedgerows. More information will be published on these new greening rules in mid-August.

To receive CAP payments, farmers must continue to meet cross compliance requirements. To reduce the burden on farmers, Defra has cut these measures from 17 to 11.

For the latest guidance and press releases on CAP reform, please visit the link below.

Website: https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/common-agricultural-policy-reform

Greening - work out what it means for you

Defra - together with the RPA, Natural England and the Forestry Commission - have issued a new leaflet "Greening: Work Out What It Means For You" to give farmers the most up-to-date information available on new ‘greening’ rules, which are part of the CAP changes.

To download the leaflet please visit the website below.

Website: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/greening-work-out-what-it-means-for-you

Keep up to date with CSW Broadband events

Coventry and Solihull Broadband has a growing list of local events on their website. Everything from search engine optimisation to making your business mobile - and even a fish and chip night at the Midland Air Museum! For more information please visit their website.

Website: : www.cswbroadband.org.uk/events/event

Download the new EBLEX mobile app for beef and sheep farmers

A new app has been launched by EBLEX to make it easier for beef and sheep farmers to get the latest market information at their fingertips. As well as the latest prices and trends the new mobile app gives farmers the opportunity to search for their nearest auction markets and create their own personal library of technical manuals.

The app is available free on both Apple and Android platforms. The visit the app store or Google Play store and search for "EBLEX".

HMRC Factsheets

Take a look at what’s on offer to support Small and Medium businesses (SMEs)

HMRC Tax Help factsheets offer valuable information on many tax matters. They are easy to download, save and/or print.

The most popular are:-

• Keeping records for business
• VAT
• Expenses and Allowances for the Self Employed
• Self Assessment - the three line account
• Employing someone for the first time

Visit the website below for more information.


Website: www.hmrc.gov.uk/thelibrary/tax-help.htm

On-line tutorial is launched for anyone wanting to become an employer

HM Customs and Revenue has launched a new online tutorial especially designed to support anyone thinking about becoming an employer which will take you through everything need to kick start your business.

It’s full of useful information and practical help to support you on your journey.

The tutorial is presented in bite size pieces so you can work through it at your own pace and when it suits you. There is no need to do it all at once - dip in and out whenever you need.

For more information click on the link below.


Website: www.hmrc.gov.uk/courses/syob2/employer/index.htm

Launch of Biomass Suppliers List

The Biomass Suppliers List (BSL) was launched on 30 April, to applications from producers and traders of woodfuel and Short Rotation Coppice. Producers and traders who wish to access the growing RHI market are urged to apply. Producers and producer-traders should apply as early as possible. Traders may wish to encourage their producers to apply to the list and wait until they are authorised, as this will make it easier for traders to apply.

The BSL will provide a simple, light touch way for RHI participants to comply with biomass sustainability criteria. The BSL will be a publically available online list of suppliers selling fuels that meet the forthcoming RHI sustainability criteria. The public facing list will be made available to consumers once a sufficient proportion of traders have registered their fuels. We expect this to be later this Spring.
Those wishing to register as a producer or trader of woodfuel should go to the website below. For more information on the sustainability criteria and biomass suppliers list please visit the DECC RHI web page - www.gov.uk/decc/rhi.

Website: www.gov.uk/register-biomass-supplier

Free trees for local communities available from the Woodland Trust

The Woodland Trust has 4,000 packs of trees to give away this autumn for communities to plant in their local area. They come in three sizes - 30 saplings, 105 saplings and 420 saplings in various themes (hedge, copse, wildlife, wild harvest, year-round colour, working wood, wild wood and wetland). You can apply for more than one pack and theme with 420 saplings being the maximum quantity.

Website: www.woodlandtrust.org.uk/freetrees

Chose the right wormer with updated Cattle and Sheep Parasite Control Guide

Internal parasites pose a significant threat to animal health and performance. Therefore choosing the correct wormer is vital. EBLEX has updated its easy to read parasite control guide which lists more than 100 cattle and 70 sheep products to help farmers make the right choice.

Download your guide from the link below or call the number for a hard copy.

Contact number: 0870 241 8829
Website: www.eblex.org.uk/returns

Join the new Grazing Club for beef and sheep producers

Grazing Club is a new, free initiative set up by EBLEX for beef and sheep producers who want to get more out of their grassland. Well managed grassland provides the most economic feed for livestock yet all too often it's overlooked and under-performs. Grazing Club is designed for farmers who are keen to take their production from grass to the next level. The club plans to offer farmers the tools and resources to do this. Members will receive a monthly email newsletter highlighting topical issues, information, tips and case studies. For more information visit the website below.

Website: www.eblex.org.uk

Additional funding announced for CSW Broadband

The Government has announced that additional funding of £3.68m will be made available to take the coverage of superfast broadband to 95% of premises across Coventry, Solihull and Warwickshire. The funding is conditional on being matched. The current £15.47m CSW Broadband contract with BT will achieve superfast coverage to 91% of premises and this funding will enable the project to procure a solution to achieve a further 4% to coverage, which is 95% overall.

The CSW Broadband team have made applications through the Coventry and Warwickshire Local Enterprise Partnership for a total of £7.85m from the EU, and are actively seeking other sources of funding for this important project.

Questions and Answers

What will the additional money buy?
We will be procuring a partner to take the network to 95% superfast coverage.

What about the final 5%?
We are still actively investigating any and all sources of funding to reach the EU 2020 targets of 100% coverage at a minimum of 30Mbps - which is higher than the current superfast speed of 24Mbps!! The Government has already said that it will launch a £10m fund on 17th March for pilot projects to test new ways of delivering high speed broadband. We will work with suitable local companies in developing applications to this fund and, if successful, in trialling the new technologies in our area.


Website: www.cswbroadband.org.uk

Tree Health Update

Tree Pests and Diseases continue to be a top priority for woodland managers and owners. The Forestry Commission have issued an update on the current Tree Health situation, which can be found on the Heartwoods website.

Website: www.heartwoods.co.uk

New from HMRC - webinars on a variety of tax issues

HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) has produced a set of online seminars - 'webinars' - both live and pre-recorded, to help customers to understand a variety of tax systems and learn what obligations they need to meet.

Important: HMRC webinars are supplied by a company called CITRIX - so don't be concerned if you see their name on these products as well as HMRC logos etc.

Live webinars

Live webinars are available on set dates at set times. You need to register in advance for a live webinar, but the session is then recorded and made available to view after the event.

Live webinars last for an hour, they are interactive giving you the opportunity to ask questions and get answers from your HMRC webinar host.

Registering is quick and easy - simply provide your name and email address, choose the topic you are interested in and the date and time that suit you best. You will then receive an email with a link to view the webinar.

Tip: log in at least five minutes before the start time, to make sure the software needed for the webinar downloads to your computer in plenty of time.

Pre-recorded webinars

You don't need to register for a pre-recorded webinar - they are available to view now, or whenever suits you. Simply choose the topic you are interested in, then follow the link to start viewing the webinar. HMRC are interested in what you think of the recordings and may contact you after you have viewed a recording for your thoughts on how to improve services.


Website: www.hmrc.gov.uk/webinars/about.htm

Support for traditional food producers is announced

Coventry University Enterprises is participating in a project called TRADEIT which is supporting traditional food SMEs and Food Researchers in the areas of innovation, entrepreneurship, training, and technology transfer.

The project is focused on supporting companies in the dairy, meat and bakery sectors. The project has 19 partners based in the UK and Europe and will run for 3 years. Nine Regional Traditional Food Knowledge and Technology Transfer Hubs have been established, including Coventry University Enterprises. These will provide access to a range of support services such as:

Training
Competitiveness, cost models and pricing strategies
Food production facility design
Food labelling and marketing for geographical indications and traditional foods
Supply chain management and distribution
Environmental management
Consumer-led product development
Smart use of IT in traditional food production
Innovation, IPR and related legal issues
Transfer of Technology
Helping companies to identify research partners
Facilitating networking with other companies producing traditional foods

To participate, you must be a registered business producing traditional foods in the dairy, meat or bakery sectors. The training and technology events will be funded by the project.

Traditional food businesses are also encouraged to complete a questionnaire so the project can start to identify common needs and barriers to enhanced use of technology and business growth.

Please go to https://www.survey.bris.ac.uk/coventry/tradeit-nba-en

If you are interested in joining this network to benefit from this great opportunity and support offered please contact Joan Lockyer.



Contact: Joan Lockyer
Contact number: 02476 236 001
Email: jlockyer@cad.coventry.ac.uk,
Website: www.tradeitnetwork.eu

Save money on your energy bills

A new website aimed at helping householders across Coventry and Warwickshire to save money on fuel bills by making their homes more energy efficient has been launched by Warwickshire County Council.

The website has been funded by Poverty Initiative, the council and partners such as Green Energy Networks and the Renewable Energy Technology Alliance and is to be managed by the region’s energy efficiency charity Act on Energy.

It is part of a broader £1 million Coventry and Warwickshire wide campaign to help reduce fuel poverty, particularly in rural areas. The site includes an online calculator which suggests measures which could be installed, according to the age, type and size of property, the householder’s budget and the likely savings.

Visitors can register their details so they can return to them at a later date and add additional information. Measures range from low cost suggestions such as lagging water tanks to longer term investments such as installing solar PV panels and biomass boilers.

It will also point users to sources of funding - such as the government’s Green Deal and grants for renewables - as offering to email contractors on their behalf for detailed quotes.


