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Warwickshire Rural Hub

Recent Developments

Agricultural supply chains during the coronavirus outbreak

With the leisure sector effectively closed during the coronavirus outbreak the bottom has effectively fallen out of the processor’s market, says our Business Supporter, Wright Hassall solicitors.  Visit this page for their advice on how to react if your supply chain becomes disrupted.

Updated information from the Rural Payments Agency during the coronavirus outbreak

The Rural Payments Agency (RPA) has set out some information for farmers, landowners and rural businesses on changes in operations during the coronavirus outbreak.  Read all the updates on this page.  

Download a template letter to confirm that travel is essential

Police forces across the UK have been stopping drivers to check they are making essential-only journeys and that has been causing red-tape headaches for companies.  Rural Hub Business Supporter, Wright Hassall solicitors, is recommending firms take steps to prevent vital supplies being stopped and employees being allowed to continue their work, and is advising all delivery firms to issue drivers and other transport staff with letters from their employer which confirms their work is essential.

A template for the letter can be downloaded here.

Government launches coronavirus WhatsApp messaging service

The Government has launched a new #Coronavirus Information service on WhatsApp. Get official advice and information about coronavirus directly from the government. Get started by WhatsApping ‘hi’ to 07860 064422.

Results of the Big Farmland Bird Count 2020

More than 1500 farmers across Britain took part in the Game and Wildlife Conservation Trust 2020 Big Farmland Bird Count (BFBC) the higher number since it launched in 2014.

Over 120 species were recorded across 1.4 million acres. Due to storms Ciara and Dennis hitting both weekends of the count, organisers extended the count window by a week in response to calls from hundreds of farmers who wanted to take part but couldn’t do so. Many more farmers were battling with flooding during the period of the count.

An impressive 25 red-listed species were recorded, with nine featuring in the 25 most-commonly seen species. Of these, fieldfares, starlings, linnets and lapwings were the four most abundant red listed species recorded with over 67,000 in total, which equates to 24% of all species spotted. The five most abundant birds seen were woodpigeons, starlings, lapwings, black-headed gulls and rooks.

Buy milk and dairy direct from the farm (or join the list if you are a producer)

Buying milk straight from the farm is one way to source milk during the cornonavirus pandemic and it also helps make sure dairy producers get a fair deal.

Farmers Weekly has created a map of British farmers selling direct to the public – cutting out the supermarket or middleman. Many of these suppliers sell via online shops or can arrange contact-free delivery.

Some produce pasteurised milk, others sell raw or unpasteurised and a few have a wider dairy range to try.   Click on the map below to find on-farm dairies near you where you can buy direct, if you’re a consumer, or, if you’re a dairy farmer selling direct, you can send Farmers Weekly your details and they’ll add you to the map.


Be warned about scam coronavirus text message

Please be warned not to fall for a bogus text message saying you have been fined £250 for leaving your house during the coronavirus lockdown.  This text is the latest in a series of scams related to the virus claims to be from the Government, telling the recipient their movements have been monitored through their phone and they must pay a fine or face a more severe penalty.

Police can order members of the public to go home or leave an area, have the power to disperse a group, using “reasonable force”, and can make arrests if someone refuses to comply.  Those who ignore the tougher restrictions could be hit with a £60 fine initially – reduced to £30 if paid within 14 days – and another for £120 for a second offence.

Farming Help providing support for farmers affected by COVID-19

The Farming Help Charities – Addington Fund, Farming Community Network (FCN), Forage Aid, Royal Agricultural Benevolent Institution (R.A.B.I), and RSABI, supported by The Prince’s Countryside Fund – are working together to support the Farming Community during the current Coronavirus (Covid-19) outbreak.

We recognise that this could be an anxious time for many farmers and farming families and periods of poor health or self-isolation may result in temporary practical difficulties on farm.

This initiative is in conjunction with The National Federation of Young Farmers’ Clubs, The National Farmers’ Union, and the NFU Mutual Charitable Trust.

Utilising our Farming Help helpline (operated by FCN) and respective organisations/volunteer networks, we can offer the following local support. Get in touch on 03000 111 999 if you:

  • Feel concerned or anxious and would like to talk to someone who understands farming, will listen to you and help you think through your options
  • Would like help to draft a contingency plan to ensure you and your farm are prepared, should you be unable to work for a time.
  • If you or people you rely on become ill or are self-isolating and you need to find help locally- we will endeavour to find support for you in your local area. We will source contact details of local organisations and groups who may be able to assist you in finding help to feed livestock, collect shopping or collect prescriptions if you are unable to do so. This directory will be revised and updated in the coming weeks and months.