Website: www.energysavinghomes.org.uk/

New B2B Portal for small businesses

Warwickshire County Council has just launched a new FREE B2B Portal enabling local businesses to;

Promote subcontracting opportunities
View local events and news
Advertise job vacancies
Connect to other businesses

Available over the internet the B2B portal is accessible using mobile devices. B2B provides a flexible solution to link with old and new business partners.



Contact number: 01926 418027
Email: business@warwickshire.gov.uk
Website: www.warwickshire.gov.uk/business

Key target dates for broadband rollout in Warwickshire

Coventry, Solihull and Warwickshire Broadband has provided some key dates for different targets of broadband roll-out in the area:

2014 - CSW Broadband rollout starts

2015 - Original Government target for 90% superfast ie 24Mbps (this is no longer achievable since it took so long to get European approval for State Aid issues)

2016 - CSW Broadband rollout under current funding completes by end of the year, 91% superfast availability

2017 - Government target for 95% superfast

2020 - EU target to achieve 100% 30Mbps availability (although there is no funding on the horizon at present for this)

For up to the date information on broadband issues please visit the CSW website.

Website: www.cswbroadband.org.uk

Funding for businesses with new ideas in rural Warwickshire

This funding, which is part of the Rural Growth Network project, is available to small or medium sized enterprises (SMEs) based in rural Warwickshire who are working with another local rural SME on the development of a new product, process or service. The scheme offers two types of grants of between £3000 - £5000. This contribution must be 60% matched by the company in time or expenditure.

Revenue grants are available to assist with product development cost such as parts and materials, consultancy fees and prototyping.

Capital grants are available for expenditure on equipment, machinery or tooling.

A company will only be eligible for one grant. All the projects will be evaluated independently.

Your project must demonstrate innovation, result in a new product, process or service and provide tangible benefits for the local economy.


Contact: Judy Lambourne
Contact number: 07557 425500
Email: funding4innovation@cad.coventry.ac.uk
Website: www.funding4innovation.co.uk

Are you a woodland owner?

Are you looking for timber and wood fuel opportunities? Did you know subsidised technical advice is currently available to you?

For further information please contact The Woodland Stewardship Company Ltd, details below.

Contact: Martin B. Jones
Contact number: 01743 289670
Email: info@woodlandstewardship.com
Website: www.woodlandstewardship.com

Small loans receive financial boost

Coventry City Council and Warwickshire County Council have been working with local partners, the Local Enterprise Partnership and DEFRA to create an innovative scheme providing business loans to companies and individuals trading in Coventry and Warwickshire.
Loans of up to £ 50 000 are available to those businesses that it is felt will contribute towards the economic growth of the region and can satisfy an independent loans panel that they have a viable business plan.
Loans are being delivered by the Coventry and Warwickshire Reinvestment Trust who will normally visit applicants and assist them in preparing an application for funding.
For more information about the small business loans scheme or the Rural Growth Network you can contact either:

Contact: Rural Growth Network
Contact number: 01926 412709
Website: www.warwickshire.gov.uk/ruralgrowthnetwork

Or Coventry and Warwickshire Reinvestment Trust direct on
Contact: CWRT
Contact number: 0845 606 6216
Website: www.enterpriseloans.org

Subsidised training for farmers & forestry workers

Small Woods are offering subsidised training for farmers and forestry workers. Funding through the Rural Development Plan for England and the Prince’s Countryside Fund will enable us to continue to support the woodland industry by increasing skills and bring more woodland back into management.

Courses including woodland management, woodfuel production, timber measuring, and operating a chainsaw from a rope and harness will be held at the Green Wood Centre in Ironbridge and other venues in the West Midlands region.
We aim to provide high quality courses that are relevant to industry needs. Our tutors are experts in their areas and have many years’ experience. Our courses are accredited by Lantra Awards, the Open College Network and NPTC.

Funding is available for farmers and forestry workers in England. For more information or to book a place please contact Harriet Wood on 01952 435860 or harrietwood@smallwoods.org.uk

Boost for the Rural Economy

A Government pilot to boost the rural economy has been launched by Coventry and Warwickshire Local Enterprise Partnership.
The Rural Growth Network, announced by DEFRA last year to pilot in five rural areas in the country, is aiming to create 500 jobs and 120 start-up businesses in Warwickshire.
The £2.4 million project is now up and running and offering support to people living in rural areas looking to start their own business as well as specialist advice, coaching, small loans and grants to existing rural businesses.
The centrepiece of the Network will be a new Rural Innovation Centre at Stoneleigh Park in a partnership between Warwickshire County Council and LaSalle Investment Management. Services will also be delivered out of rural growth hubs in the north and south of the county.
WCC is leading the Network on behalf of CWLEP and the services or projects are delivered by a range of specialist organisations and partners.
For more information about the Rural Growth Network and how to access the services visit:

Contact: Rural Growth Network
Contact number: 01926 412709
Email: ruralgrowthnetwork@warwickshire.gov.uk
Website: www.warwickshire.gov.uk/ruralgrowthnetwork

Looking to grow your business or get started?

The Warwickshire Rural Growth Network offers a flexible package of advice and support to rural businesses in any sector and people looking to start their own business. With drop-in clinics, specialist advice, one-to-one mentoring, coaching, loans, grant funding and property, you'll find the support you need to help your business grow.

For more information about the Rural Growth Network and how to access the services visit:

Contact: Rural Growth Network
Contact number: 01926 412709
Email: ruralgrowthnetwork@warwickshire.gov.uk
Website: www.warwickshire.gov.uk/ruralgrowthnetwork

Simpler Income Tax for small businesses

From April 2013, HMRC has introduced two simpler income tax schemes for small businesses - ‘Cash Basis’ and ‘Simplified Expenses’ - which are designed to make it easier for small businesses to do their income tax, and provide them with greater certainty that they have got their tax right. For the 2013-14 tax year onwards, this means that:

• Small, unincorporated businesses with income that does not exceed the VAT registration threshold (currently £79,000 per annum) can choose to be taxed on the money that actually flows into and out of their business (the Cash Basis), rather than using normal accounting rules. This means that these businesses will avoid the need to make year-end adjustments, required under current rules that were designed for more complex businesses.
• All unincorporated businesses can choose to use fixed rates (Simplified Expenses) to work out what they can claim for some common types of business expenses where there is a mix of business and private use. Until now, businesses have had to work out the actual amounts that related to business use. Three types of expenses are covered:
1. Motoring expenses - businesses will be able to claim a standard mileage allowance based on the number of business miles travelled during the year.
2. Expenses relating to business use of home - businesses can claim a flat rate based on hours spent conducting business activities from home.
3. Adjustments for private use of business premises - a flat rate can be used for the private use portion of costs where someone lives at their business premises (e.g. a bed and breakfast establishment).
Cash Basis and the Simplified Expenses are entirely optional, and businesses will be encouraged to choose any or all of the schemes which best suit their needs.
Help and guidance
Guidance is now available on the Government’s new single website, GOV.UK, on:
• Simpler Income Tax: Cash Basis
• Simpler Income Tax: Simplified Expenses
• Business records if you're self-employed
HMRC have also produced a YouTube video on Cash Basis.
Keep an eye out for further HMRC messages as more guidance and online support is planned for both Cash Basis and Simplified Expenses.


Contact: HMRC

Woodland Owner in the West Midlands?

Are you looking for timber and woodfuel opportunities?
Did you know subsidised technical advice is currently available to you?
For further information please contact:
Martin B. Jones
The Woodland Stewardship Company Ltd on:
01743 289670 or
E-mail info@woodlandstewardship.com
Website: www.woodlandstewardship.com

HMRC - Exporting Goods

HMRC have two new E-Learning packages that have been written with UK Trade & Investment. Click on the relevant link below:

Exporting goods to non-EU countries
http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/courses/syob2/ukti_exp/index.htm


Selling goods or supplying services to other EU countries
http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/courses/syob2/ukti_tr/index.htm

Warwickshire Community Oil Syndicate

Save money on your heating oil. Warwickshire Community Oil Syndicate is a countywide syndicate run by Warwickshire Rural Community Council (a local charity) to reduce the cost of domestic heating oil. Orders are gathered each month and a best price negotiated from a range of local suppliers for both kerosene and red diesel. Households, community groups and businesses can all benefit. Contact oil@wrccrural.org.uk for more details, telephone 01789 472611 or look at www.ruralwarwickshire.org.uk/oil.

Green Deal Initiative for Businesses

The Green Deal is a Government-backed initiative designed to encourage businesses and home owners in the UK to employ green technologies in their properties. Through the scheme, applicants will be able to install new green technology into their properties with no upfront costs involved. The cost incurred through the installations will be met through the applicants’ energy bills over a period of time.
The scheme will offer finance or loan support for business owners to improve the property that they own through energy efficiency measures. This finance is in effect a ‘free loan’ for the installation of energy saving improvements, which will be charged back through the property energy metering.
Both householders and businesses are able to register to have their properties assessed for the Green Deal.
For further information, please visit: www.greendealinitiative.co.uk

Website: www.greendealinitiative.co.uk

HMRC "Starting your own business" E-learning

HMRC have an E-learning programme “Starting your own Business”

Click on the link below to access it.