Call 03000 111 999 or visit

COVID-19: Support for the self-employed

The Self-employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) will support self-employed individuals (including members of partnerships) whose income has been negatively impacted by COVID-19. The scheme will provide a grant to self-employed individuals or partnerships, worth 80% of their profits up to a cap of £2,500 per month.

HMRC will use the average profits from tax returns in 2016-17, 2017-18 and 2018-19 to calculate the size of the grant. The scheme will be open to those where the majority of their income comes from self-employment and who have profits of less than £50,000. The scheme will be open for an initial three months with people able to make their first claim by the beginning of June.

Am I eligible?

To be eligible for the scheme you must meet all the criteria below:

  • Be self-employed or a member of partnership;
  • Have lost trading/partnership trading profits due to COVID-19;
  • File a tax return for 2018-19 as self-employed or a member of a trading partnership. Those who have not yet filed for 2018-19 will have an additional 4 weeks from this announcement to do so;
  • Have traded in 2019-20; be currently trading at the point of application (or would be except for COVID 19) and intend to continue to trade in the tax year 2020 to 2021
  • Have trading profits of less than £50,000 and more than half of your total income come from self-employment. This can be with reference to at least one of the following conditions:
    • Your trading profits and total income in 2018/19
    • Your average trading profits and total income across up to the three years between 2016-17, 2017-18, and 2018-19.

How do I access it?

Individuals should not contact HMRC now. HMRC will use existing information to check potential eligibility and invite applications once the scheme is operational. HMRC will then pay the grant directly to eligible claimants’ bank account. HMRC is urgently working to deliver the scheme; grants are expected to start to be paid out by beginning of June 2020. For eligible individuals who have not submitted their returns for 2018-19, they will have 4 weeks’ notice from the date of the announcement to file their returns and therefore become eligible for this scheme.

HMRC are publishing guidance on the scheme, available here. This guidance will continue to be updated.

When can I access it?

HMRC is urgently working to deliver the scheme; grants are expected to start to be paid by the beginning of June 2020. This time is necessary to ensure that the scheme is both deliverable and fair. In the interim the self-employed will still able eligible for other government support including more generous universal credit and business continuity loans.

Further information on how to access these schemes can be found here.

Support your local food outlets with Big Barn

Discover which local food outlets are near to you by typing your postcode into Big Barn.   The website has nearly 9,000 local food outlets listed plus 500 artisan and specialist outlets which sell online.

And if you are a local producer who is not yet listed you can log into the site to upload your own details.

COVID-19: Support for businesses

The Chancellor has set out a package of temporary, timely and targeted measures to support public services, people and businesses through this period of disruption caused by COVID-19.

This includes a package of measures to support businesses including:

  • a Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme
  • deferring VAT and Income Tax payments
  • a Statutory Sick Pay relief package for SMEs
  • a 12-month business rates holiday for all retail, hospitality, leisure and nursery businesses in England
  • small business grant funding of £10,000 for all business in receipt of small business rate relief or rural rate relief
  • grant funding of £25,000 for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses with property with a rateable value between £15,000 and £51,000
  • the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme offering loans of up to £5 million for SMEs through the British Business Bank
  • a new lending facility from the Bank of England to help support liquidity among larger firms, helping them bridge coronavirus disruption to their cash flows through loans
  • the HMRC Time To Pay Scheme

Full details of the support available and how to access the schemes are available on this page.

Develop new skills at home with a virtual foraging course

Discover wild edible plants and mushrooms from the comfort of your own home. By popular demand, The Foraging Course Company is delighted to offer virtual foraging courses presented by a live host.   On this course you will gain an overview of foraging laws and safety best practice, learn how to tell edible species apart from poisonous lookalikes, get tips on harvesting and discover recipe ideas.  As your course is presented by a live host, you will be given the opportunity to ask your instructor questions at points throughout the course. In addition, there will be a question and answer session at the end of the course.  The cost is £15 per 90 minute course.  Visit this link for further information.   The courses run until 5 April.

List of key workers announced

Government advice is that all children should stay at home, if at all possible, from Monday.  But schools have been asked to provide care for some children – those who are vulnerable, and those whose parents are key workers “critical to the Covid-19 response”, who cannot be safely cared for at home.  The list of key workers has been announced as follows:

  • Health and social care: Doctors, nurses, midwives, paramedics, social workers, care workers, frontline health staff (including volunteers), and those producing and distributing medicines, supplies and protective equipment
  • Education and childcare: Teaching staff, nursery workers, social workers and those in special education
  • Key public services: Those in the justice system, religious staff, charities, workers delivering frontline services, those responsible for the deceased, journalists in public service broadcasting
  • Local and national government: Those essential to the effective delivery of the response to the pandemic, and benefits services
  • Public safety and national security: Police and support staff, MoD civilians, contractors and armed forces personnel critical to the virus response
  • Transport: Those in air, water, road, rail passenger and freight services and anyone in transport systems through which supply chains pass
  • Food and other necessary goods: Those in production, distribution, sale and delivery of food and other necessary goods
  • Utilities, communications and financial: Staff in banks, building societies and financial markets, as well as those in gas, oil and electricity sectors, those in network operations and call centres, 999 and 111 staff, postal services, delivery and waste disposal sector

Call for businesses to manufacture ventilators

As you may have seen at the weekend, the Government has put out an open request for companies to assist with rapid manufacturing of Ventilators for the NHS as the Covid-19 numbers escalate.  Whilst the Government is talking to the likes of JCB and JLR and others, there is a movement in the West Midlands to pull together a list of interested companies across the region. It is not clear yet what capabilities will be required, but if you are interested in collaborating on this very important project, can you please send the following details to Martin Nwangwa so he can share with the Government Department co-ordinating this effort.

Job Title
Details of capability/accreditation

Of particular interest are any companies with medical accreditation(s), nuclear, oil & gas etc. Please feel free to contact Martin if you need any further clarification.

CW Growth Hub – Run By Business For Business 

Tel:     0300 060 3747
DDI:   02477 719 804


Ministers sign £1billion deal to improve rural ‘phone coverage

Ministers have signed a £1 billion deal to improve the UK’s patchy rural phone coverage.  The deal will deliver 4G coverage irrespective of what network provider people use.  The Shared Rural Network (SRN) is a deal with EE, O2, Three and Vodafone investing in a network of new and existing phone masts, overseen by a jointly owned company called Digital Mobile Spectrum Limited.  It is hoped the deal will provide guaranteed coverage to 280,000 premises and 16,000km of roads.  The deal should lead to increases in coverage in some areas by more than a third, with the biggest coverage improvements in rural parts of Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales.

Read 2018 harvest benchmarking information from Ellacotts

Ellacotts Accountants, business supporters of the Hub, recently held an event for our arable clients to discuss the 2018 harvest.  The findings and comments are summarised on this page. Ellacotts advise arable farmers on their rural businesses. Many of their Partners and staff are from farming backgrounds so they understand the challenges and opportunities that face the farming industry and can give tailored advice. Find out about how they can help your farming business here.

Free online training for using a drone on farm

DroneAg – set up by farmers who know drones – now has a free online training course available for unlocking the power of a DJI drone on farm.  The course comprises 4 modules (Drone Basis, Mapping, Analysis and Measurement Tools) and 12 videos and 6 BASIS CPD points and 2 NRoSO points are available following completion of the training.

To access the training please visit this page.

Defra sets out next phase of strategy for bTB eradication

Defra has said it will phase out intensive badger culling in favour of vaccination as part of its drive to eradicate bovine TB. Research by the Animal and Plant Health Agency (Apha) has paved the way for field trials of cattle vaccine, which the government wants to see available on farms within five years. Christine Middlemiss, UK chief veterinary officer, said: “While there is no single way to combat this damaging and complex disease, cattle vaccination will be a new tool for our multi-pronged approach to tackle it and, importantly, prevent it, providing vital support to our farming communities.”

You can read full information on this page.

Food standards petition for standards of imports

Farming throughout the UK has high standards of safety and welfare and is produced with an ambition to be net zero in greenhouse gas emissions by 2040.  NFUonline has set up a petition to call on the Government to put into law rules that prevent food being imported to the UK which is produced in ways that would be illegal here.  If you would like to sign the petition please visit this page.