Website: www.hmrc.gov.uk/courses/syob/syob/index.html

Innovation Vouchers for the Agrifood Sector

There are many small businesses in the Agrifood industry and margins are often tight. Time for innovation is also scarce.
The Technology Strategy Board's new Innovation Vouchers scheme helps businesses in the agrifood sector to gain the knowledge required to innovate and grow. The vouchers are intended to link businesses with external experts for the first time by paying towards the cost of their services.
As part of the scheme's offering, businesses are able to obtain help from a range of expert ‘knowledge suppliers’, including universities and further education institutions, research and technology organisations, technical consultancies and IP advisers.
The Technology Strategy Board is interested in any innovative approach to the specific challenges identified by applicants. All types of innovation can be supported, for example, ideas for new or improved products, processes and services.
The scheme is open to start-up, micro, small and medium-sized businesses located anywhere in the UK.
For further information visit the web link below.

Website: www.innovateuk.org

"Free help" on diversification options for farmers in Warwickshire

At Harper Adams University College, some of the students in their final year study a module called Rural Business Opportunities which looks at the potential for farms to diversify from conventional agricultural production. The aim is to get the students to look at a "real life" case study business, and to investigate whether there is any potential for that business in diversification -and then investigate what the likely option could generate in the future and how that business might move the new business opportunity forward.

Typically the students investigate a range of possible areas including developing buildings, adding value to products/commodities, alternative livestock/crops, leisure and tourism possibilities under the guidance and wishes of the business owner.

They analyse data, do market research, produce investment plans and create budgets to show what could be generated from such a proposal.

The reports with recommendations on the various areas of the business investigated are then submitted to the host farmer. The previous businesses who have been involved have been generally delighted with what they have been presented and gained insight and valuable information from this exercise. Indeed the better reports have in the past been submitted for a national business management prize and have been successful - so they have to stand up well to a high level of in depth and professional scrutiny.

The format is usually that the students meet with the business owners to discuss what issues areas of the business to focus attention and collect relevant information and look at the resources available. After this the students work on the project to deliver a report by a due date. The process is generally very easy and not too invasive on time for the host and the results have been considered highly informative and realistic for use in a business environment.

If you think you might have an idea or a possible project that might be of interest to you and the students then feel free to contact me.

For more information please contact Tony Asson tasson@harper-adams.ac.uk

The Friendly Farmer Project - Community Toolbox

Your Community and you: Getting to know your local farmers and what they do

An information and support document for communities wishing to engage with their local farmers.

To view the Community Toolbox document please click the website link below.

This project is funded by Central Warwickshire Villages LEADER as part of the Rural Development Programme for England

Website: www.ruralhub.org.uk/news/Community-Toolbox.pdf

The Friendly Farmer Project - Farmer Toolbox

Please come on to my farm! How to show my local community what I do and how I do it.

An information and support document for farmers wishing to engage with their local community on thier farm.

To view the Farmer Toolbox document please click the website link below.

This project is funded by Central Warwickshire Villages LEADER as part of the Rural Development Programme for England

Website: www.ruralhub.org.uk/news/Farmer-Toolbox.pdf

NEW NFU Farm Energy Service

NFU Farm Energy Service provides a complete renewables and energy-efficiency service to increase farm profits and help reduce your environmental impact.

With energy costs increasing to a record high, now is the time to consider how efficient your farm is and to explore the possible revenue you could generate from renewables.
Simple energy efficiency measures can reduce usage and therefore costs, while renewable energy generation can provide new income streams. Both of these can help you produce more while impacting less on the environment. Any member could benefit, regardless of scale, from an energy audit or by embarking on a renewable energy project.
What does the service cover?
• Energy efficiency advice
• Electricity contract management
• Feasibility studies for renewables
• Procurement advice
• Planning advice
• Project management
• Tariff information
• Legal advice
Use the NFU Farm Energy Service as your starting point for any energy efficiency or renewable project.

For further information visit
www.nfufarmenergyservice.com or call the helpline on 0870 8445700

Grants / Funding

31 July is the deadline for requesting Mid Tier application forms

31 July is the deadline for requesting Mid-Tier application packs, NE have advised that there will be no leeway with this date. NE have produced a ‘hints and tips’ document for applicant, the main ones being:

Advice is available through 1:1 clinics.

Specific advice is available in target areas for tackling diffuse pollution from Catchment Sensitive Farming Officers.

Choosing the right options will improve your application. Rural Payments (www.gov.uk/rural-payments) has a simple tool to identify priority options for your farm.

Ensure all your land is registered with RPA. If you are considering CS options for yard works or historic buildings this land will need to be registered to.

When you submit your application include all the evidence required to prove eligibility. Each option lists the evidence requirements.

Applications should be submitted by 30 September 2017.

Natural England refreshes its livestock recording templates

Natural England has updated the templates for recording livestock to make them more user friendly. Therefore the webpage has been refreshed. Specific livestock record keeping applies to CS and ELS/HLS agreements that started on or after 1 January 2013.

Website: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/countryside-stewardship-livestock-record-keeping

New call for LEADER funded projects in north Warwickshire

The programme is aimed at boosting the rural economy across North Warwickshire and Hinckley and Bosworth area which was launched in 2015, has successfully awarded local businesses over £200,000 in grants.

Another call for projects opens 3 July and runs until 21 August. This call is for projects from farmers looking at increasing productivity, micro and small businesses including farm diversification, rural tourism businesses, rural services, cultural and heritage activities and foresters. Anyone who would like to know more about the programme or who would like an Expression of Interest form should contact The LEADER Programme Team

Contact number: 01827 719271/318
Email: leaderprojects@northwarks.gov.uk
Website: www.englandsruralheart.org

CFE advises voluntary maintenance of expiring environmental schemes

The Campaign for the Farmed Environment is encouraging farmers who are in Environmental Stewardship schemes to voluntarily maintain conservation work when the scheme has expired. Voluntary management may assist such farmers to benefit from any future schemes, post Brexit, and returning such land to production will undo the investment of time and money already made, says CFE.

Applications invited from charitable trust to assist with costs of agricultural courses

The Deakin and Combe Memorial Trust was first formed in 1944 in memory of George Deakin, who was Vice President of the NFU and Chairman of the Pigs Marketing Board.

The Trust is now inviting applications for assistance with the cost of further education from those that are:

• Studying or about to study an agriculture related course in the academic year 2017/18

• Whose parent(s) have made a contribution to agriculture in England or Wales

Grants are in the region of £500 - £1,000 and are awarded for such items as training courses, laptops and books.

Closing date for applications is 25 August. Please contact Gail Moore to request an application form.

Contact: Gail Moore
Contact number: 02476 858574
Email: gail.moore@nfu.org.uk

New funding for fledgling agricultural businesses

Briefing Media, Farmers Guardian’s parent company, has announced there is now more than £20 million of funding available for fledgling agricultural businesses through its Agri-Innovation Den competition.

The Mulberry Green Fund is a venture capital fund investing in early and growth-stage companies in the green-tech and agri-tech sectors. It invests in UK-based companies which are undervalued in the domestic market but have the potential to grow substantially overseas.

It typically makes individual investments of between £250,000-£1m. The competition, which is open now for entries, invites anyone with a ground-breaking agricultural business idea to pitch Dragon’s Den-style for a share of the investment prize fund in exchange for a stake in their business.

In addition, there is a guaranteed Briefing Media promotional package worth £5,000 for every finalist, as well as ongoing help and business support from our esteemed judging panel.

Closing date is 7 July 2017. Visit the website below for details of how to enter.

Website: www.aginnovationden.com

Important dates for BPS

The 15 May closing date for 2017 BPS applications is now passed, but it is not too late to amend your claim even if it is already submitted, ie following receipt of 2016 inspection data. Midnight on 31 May is the deadline to make certain changes to an application without receiving a penalty and midnight on 9 June is the deadline for late applications and amendments with penalties.


Farmers as Producers of Clean Water

Following a very successful start in North Warwickshire last year, Severn Trent have re-opened this scheme which rewards farmers for producing cleaner run off from their land and improving local water quality.

The Scheme’s objective is to reduce the amount of Metaldehyde (an active ingredient found in some slug pellets) found in water courses.

Farmers can earn up to £8/Ha on winter wheat/ oilseed rape grown within the catchment area.

To find out if you are eligible or for more information please contact Una McBride.

The application window closes on 31st August 2017.



Contact: Una McBride
Contact number: 0781184761
Email: una.mcbride@severntrent.co.uk

Mid Tier and Higher Tier Countryside Stewardship

The third year of the Countryside Stewardship scheme opened on 10 March. This is a targeted scheme for farmers and land managers which funds projects to restore habitats, improve water quality and woodland, reduce flood risk, protect landscapes, and provide year-round food and shelter for pollinators, birds and other wildlife.

Improvements have been made to the application process this year to make it easier to apply, including simplifying evidence requirements for claims and applications wherever possible. Additional support and advice is also available from Natural England.

Countryside Stewardship grants will be offered to those who propose to make the best environmental improvements within their local area.

Application packs can be requested from Natural England. Those thinking of applying for the Higher Tier, including woodland support, will need to have submitted an initial application by 05 May 2017. Higher Tier application packs will need to be requested no later than 13 April. Mid Tier application packs will need to be requested no later than 31 July 2017 so Natural England can send out the maps and evidence requirements in time for farmers and land managers to develop their application and submit it by 30 September 2017.


Contact number: 0300 060 3900

Small dairy farmer scheme launched

Defra has launched the third part of their EU Exceptional Aid scheme, namely a small dairy farmer scheme. The scheme will provide a one off payment to eligible farmers who choose to apply. The scheme is England only and has two eligibility requirements:

• Annual milk production of less than 1 million litres in the April 2015 - April 2016 milk year.
• Still in milk production.