New FCN booklet “Fit for Farming” for women’s health

Farming Community Network has launched a brand new booklet to help women farmers look after their wellbeing.  The booklet, titled “Fit For Farming – Women’s Health Made Easy”, is a female-friendly version of the original “Fit For Farming” booklet, which is specifically aimed at men and has proven to be a valuable resource to male farmers across the country.  Much like the men’s version of the booklet, this new booklet is full of useful advice and guidance about how women can look after their mental and physical health. It also includes a foreword from the newly re-elected NFU President, Minette Batters. Copies of the new booklet are available to order via the Farming Community Network’s head office.   For further information please visit this page.

Copies of the booklet will also be available at the Rural Hub “Fit for Farming” events being held at Rugby Livestock Mart, Stratford Livestock Market and other locations during 2020.  Visit this page for further information.

Working towards net zero emissions for beef farmers

Farming for a Better Climate has produced some practical guides on how farmers can reduce carbon emissions from beef production.  Visit this page to read the guides.

Access to Government Gateway being updated

Changes are coming in from 1 April 2020 in order to keep user data secure and to update Government technology, with the upgrade of Government Gateway. Some older computer operating systems and internet browsers will no longer work with the new Government security measures being introduced in the upgrade.  What this means is from 1 April 2020, you will no longer be able to access your Government Gateway account on Windows XP and Windows Vista or Internet Explorer 6 and 7. Other older operating systems and browsers may also be affected. More information on NFU Online.

The Rural Payments Agency website is unaffected by this change as this website is not accessed through Government Gateway.

Watch the NFU Conference on catch-up

If you weren’t able to attend the recent 2020 NFU Conference you can catch up with the presentations by watching videos of the speakers on the following links:

Videos from Day One – Tuesday 25 February

Where next for British business?  NFU Education and safeguarding standards.

Videos from Day Two – Wednesday 26 February 

Political session inc the Rt Hon George Eustace and speakers on climate change,

Update on the future of farming policy

There is now more information available about agricultural policy in England over the next ten years. This comes as the Agriculture Bill goes through the Committee Stage in the House of Commons.  The update includes:

  • Productivity: From 2021, new government grants will help farmers to invest in equipment and technology which will help them to increase their productivity and deliver environmental benefits.
  • Research & Development: From 2022, Defra will support research and development projects to help the farming industry benefit from innovation, enabling farmers to produce food more efficiently and sustainably with lower emissions.
  • Animal Health and Welfare: A new deal will be struck between government and farmers to promote the production of healthier, higher welfare animals, with publicly-funded schemes available for farmers to deliver animal health and welfares enhancements which go beyond regulatory requirements.

Read the update here.

Have your say on the future of green farming

Defra has released further details about the Environmental Land Management Scheme (ELM) that will transform how they support the agricultural sector by rewarding farmers with public money for public goods.   Responding to feedback from engagement so far, a three-tier design is proposed that takes into account the diverse farming and environmental landscape in England and the range of desired outcomes.  You can read about ELM and take part in the discussion online now.  The discussion is open for 10 weeks.  Regional events to talk through the proposals are being organised and details will be released shortly.


TB hub website is re-designed

Defra has funded a full redesign of the TB hub website to make it easier for farmers to find the information they need.  For those that need information in a hurry, there are videos, podcasts, factsheets and FAQs covering a variety of topics, as well as in-depth articles for those that want more detail.  There are two key groups who the redesigned TB hub particularly aims to help:

  • Those who are dealing with a TB breakdown
  • Those who want to protect their herd from TB

Warwickshire is currently in an Edge Area for TB risk.

Sales of bagged coal and wet wood banned from February 2021

Defra has announced that sales of bagged traditional house coal and wet wood in units under 2m3 will be phased out by February 2021.   The sale of loose coal direct to customers via approved coal merchants will be phased out by February 2023.  There will also be limitations on the sale of manufactured solid fuels for domestic combustion from February 2021, with only those fuels with a low sulphur content and which emit a small amount of smoke being permitted for sale.  This phased implementation will ensure that public and suppliers have time to move to cleaner alternatives such as dry wood and manufactured solid fuels, while continuing to be able to use their stoves and open fires at home.  The ban is the latest step in delivering the government’s Clean Air Strategy.

Government set to expand Seasonal Workers Pilot

Environment Secretary George Eustice confirmed on 19 February the expansion of the Seasonal Workers Pilot to allow farmers to hire up to 10,000 workers in 2020 – an increase from the previous 2,500 workers. This will support the UK’s vital horticulture sector and give fruit and vegetable growers access to a much bigger pool of workers this year to help pick and gather even more Great British produce. The announcement delivers on the commitment set out in the Government manifesto.