Currently the scheme is to be funded by £8.5million from the EU Exceptional aid scheme but this could increase dependent on the uptake of the other two schemes (ammonia reduction scheme and risk management training). The RPA will not know the rate per litre until after the closing date of the scheme (midnight on 31 May) as payment is dependent on the number of applicants.

The application process is simple - the form can be found online and farmers will need to submit proof of the volume of milk they produced in the last milk year (an annual milk cheque will suffice).


Website: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/small-dairy-farmers-scheme

Grow Your Business with Aston Programme for Small Business Growth

The Aston Programme for Small Business Growth has been developed to support early stage business leaders, to achieve sustainable growth through a series of workshops, one-to-one support and networking. It is fully funded by Aston University and the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).

The six-month programme provides practical workshops taught by experts in SME leadership and management and one-to-one support from an experienced mentor. It is for SMEs who have an operational address within the Black Country, Coventry and Warwickshire, Greater Birmingham and Solihull or The Marches (transitional area only) LEP regions.

Open to SMEs and Social Enterprises, 28 business leaders from a range of sectors will complete the programme together, sharing their experiences and strategies, building a supportive network and working with an experienced business mentor to tackle any issues or challenges SMEs face as they grow.

We are now searching for SMEs and Social Enterprises who have been trading for at least 12 months and have at least one FTE employee (this can include yourself). The programme is suitable for business that are in their early-stage with identifiable growth potential.

Application Deadline - 5th June 2017

Cohort 2, will commence in September 2017 until February 2018 where you will attend 9 workshops over the duration of 6 months. You will start working on your business straight away and will finish the programme with a growth strategy that you have written for your own business that will provide you with an action plan to achieve your growth goals

We will be holding a breakfast meetings on Thursday 25 May at a local growth hub where you will learn more about the programme and how it supports early-stage businesses. One-to-One discussion and application support will be offered there and then on the day.

All of the 2015 participants surveyed after completing the programme are anticipating significant growth in turnover with 60% expecting turnover growth in excess of 200% and 48% also projecting employee numbers to grow in excess of 200% by 2018

Find out more and to learn if you are eligible for this programme, click here.

Alternatively; you can contact the team by email or telephone for further discussions.



Contact number: Tel. 0121 204 3225
Email: centreforgrowth@aston.ac.uk
Website: WWW.ASTON.AC.UK/SMALLBUSINESSGROWTH

BPS Bridging Payments

At 2017 NFU Conference, the Secretary of State announced that bridging payments of 75% would be paid to those not issued a full 2016 BPS payment by the end of March 2017.

Letters have been issued to all farmers who have not received a BPS 2016 payment as of 20 March. They are advised that they will be due to receive a bridging payment if are not issued with a full BPS payment by 31 March.

Bridging payments will be issued from Monday 3 April onwards and the anticipation is the majority of these to be paid within the next two weeks. Bridging payments will be calculated at 75% of their BPS 2016 claim value on the day of calculation

Shall I apply for a Woodland Improvement via Higher Tier?

Countryside Stewardship Higher Tier support is competitive and all applications will be scored on value for money and how well they would serve Biodiversity and Water priorities. These remain unchanged from 2016 and, for Woodland Improvement, include:

Priority Habitats
Priority Species
Plantations on Ancient Woodland Sites (PAW’s) Restoration
Water Quality

The Land Information Search (LIS) will help determine whether your woodland lies within one or more of these priority areas.

Eligibility Requirements
There are a number of specific eligibility requirements for Higher Tier. If an applicant already has an Environmental Stewardship agreement covering some of their land they cannot apply for Countryside Stewardship options or capital items on the same land parcels.  Also, Countryside Stewardship options cannot be located within land parcels covered by some English Woodland Grant Scheme (EWGS) agreements. 

You must have a Forestry Commission approved UK Forestry Standard (UKFS) compliant Woodland Management Plan to be eligible to apply for Higher Tier Woodland Improvement. If you do not currently have an approved plan, consider using Countryside Stewardship support (via the Woodland Management Plan capital grant) to put one in place - so that you will be ready to apply for support for Woodland Improvement in 2018.

Fully funded training to invest in your workforce

Would you like the opportunity improve your staff productivity, increase staff morale and receive support from professionals who will help you grow your business?

Inspire 2 Independence is working in partnership with Serco on the delivery of Skills Support for the Workforce across Coventry & Warwickshire. The funding is available to local businesses within Coventry & Warwickshire with 100% funding of a range of units and qualifications aimed at up-skilling your workforce. No financial contribution is required from your business to access this training opportunity, all that is required is a commitment to the development of your staff. We also offer free first aid and health and safety training to all businesses.

The training can be bespoke and tailored to each business and individual learner therefore we have designed our delivery to allow for part-time and flexible employees to also still benefit from this inward investment. As opposed to only delivering full qualifications we are also able to deliver standalone units in the areas that are of most value to your business, thus decreasing any unnecessary study time and allowing for both established staff and new additions to your team to receive relevant new skills quickly.

Our offer of training is fully bespoke, giving you the option to request any units/qualifications that you feel would increase productivity within your workplace. Our Employer Engagement Consultant will meet with you to complete a Training Needs Analysis to highlight the key training areas in which you would most benefit from. The information from this analysis will be used by our dedicated Skills Tutors to design a tailored package for your business. We also run free first aid courses twice a month every month. Other courses include:

Retail
Customer Service
Team Leading
Management
Business Administration

For further information please contact your i2i representative today.


Contact number: 07850 204799
Email: james.sidaway@enteri2i.com

Greening requirements for 2017

Greening supports farmers to adopt and maintain practices that help meet national environment and climate goals. Greening payments account for approximately 30% of the total payment you will receive for claiming under the BPS. If you fail to comply with the greening rules, then you could lose some or all of your greening payments under BPS. Please be aware that, from 2017, reductions in greening payments for failure to comply with the rules can also be accompanied by administrative penalties proportional to the severity and scope of the non-compliance.

New form to raise BPS issues

The RPA has developed a new way to deal with cases of unreported BPS 2015 / 2016 payment issues, which includes an enquiry form for farmers to complete and send to the RPA.

For further information and to download a copy of the form please use the link below.

Website: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/basic-payment-scheme-payment-query-form

New RDPE Growth Programme is launched

The new RDPE Growth Programme was launched by DEFRA on the 25th January 2017 and provides £120 million of EU funding for projects in England which create jobs and growth in the rural economy. There are 3 types of grant:

Business Development
Food Processing
Rural Tourism Infrastructure

The grants are funded by the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD), which is part of the European Structural Investment Funds (ESIF). The RPA delivers the grants working with ESIF sub committees in Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) areas.

Farmers, growers, packers, processors and food and drink manufactures are eligible for funding providing they are able to invest in capital projects that will create jobs and deliver growth to their businesses. Applicants to the Business Development and Rural Tourism grants must be either micro or small businesses. Applicants to the Food processing grant can be micro, small or medium sized businesses. It is important you check the size of your business with eligibility criteria.

Eligible expenditure is different for each grant, but is summarised below;

Business Development - Construction or improving buildings which will create jobs and growth, including buying new equipment and machinery.

Food Processing - Construction or improving food processing buildings. Buying new food and drink grading, packing and processing equipment and machinery.

Rural Tourism Infrastructure - Capital expenditure on tourism infrastructure, including new accommodation, equipment and attractions.

For Business Development and Rural Tourism Grants the maximum grant rate is 40% up to £170,000. For Food Processing Grants the maximum grant rate is 40% up to £ 1 million. The minimum grant for all three grant schemes is £35,000.

How to apply
The application process is competitive. This means grants are not awarded automatically to an applicant. The Rural Payments Agency (RPA) will assess all expressions of interest (EOI) to see which best meet the criteria. There is a rigorous 2-part application process (starting with submitting an ‘expression of interest’) to tell RPA about the work you’re doing and how the grant could help you with it.

If the RPA assesses that your expression of interest is suitable, they will invite you to submit a full application. The deadline for Expressions of Interest is the 31st December 2018 and the final deadline to claim grant money is the 31st December 2019, which means the RPA are under significant pressure to spend this European funding, before the UK leaves the EU.

Applicants must be aware that they cannot spend money on projects until they receive an offer letter from the RPA/DEFRA. Grants are not awarded retrospectively.

Website: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/rdpe-growth-programme

Rural Payments Agency pays 91% of Basic Payment Scheme claims in December

Over 78,000 (91%) farmers in England received their 2016 Basic Payment Scheme (BPS) money by the end of December.

Environment Secretary Andrea Leadsom said:
“I know how important these payments are to farmers and I am pleased that the RPA has surpassed its target of making 90% of payments by the end of December. This is good progress but both Mark Grimshaw and I are clear that the Agency will remain fully focussed on processing claims as quickly as possible until everyone is paid.”

RPA Chief Executive Mark Grimshaw said:
“We understand how important BPS payments are to farmers and that’s why we’ve worked hard to get money into bank accounts in the first month of the payment window, injecting just over £1.4 billion into the farming and wider rural economy.

“This month we will communicate directly with those farmers who will be paid from January onwards to help them plan.” BPS payments are made direct to bank accounts so farmers should make sure RPA has the most up-to-date account details. Once a payment has been made a remittance advice is sent in the post, confirming the amount paid. More information on BPS 2016, including scheme rules and details of how payments are calculated, is available at www.GOV.UK/rpa/bps2016.


North Warwickshire and Hinckley and Bosworth LEADER Programme

Helping local rural businesses grow

Farming Productivity Grants
For farmers who are looking to invest in innovative business practices and new technologies to help them become more sustainable and productive. Grants between £2,500 - £25,000 will support three types of projects:
- a project to improve the overall performance and sustainability of an agricultural holding;
- an investment to support animal health and welfare improvements;
- or the processing, marketing and/or development of agricultural products.

Micro and Small Enterprise Grants
Grants of between £4,000 - £25,000 are available for businesses with under 50 employees including new businesses and social enterprises who aim to deliver a project that will have an impact on the local rural economy. This can include the creation of new jobs, increased turnover, creation of new products or use of new technologies.
Eligible activity includes:
- construction costs or establishment costs for workshops, factories, premises and facilities;
- purchasing equipment (not consumables);
- and setting up an I.T. business

Forestry Productivity Grants
Grants between £2,500 - £25,000 for private forestry holdings and micro, small or medium-sized forestry contracting businesses that aim to deliver permanent new supply chains and jobs that, at the same time, restore regular management to local woods and encourage a greater degree of added value to the timber output. Eligible activity includes:
- Investments in machinery and equipment to help the production, extraction, mobilising, processing and marketing of timber, non-timber forest products (including wild venison) and new forestry technologies;
- developing wood-fuel supply chains
- and transportation

Contact the LEADER Programme Team
Telephone: 01827 719 356
Email: leaderproject@northwarks.gov.uk
Facebook: /NWHBLEADER
Website: www.englandsruralheart.org


LEADER Funding for North Warwickshire, Hinckley & Bosworth

North Warwickshire and Hinckley and Bosworth LEADER Programme
Helping local rural businesses grow

Farming Productivity Grants
For farmers who are looking to invest in innovative business practices and new technologies to help them become more sustainable and productive. Grants between £2,500 - £25,000 will support three types of projects:
• a project to improve the overall performance and sustainability of an agricultural holding;
• an investment to support animal health and welfare improvements;
• or the processing, marketing and/or development of agricultural products.

Micro and Small Enterprise Grants
Grants of between £4,000 - £25,000 are available for businesses with under 50 employees including new businesses and social enterprises who aim to deliver a project that will have an impact on the local rural economy. This can include the creation of new jobs, increased turnover, creation of new products or use of new technologies.
Eligible activity includes:
• construction costs or establishment costs for workshops, factories, premises and facilities;
• purchasing equipment (not consumables);
• and setting up an I.T. business

Forestry Productivity Grants
Grants between £2,500 - £25,000 for private forestry holdings and micro, small or medium-sized forestry contracting businesses that aim to deliver permanent new supply chains and jobs that, at the same time, restore regular management to local woods and encourage a greater degree of added value to the timber output. Eligible activity includes:
• Investments in machinery and equipment to help the production, extraction, mobilising, processing and marketing of timber, non-timber forest products (including wild venison) and new forestry technologies;
• developing wood-fuel supply chains
• and transportation

Contact the LEADER Programme Team
Telephone: 01827 719 356
Email: leaderproject@northwarks.gov.uk
Facebook: /NWHBLEADER
Website: www.englandsruralheart.org

WRAP On-farm Anaerobic Digestion Fund

The On-Farm Anaerobic Digestion Fund from WRAP is to help farmers in England get financial support to build small-scale AD plants on their farms.

WRAP understands that the main barriers to developing anaerobic digestion (AD) on farms are:

Access to finance
Availability of reference sites for technologies and case studies
Demonstration of the benefits of AD
The potential high cost of technology

To address these barriers and encourage the uptake of small-scale on-farm AD in the UK WRAP has developed a programme to help farms access finance, provide case studies and demonstration information and provide support for farmers who want to use AD on their farm.

The fund will be available to farms in England, that have access to slurries or manures; and who wish to build AD plants producing up to 250k/W of power.

The scheme is split into two parts:

a business plan grant up to £10,000 to investigate the environmental and economic potential of building an AD plant on the farm

a capital loan up to £400,000 (or a maximum of 50% of the project cost). This is available for AD plants producing up to 250kW of power.

The funding is available in England only, however if you are a farmer in another nation resources have been produced to help you through the process of feasibility and business planning.

For more information please visit the website.


Website: www.wrap.org.uk/content/farm-ad-fund

SEVERN TRENT ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION SCHEME – STEPS

STEPS aims to provide grants to farmers for infrastructure investments and management schemes to aid the protection of our environment. This is a voluntary scheme funded by Severn Trent Water (STW).
STEPS will pay a fixed grant price per item up to a maximum of £5000! The fixed grant price represents an estimated 50% of the total cost of the capital and land management items.

Do you qualify?
1.Check to see if your farm holding falls within an Environment Agency Safe Guard Zone (SGZ) located within the Severn Trent Water catchment area
2.Check the list of grants available to help your farm business tackle diffuse pollution from agriculture: https://www.stwater.co.uk/category/1560
3.Contact your local Severn Trent Catchment officer for more details

To check if your farm falls within a SGZ catchment please contact your local catchment advisor:

North Warwickshire:
Una McBride
07811847161
(Bourne, Blythe, Haseley Springs Catchments)

South Warwickshire/ Northamptonshire:
Ben Smith
07710095554
(Upper Avon and Leam Catchment)

The STEPS application period is open from 1st January 2016 and closes on 18th March 2016 - Don’t miss your chance to receive up to £5000!

1.4m now available to boost local businesses

A new scheme, aimed at boosting the rural economy across the North Warwickshire and Hinckley & Bosworth, has officially been launched.

The two Councils have secured £1.416 million of European funding through the LEADER Programme (2015-2019). LEADER is part of the Rural Development Programme for England (RDPE) and is funded by the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD).

Around 40 local businesses and organisations attended the launch event at Bosworth Hall Hotel to find out more about the funding available. The event was followed by an opportunity for people to discuss potential ideas with the LEADER project team.

The money will be allocated to businesses, groups or organisations that can demonstrate a benefit to the local rural economy. To be successful, applications must contribute to the creation of jobs or the development of businesses in the rural areas.

The Chair of the Local Action Group (LAG), Sharon Earp is an active member of the Hinckley and Bosworth Tourism Partnership and Leicestershire Tourism Partnership and runs her own award winning tourism business. Sharon said :

“We are absolutely delighted to have been awarded the funding, and are confident that it will make a real difference to the longevity, sustainability and success of the rural economy in this wonderful area”.

The first call for applications for funding, which opened on the 16 November 2015, is for projects from farmers, foresters and small businesses with fewer than 50 employees. The deadline for outline applications in this first round is the 4 January 2016. Further applications to deliver projects relating to rural services, tourism, cultural and heritage activities will be invited from next year.

To discuss a potential project idea or to receive an outline application form, contact the LEADER Programme Team at North Warwickshire Borough Council, on 01827 719356 or email leaderproject@northwarks.gov.uk Alternatively visit the Facebook page at: /NWHBLEADER

Tourism funding available to support festivals and events in Warwickshire

Warwickshire County Council has underlined its commitment to supporting tourism and culture by making a £75,000 grant fund available to organisations planning to hold events or festivals throughout the county.
The Tourism Event Funding Scheme has been devised as part of a new three-year work programme to support tourism and cultural activity across Warwickshire. Launched at the end of July, the first deadline for applications is Friday 18th September.
The scheme is designed to support those organising events and festivals and encourage them to evaluate what they do to become better equipped to gain future sponsorship and funding and sustain events for the longer term.
Any organisation or group interested in applying for a grant can find full details at www.warwickshire.gov.uk/tourism.

Update on the new Countryside Stewardship Grants

Applications for Countryside Stewardship (Higher and Mid tiers) agreements that would start on 1 Jan 2016 are still due to be accepted from 1st July through to the end of September. Natural England will be actively engaging with landowners likely to be eligible for the Higher tier as soon as the application process is confirmed.

Countryside Stewardship / CSF Capital Grants

The Catchment Sensitive Farming Capital Grants have now been rolled into the Countryside Stewardship scheme and are available either as part of a Mid Tier application or in some cases a standalone Water Grant.
The application period is now open and will run up until 30th September for agreements to start on 1st January 2016. Certain options will require endorsement by a Catchment Sensitive Farming Officer and are only available to farms that have been identified as high priority for water quality issues within the Wye and Teme catchments.
More information on the Mid Tier options and items available can be found at
www.gov.uk/countryside-stewardship-grants
If you are interested in applying for Mid Tier or the water grants, in the first instance please call: 0300 060 3900 or email: enquiries@naturalengland.org.uk to request an application pack and to find out whether or not your farm is
a priority for water quality.

Businesses thrive with Rural Growth Network support

Rural businesses throughout Warwickshire are thriving thanks to the support and grant-funding of Warwickshire Rural Growth Network.

So far more than 500 businesses have been supported by the programme and over 120 people helped to start a business.

This continues the eye-catching success of Warwickshire Rural Growth Network, one of only five Rural Growth Networks being piloted in the country.

Working on behalf of the network, Warwickshire County Council administers the funding which comes from the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, the Rural Development Programme for England which is part financed by the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development, and the Government Equalities Office on behalf of Coventry and Warwickshire Local Enterprise Partnership.

Expert advice and support is available to rural businesses in any sector and people looking to start their own new business. And, with such a diverse wealth of expertise within Warwickshire's business community, that support has been accessed by a vast range of enterprises.

From manufacturing to retail and to health and social work; from science and technology to the arts and digital media; from education and construction to agriculture, businesses have either been started up or enabled to grow thanks to WRGN support.

A major strand of that support comes through Micro Enterprise Grants which have underpinned many success stories in the last two years and continue to help small rural business become established or expand. The grants have been accessed through both the Rural Development Programme for England, a seven-year programme (2007-2013) funded jointly by the EU, through the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD) and the UK Government and directly through the Rural Growth Network’s own Micro Enterprise Grant programme.

In the last two years MEGs have created or safeguarded 275 jobs with grants handed out totalling £640,000 with a leverage of over £1,100,000.

Among businesses to take advantage of a Micro Enterprise Grant is Wolston-based industrial design company Smallfry, whose managing director Steve May-Russell has been short-listed for the Institute of Directors' West Midlands Director of the Year Award.

Steve sought support for a very specific objective - and is delighted that he did as a £12,444 Micro Enterprise Grant enabled him to purchase a rapid prototype machine with obvious benefits to business growth.

"The machine was clearly going to benefit our business," said Steve, "but it was quite a significant investment for a small business so something to think about carefully.

"Basically, we just needed a little nudge and that's what we got when we found out that the grant might be available. It was real surprise to get a call from a colleague suggesting we look into it. I'm very glad we did."

For more information on Warwickshire Rural Growth Network please go to www.warwickshire.gov.uk/ruralgrowthnetwork or call 01926 412709.


Contact: Rural Growth Network
Contact number: 01926 412709
Website: www.warwickshire.gov.uk/ruralgrowthnetwork

Barclays Renewable Energy Fund

Barclays Bank has created a £100 million fund designed to help farmers meet the costs of renewable energy initiatives via wind farms, solar panels, organic waste power and hydro plants.

Research undertaken by the bank has revealed that agricultural businesses are now keen to benefit from government support tariffs. More than a third of farmers would like to install renewable energy projects on their land during the coming year. The Barclays survey of 300 agricultural customers indicated that four out of five farmers recognise how renewable energy can save costs and 60% see it as a source of additional income. The funding provider expects around 80-90% of projects will be solar and wind farms as they are cheapest to build and their costs are forecast to drop by up to 50% in the next three to five years as demand rises and technology improves.

Eligible Activities
The loan can be used to meet the costs of renewable energy initiatives such as wind farms, solar panels, organic waste power and hydro plants.

Who Can Apply
Farmers in the UK may apply, there is no end date for applying to the fund.

For further information about this new Renewable Energy Fund, please call or visit your local branch of Barclays Bank and ask to speak to a Relationship Manager.

Contact number: 0800 015 4242
Email: newclient.team@barclays.com

Funding for businesses with new ideas in rural Warwickshire

Funding is available to small or medium sized enterprises based in rural Warwickshire who are working with another similar enterprise on the development of a new product, process or service. The scheme offers two types of grants of between £3000 - £5000. This contribution must be 60% matched by the company in time or expenditure.

Revenue grants are available to assist with product development cost such as parts and materials, consultancy fees and prototyping.

Capital grants are available for expenditure on equipment, machinery or tooling.

A company will only be eligible for one grant. All the projects will be evaluated independently.

Your project must demonstrate innovation, result in a new product, process or service and provide tangible benefits for the local economy.




Contact: Judy Lambourne
Contact number: 07557 425500
Email: funding4innovation@cad-coventry.ac.uk

HLF - Sharing Heritage Programme

This £3 million scheme is administered and provided by the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF).

Not for profit organisations, including community groups, social enterprises, community/parish councils and local authorities can apply for grants of between £3,000 and £10,000 for projects which make a difference to people, heritage and communities across the UK.

For further information visit the Heritage Lottery Fund website


Website: www.hlf.org.uk

Small loans receive financial boost

Coventry City Council and Warwickshire County Council have been working with local partners, the Local Enterprise Partnership and DEFRA to create an innovative scheme providing business loans to companies and individuals trading in Coventry and Warwickshire.
Loans of up to £ 50 000 are available to those businesses that it is felt will contribute towards the economic growth of the region and can satisfy an independent loans panel that they have a viable business plan.
Loans are being delivered by the Coventry and Warwickshire Reinvestment Trust who will normally visit applicants and assist them in preparing an application for funding.
For more information about the small business loans scheme or the Rural Growth Network you can contact either:

Contact: Rural Growth Network
Contact number: 01926 412709
Website: www.warwickshire.gov.uk/ruralgrowthnetwork

Or Coventry and Warwickshire Reinvestment Trust direct on
Contact: CWRT
Contact number: 0845 606 6216
Website: www.enterpriseloans.org

Legislation & Regulation

Reminder on water abstraction licences

If your current water abstraction licence is due to expire, and you want to continue to abstract, you need to apply for a new licence at least 3 months before the existing licence expires. The Environment Agency will only renew your licence if:

• your abstraction continues to be environmentally sustainable;
• you can demonstrate that you have a continuing need for the water;
• that you will use water efficiently.

For more information on applying for a water abstraction licence, please visit the website below.

Environment Agency have announced that they are checking compliance with abstraction licence conditions. These checks are via reactive, unannounced visits to assess compliance with 'Hands-Off Flow' (HOF) restrictions. If your licence contains a HOF condition you are required to stop or reduce your abstraction when river levels are low. EA will write to you as soon as river levels start falling and again if a restriction is imposed. You must comply with the terms of the restriction until they tell you that river levels are high enough for you to abstract again.

Website: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/water-management-apply-for-a-water-abstraction-or-impoundment-licence

Reminder of Cross Compliance dates in August

1 August
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 shallow or sandy soils except where crops will be sown on or before 15 September. (SMR** 1)

EFA catch crops must be established by this date (and retained until at least 1 October 2017). (Basic Payment Scheme: rules for 2017)

EU vote not to block changes to greening rules

The EU Parliament has voted not to block proposed changes to greening and other elements of BPS rules. The ban on the use of plant protection products on field-based Ecological Focus Area options will therefore come into force. No timescale has been given.

Poultry restrictions to be lifted on 15 May

The Avian Influenza Prevention Zone that is currently in place will be lifted in England on 15 May 2017. From this date, keepers will no longer be required by law to follow specific disease prevention measures to reduce the risk of infection from wild birds. They should continue to follow industry standard best practice on biosecurity, including minimising movement in and out of bird enclosures, cleaning footwear, keeping areas where birds live clean and tidy and feeding birds indoors.
Poultry gatherings - A ban on poultry gatherings has been in place since 20 December to reduce the risk of infected poultry passing the virus to other birds. This ban will be lifted in England on 15 May 2017, meaning bird gatherings can then resume, subject to some additional identity and health checks and biosecurity measures.

Update on poultry regulations

DEFRA has announced that from the 13th April, the additional requirements to house poultry in Higher Risk Areas of England will be lifted. Defra have based their decision on the latest scientific evidence and veterinary advice which concludes that the level of risk to poultry in the Higher Risk Areas has now reduced to that across the rest of England. This is because of changes in the wild bird population: two thirds of over-wintering migratory birds have now left the UK, and resident wild waterfowl are at their lowest levels and entering the breeding season when they become less likely to move long distances to forage for food.

The risk of poultry becoming infected from H5N8 remains heightened and countries across Europe continue to experience outbreaks and observe cases in wild birds. All other biosecurity measures including the additional measures for commercial keepers with more than 500 birds will remain in force until further notice and the ban on poultry gatherings remains in force until further notice.

Dewlap tags

Please be reminded that Dewlap tags, which are inserted through the dewlap of cattle, are legally classed as a mutilation (Animal Welfare Act 2006). Using the dewlap tag is therefore illegal and if farms are found to be using these tags at an RPA or APHA inspection it will be considered a rectifiable breach and will incur a penalty.

Further measures for bovine TB are introduced from 1 April

Farmers are reminded that the government is introducing further measures to tackle bovine TB in England from 1 April 2017. These are intended to further enhance bTB surveillance and controls in the high risk and edge areas of England. Official Defra guidance can be found on the link below.

Website: www.tbhub.co.uk/tb-policy/england/enhanced-measures-tackle-bovine-tb/

Cross Compliance update for 2017

You must follow the cross compliance rules if you are claiming for the Basic Payment Scheme (BPS), a stewardship scheme or the English Woodland Grant Scheme (EWGS) in 2017.
How to obtain the updated guidance?
The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) and the Rural Payments Agency (RPA) published the 2017 cross compliance rules in December 2016. The guidance is only available electronically and hard copies of the publication will not be sent out this year. This is because the policy has not changed since the 2016 version of the guide was issued, so those with a paper copy can continue to use it for the 2017 scheme year

New regulations for importing firewood came into force on 1 January 2017

The Statutory Notification Scheme for importing solid woodfuel (firewood) requires importers bringing certain types of firewood into England and Scotland from outside the UK to provide prior notice of its arrival to the Forestry Commission. At least three days’ prior notification is required if the shipment is coming by sea, road or rail, and four hours’ notice if it is arriving by air.

The regulation covers solid wood fuel (firewood) in the form of logs, billets, twigs, faggots and similar forms. All relevant consignments, irrespective of size or weight, must be notified.

The notification system requires initial enrolment, followed by completion and submission of a notification form for each consignment of firewood being imported. Notification forms are available in downloadable and on-line versions.

Firewood importers wanting more information, and/or to request a visit from a Forestry Commission officer to help them get started, can contact its Plant Health Service on the details below.


Contact number: 0300 067 5155
Website: plant.health@forestry.gsi.gov.uk

Change of NVZ designations

Some NVZ designations are due to be changed in 2017, and the formal notification process and appeals window will begin in the New Year. Appeals will be phased, with the Severn catchment among the first. There have been significant changes in Staffordshire with additional areas added, boundaries have changed in Shropshire and some areas of Worcestershire have been removed.

Go to the website below and select "Nitrate Vulnerable Zones" for further information.


Website: apps.environment-agency.gov.uk/wiyby/

Planned Changes to Farm Animal Movement Rules

Under the new rules you will be able to apply to register all the land you use within a 10 mile radius, whether on a permanent or temporary basis, under the same CPH number. You will be able to move animals around that registered land, within a 10-mile radius, without the need to report movements and without triggering a six-day standstill. Reporting and standstill requirements for livestock movements to other farms or businesses will continue to apply.
• All CTS links will be withdrawn by summer 2017 under the new system. If you have a CTS link you do not need to do anything now. BCMS will contact you before your link is due to expire to explain your options.
• All SOAs will be withdrawn. If you have a SOA you do not need to do anything now. Defra will write to you with further information on the options that will be available to you.
• The Sheep and Goats batch reporting exemption between different holdings within the same business (provided keepership does not change) will be removed.
• The Sheep and Goats adjacent moves reporting exemption (allowing keepers not to report frequent sheep or goat movements to contiguous (adjacent) land on a different holding) will be removed.
• Batch-tagged slaughter sheep and goats will continue to be identified with just their flock number.

The new rules will be introduced from July 2016 and will be phased in over the next year, to be completed by summer/autumn 2017. The sheep and goat movement reporting exemptions will then end on 1 January 2018.
For full details of the new rules and what they will mean for you, please visit the website:
www.gov.uk/government/publications/livestock-movements-simpler-rules-from-2016-to-2017/livestock-movements-simpler-rules-from-2016-to-2017

Compulsory Microchipping for all Dogs

With effect from 6th April 2016, it is a legal requirement for all dogs to be microchipped. All dogs aged 8 weeks and over must be microchipped and the microchip must contain up to date contact information.
If your dog does not have a microchip or if your current details are not recorded on an approved database, you could face a fine of up to £500 on conviction.
For further information please visit www.dogstrust.org.uk

Get advice on pesticide safety

April is the beginning of the sowing and spraying season and these activities present their own safety risks. If you are using pesticides check the Health and Safety Executive's code of practice for advice on how to take precautions when storing, handling, using, keeping records and disposing of pesticides and pesticide waste.

Website: www.pesticides.gov.uk/guidance/industries/pesticides

Requirement to get spray equipment tested by Nov 2016

By 26th November 2016, and at regular intervals thereafter, owners of pesticide application equipment in use (except knapsack and handheld sprayers) must ensure it is inspected to certain timetables.
NB Equipment that is not in use or is not used for applying pesticides is not affected

Remember to consider felling licences

Please consider if a felling licence is required from the Forestry Commission before felling trees.

If in doubt please contact Mr Paul Webster, Woodland Officer, Forestry Commission

Contact: Paul Webster
Contact number: 07786 111495

Grandfather Rights no longer exist

The current exemption for people born before December 31st 1964 for using Plant Protective Products (PPP) authorised for professional use (Grandfather Rights), came to an end on 26th November 2015. Anyone using PPPs for professional use will have to have a Certificate of Competence from a recognised body. This includes use on crops, land, produce, materials and buildings which are owned, occupied or rented by them or their employer.
It is an offence to purchase PPP’s authorised for professional use unless the purchaser has ensured that the intended end user has a certificate. Existing certificates of competence (for example, PA2 and PA6) will remain valid under the new legislation. Anyone who already has one of these will need to do nothing new.

Workplace Pensions Auto Enrolment Scheme

From 1 June 2015 - April 2017 businesses employing less than 30 staff will be required to offer a work place pension under the auto enrolment scheme.
Starting dates are advised by the Government, details about your start date is available by visiting: www.thepensionsregulator.gov.uk/employers/staging-date.aspx
Further information is available from the Government Website: www.gov.uk/workplace-pensions-employers

New format Nitrate Vulnerable Zone (NVZ) guidance

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) has released its Nitrate Vulnerable Zone (NVZ) guidance in a new format. There are no changes to the rules, only to the way the rules are presented. The new format guidance appears on four pages covering nutrient management, storing organic manures, using nitrogen fertilisers and grassland derogations in NVZs. Links to the pages appear together on the GOV.UK land management page under the ‘Pollution’ section.

Any comments you have on the new style guidance, which aims to simplify, yet retain the essential guidance provided, would be helpful. To do this select the ‘Contact’ option at the bottom of the page you wish to comment on, and then click the ‘GOV.UK form’ option to provide comments on the page visited. Queries on the rules should be directed to the FAS technical helpline on 0345 345 1302.

Pension Schemes - step by step guide for small businesses

A new step-by-step guide to help small businesses get ready for their automatic enrolment duties has been launched by The Pensions Regulator. The 11-step guide takes employers through the tasks they need to complete and includes the information they require to comply with the law. The online guide also contains information tailored for employers who run director-only companies

Water Abstraction Reminder- Reporting Water abstraction

Farmers who hold abstraction licences are required to record the amount of water they abstract and submit the information to the Environment Agency.
Records of abstraction are generally referred to as ‘returns’. Your return can be, for example, water meter readings or actual volumes abstracted. Depending on their licence conditions and the quantity of water that they are allowed to abstract, most farmers will need to keep weekly or monthly records of the actual amount of water they take and submit annual returns.
If you have any enquiries regarding your water abstraction licence or returns, please contact the Environment Agency on 03708 506 506 (Monday to Friday, 8am to 6pm) or email (enquiries@environment-agency.gov.uk).

Pre-population of online SA returns from August 2015

Pay, tax and P11D details will start to be pre-populated onto the HMRC version of the online SA return from August and will be found under 'information we hold about you', so there won’t be any need to contact HMRC for this information in the future.

Free HMRC online support - letting property to tenants

Our e-learning gives guidance on how income from property is taken into account - see website for more help.

Health & Safety Executive

Using Tractors Safely - A step-by-step guide - download a free copy
This revised step-by-step guide to tractor safety (formerly “Tractor Action”), is for everyone who uses a tractor, or
tractor-operated machinery. It applies to those working in farming, forestry, horticulture, amenity horticulture, and
the sports turf industry. Click on the following link: http://www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/indg185.htm

Common land registers: how to register and deregister common land

Guidance is available at the website below to help you understand the status of common land and how to add or remove commons and greens from the commons register.
https://www.gov.uk/common-land-registers-how-to-register-and-deregister-common-land

Fly-Grazing Law Comes into Effect

New laws to clamp down on people illegally abandoning horses came into force in England on Tuesday 26th May 2015, improving horse welfare standards across the country.
The Control of Horses Act 2015, makes changes to the law to deter people from illegally grazing or simply abandoning horses on public and private land, which is known as „fly-grazing‟.
As many as 3,000 horses are thought to be illegally fly-grazing across the country. The changes mean horse owners who fly-graze their animals without permission can now be dealt with more quickly and effectively.
Under the previous Animals Act 1971 an abandoned horse could only be disposed of after 14 days through sale at market or public auction. The new Act means fly-grazing horses have to be reported to police within 24 hours, and owners now have four days to claim their animals.
Previously, an abandoned horse could only be disposed of through sale at market or public auction. The new law extends the options for dealing with abandoned horses, which now include private sale, gifting and rehoming.

Sign up to FAS services

Register for free text message updates
We use text messages to send reminders of approaching key dates for cross compliance. To register for FREE text message updates, please call 0345 345 1302 or email bookings@farmingadviceservice.org.uk with ‘Register for text updates’ in the subject line. Remember to include your name and mobile phone number in the message. Your details will not be shared with any third parties.
Get the latest updates by following FAS on Twitter
FAS has joined Twitter. Follow us on @DefraFAS for up-to-the-minute updates on publications, events and industry information.
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To receive further copies of the FREE bimonthly FAS newsletter, please call 0345 345 1302 or email bookings@farmingadviceservice.org.uk with ‘Register for newsletter’ in the subject line.

Animal welfare requirements under cross compliance

If you keep any animal for agricultural purposes, you have a legal obligation to protect its welfare by ensuring appropriate standards of care and husbandry. This is also a requirement under the Basic Payment Scheme (BPS) and failure to comply may lead to a reduction in your payments.
The requirements include:
• Regular inspection of the animals by staff that have the correct skills and knowledge. The frequency will depend upon the amount of human attention required by your husbandry system and there are specific minimum rules for certain livestock sectors including calves (SMR11). Sick or injured animals must be cared for appropriately without delay. They may need isolation and additional advice from a vet must be sought if their condition does not improve.
• Maintenance of on-farm records, detailing medicinal treatment provided to animals and any deaths. It is important that these records are retained for three years from the date of the treatment and/or inspection.
• Ensure that appropriate accommodation is provided for the animals, with sufficient space and the ability to move freely. The environment should be clean and free from materials that can injure or cause harm to the animal. Buildings should be correctly ventilated and lit with artificial light if there is insufficient daylight.
• Suitable feed and water must be provided. The animals must be fed a wholesome diet, free from substances that can cause harm, and they must have access to a suitable water supply.
• You must not carry out any mutilation or intervention on your animals, unless the action is classed as a ‘permitted procedure’, and you must not carry out breeding procedures that are likely to cause harm.
• Protect animals kept outdoors by providing adequately drained lying land and protection from the weather, predators and other risks to their health.
Further guidance on animal welfare requirements can be located under Statutory Management Requirements (SMRs) 11 - 13 in ‘The guide to cross compliance in England 2015’.

Integrated Pest Management - are you complying with the requirements?

Regulation (EC) No. 1107/2009 applies in every EU country and requires pesticide users to ensure that plant protection products are applied ‘properly’. Proper use includes those applying pesticides in a professional capacity to follow the principles of Integrated Pest Management (IPM) set out in The Sustainable Use (of Pesticides) Directive 2009/128/EC.
What is Integrated Pest Management?
The Directive defines IPM as the careful consideration of all available plant protection methods and integration of appropriate measures to discourage the development of populations of harmful organisms. It aims to keep the use of all forms of control to levels that are economically and ecologically justified, and reduce or minimise risks to human health and the environment. IPM emphasises the growth of a healthy crop with the least possible disruption to agro-ecosystems and encourages natural pest control.
What are the general principles of IPM?

The general principles include:
• preventing or suppressing the development of populations of harmful organisms (for example, through; crop rotation; the use of cultivation techniques, resistant varieties, balanced fertilisation, irrigation/drainage practice and hygiene measures; and protecting and enhancing beneficial organisms);
• using forecasting and monitoring systems to assess pest pressures and using thresholds (where available) to decide whether and when to apply controls;
• giving preference to non-chemical methods if they provide a satisfactory method of control;
• using pesticides which pose least risk to human health and the environment;
• keeping use of all methods of control to levels that are necessary (in the case of pesticides this may involve reducing dose rates), while being mindful of the need to avoid the development of resistance and adopt anti-resistance strategies;
• assessing the effectiveness of controls.
What should you do to comply with the IPM requirements?
IPM Plans (IPMP) can help you to adopt an integrated approach. They can also help farmers to demonstrate due diligence in meeting the obligation to take all reasonable precautions to protect human health and the environment when using pesticides. An IPMP can help to demonstrate that risks have been carefully assessed and that as part of the control regime different ways of controlling pests, weeds and diseases have been considered. The plan may also be useful evidence for farm assurance schemes and cross compliance inspections.
Where can you obtain an IPMP?
The NFU and Voluntary Initiative (VI) have developed an IPMP that can be used by farmers to demonstrate compliance with the IPM requirements. This is a free tool and once completed, a copy of the plan will be emailed to you. The plan can then be printed and retained with other farm records.
It is important to review the plan regularly, with a thorough annual review. If you have a BASIS registered adviser, they may be able to assist with completing and reviewing the IPMP.

New rules for septic tanks and small sewage treatment plants

As part of ongoing efforts to improve water quality and reduce pollution, new rules were introduced in January to simplify the way septic tanks and small sewage treatment plants are regulated in England. Households and businesses with septic tanks and small sewage treatment plants are responsible for meeting the legal requirements, which are called ‘general binding rules’, by ensuring their systems are maintained properly and do not cause pollution.
The Environment Agency expects that most people will be able to follow the rules and use their septic tank or treatment plant without needing a permit. The main exception to this is in areas designated as ‘environmentally sensitive’, where additional measures are needed to prevent pollution and the systems may need permits.
It is easy to comply with the new rules - here are the main requirements:
• Systems must not cause pollution and should be emptied (desludged) at least once a year.
• You must check how much the system discharges by looking at the online guidance (www.gov.uk/permits-you-need-for-septic-tanks/calculate-discharge). The discharge limit is a maximum of 2,000 litres of treated sewage per day into the ground or 5,000 litres per day into flowing water - a permit is required for quantities greater than these.
• Faults or problems must be fixed immediately.
• You must speak to the Environment Agency before installing a new system to check if a permit is required. A new system must meet British Standards for septic tanks and sewage treatment plants that were in place at the time it was installed (currently BS EN 12566). Your local council should be consulted to check that it meets planning requirements and complies with Building Regulations.
Visit www.gov.uk/small-sewage-rules to read the ‘general binding rules’ in full.
Paper copies are also available on request from the Environment Agency by calling 03708 506 506 or emailing enquiries@environment-agency.gov.uk.
You can check if your property is in a designated sensitive area or whether you require a permit by calling the Environment Agency on 03708 506 506.
If you are concerned that a septic tank or sewage treatment plant is causing pollution, call the Environment Agency's incident hotline on 0800 80 70 60.

Environmental Impact Assessment Regulations

The aim of the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) (Agriculture) Regulations is to protect uncultivated and semi-natural areas from damage caused by agricultural works. Compliance with the Regulations is covered by the new cross-compliance rules under GAEC 6 (Maintenance of soil organic matter). Failure to adhere to the rules is a breach of Basic Payment Scheme (BPS). GAEC 6 states that “You must comply with the Environmental Impact Assessment Regulations (EIA) (2006) (Regulations 4, 9, 26 and 28) and the Environmental Impact Assessment (Forestry) (England and Wales) Regulations (1999) (Regulations 4(1) and 22). You can’t plough, cultivate or intensify species-rich and semi-natural habitats so as to keep organic matter and carbon levels in soils”.
To comply with the Regulations, a screening decision must be obtained from Natural England prior to an ‘uncultivated land project’ being started or carried out on an area of land of two or more hectares. An ‘uncultivated land project’ is a project that increases the agricultural productivity of an uncultivated or a semi-natural area. Land is judged to be uncultivated if, for the last 15 years, it has not been physically cultivated (such as ploughing and sub-surface harrowing) or chemically cultivated (such as applying fertilisers and soil improvers). ‘Semi-natural areas’ include bracken; species-rich hay meadow; fen, marsh and swamp; bog; semi-natural scrub; dwarf shrub heath; wet grassland in coastal and river flood plains; unimproved grassland; and standing water.
If your land falls within the definition above, you will need to contact the Natural England EIA team prior to undertaking work to increase the productivity of the land. The team can be contacted on 0800 028 2140 or eia.england@naturalengland.org.uk.
In some instances, Natural England may consider that a project falling below the EIA thresholds will, nonetheless, have a significant effect on the environment and an EIA will need to be carried out. In such cases, Natural England has the power to issue a screening notice that removes one or more of the thresholds and requires a screening application to be made.
Farmers are reminded that removing trees and woodland may be a project under the EIA (Forestry) Regulations. Before considering any tree or woodland removal, please contact your local Forestry Commission office

Protecting your soils post-harvest

Under the new cross compliance rule, Good Agricultural and Environmental Condition (GAEC 5), there is a requirement to have minimum land management that reflects site-specific conditions to limit erosion. It is important that you select the correct post-harvest options to ensure that land harvested by a combine harvester or mower is left in a state where erosion is unlikely. Suitable options are provided on page 8 of the ‘Cross compliance in England: soil protection standards 2015’.

The new rules for soils are applicable to all Basic Payment Scheme (BPS) claimants and certain Pillar II claimants. Therefore, it is important that you are aware of how to comply with the requirements to safeguard your payments. FAS has produced an article that provides top tips for compliance with the updated soil management requirements. If you require further advice regarding soil management on your farm, please contact FAS on 0345 345 1302 or email advice@farmingadviceservice.org.uk

Help with Rules, Regulations and Record Keeping

If you are unsure about details of any rules or regulations or want help with understanding record keeping, please remember that free advice and help is always available from the Green Futures Team - Farming Advice Service, Natural England, CLA , NFU, & the Environment Agency.

Getting advice and assistance from those that know the details of the rules will help ensure your business stays compliant. You may be cautious about asking for help from a regulatory body such as the Environment Agency, but they are always willing to advise and help you.

Warwickshire Rural Hub can help signpost which organisation can help you.

Don't hold back from asking for help. It's free and could save your single farm payment.

Useful Contacts for Advice, Help & Support:

Farming Advice Service 0845 345 1302 advice@farmingadviceservice.org.uk

Natural England 0300 060 1115
enquiries@naturalengland.org.uk

Environment Agency 03708 506506
enquiries@environment-agency.gov.uk

NFU Luke Ryder 07766745495
luke.ryder@nfu.org.uk

CLA (Midlands)
01785 337010

Farm Crisis Network 0845 3679990

HACCP guidance updated

The Food Standards Agency (FSA) has produced updated guidance on the Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points system (HACCP) as it applies to livestock farmers buying in and using feed additives and premixtures to feed animals on their own holding. To view the guidance, please go to the FSA website.

Website: www.food.gov.uk/business-industry/guidancenotes/hygguid/guidfarm?utm_medium=email&utm_source=Ricardo-AEA+Ltd&utm_campaign=3709773_FAS%2fNAO-RB%2fED57348005%2fFeb2013&dm_i=DA4,27IH9,DZ99BS,7ZV1F,1#.Uw8I443ivcd

Tried & Tested have launched two new documents to aid nutrient management.

• Think Manures - A companion to the Tried & Tested nutrient management plan giving practical advice to
encourage improvements in manure storage, handling and spreading practices. Think Manures has been
produced with help from the Environment Agency and AHDB.

• New to Nutrient Management Guide - A short leaflet making nutrient management simple by taking you through
the steps one by one.

Download from www.nutrientmanagement.org or request a hard copy. To request these free documents, or any of the free Tried & Tested nutrient management resources, including A3 record sheets and USB memory sticks, call 02476 858 896, email nutrientmanagement@nfu.org.uk or visit www.nutrientmanagement.org

 

 
 
 
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