37 ways to improve your internet speed

Visit this website for 37 suggestions of how you might be able to improve your internet speed.  There is also information on how to check your current download and upload speeds.

Young farmers’ music festival takes place in Warwickshire

The Young Farmers’ Music Festival is taking place at Offchurch Bury near Leamington Spa between 19 -21 June 2020.  Over 20 music arts are already confirmed for the event and a number of performance slots have been set aside for new a local acts.  Traders are also invited to apply for a stand and diversified farmers will be given priority.

The festival main arena will open on Friday afternoon at 3pm with three full days of music with 3 stages and over 60 acts getting the party started until the early hours. Saturday and Sunday will bring full days of activities with the option to leave Sunday evening or get some rest and head back home on Monday when the campsite closes at 12pm.  Several stages will provide you with different musical entertainment throughout the festival weekend. The Main Stage, Island Paradise stage, Urban Escape stage, The Retreat, Half Acre sports field and more are all there for you to explore throughout your time with us.  For full details of the event and to purchase day or full event tickets please visit this website.

AHDB infographics for dairy and beef industry

Agricultural and Horticulture Development Board has compiled evidence-based resources and social media infographics to support the meat and dairy industry in having positive conversations with a consistent narrative.  You can download the graphics here.

NFU organise letter to Prime Minister signed by 60 organisations

The NFU has taken the initiative and mobilised a huge coalition of farming, environmental, animal welfare and public health organisations to write a letter to Prime Minister Boris Johnson on trade and standards, sent to coincide with the passing of the Withdrawal Agreement Bill which has now had Royal Assent.  You can read the letter in full with the 60 plus signatures here.

Committee on climate change – advice on agriculture and land use

The Committee on Climate Change has released its Land Use: Policies for a Net Zero UK.   The report outlines what is needed for the UK to stay on track to meet its net zero requirements.  The report acknowledge that British farming produces some of the most sustainable food in the world, highlighting that emissions from UK beef is half that of the global average. The report also emphasises that we cannot risk importing food with a higher carbon footprint than food which has been produced in the UK.  You can read the full report here.

Get help with valuing your natural capital

A new online resource has been launched by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) to help ensure better environmental decision-making by valuing our ‘natural capital’.  For the first time, a comprehensive and integrated set of evidence and guidance about UK natural capital is now accessible from one place. It is intended to help policy makers, businesses, landowners and public sector organisations make better planning decisions in order to protect and to boost natural capital.  You can access the resource here.

Track the progress of the new Agriculture Bill

The Agriculture Bill’s introduction has given Defra the opportunity to make improvements to the original Agriculture Bill introduced in 2018, taking into account feedback from those working in the agricultural sector.  Defra has produced a short summary of the Bill and what’s new. You can also view a short video on the Bill, and see what the Secretary of State has to say about its introduction via this link.  You can also keep track of the Bill’s progress through Parliament via this link. 

There will be a seven-year transition period – from 2021 to the end of 2027 – so that farmers can plan and adjust to a new domestic farming system.  For more information, you can read the Defra ‘Farming is Changing’ leaflet.

Defra Secretary of State speaks at Oxford Farming Conference

Radical changes to agricultural policy will protect the environment for future generations while boosting productivity for farmers, Environment Secretary Theresa Villiers said today (8 January).  Speaking at the Oxford Farming Conference, the Environment Secretary confirmed that the Government’s landmark Agriculture Bill will be introduced this month to Parliament.  This will move the UK away from the EU’s bureaucratic Common Agricultural Policy and towards a new approach where farmers and land managers are rewarded with public money for ‘public goods’ – such as enhancing biodiversity, tackling climate change and raising standards of animal welfare.  At the same time, outside the EU farmers and land managers will have greater opportunities to boost their productivity, leading to more successful and resilient farm businesses.  In England, there will be a seven-year transition period for farmers to plan and adjust for these changes, during which Direct Payments will be gradually phased out.  Throughout 2020, the Government will be seeking views from farmers and land managers in England on how the future Environmental Land Management (ELM) scheme can best work for them.

The full speech by Theresa Villiers MP can be viewed here.

Read the RPA winter update

The winter update from the Rural Payments Agency is available here.  In this edition you can read all about information on payments, flooding, woodland support grants and how to update your information and avoid fraud.

Deadline for new abstraction licences extended

The Environment Agency has announced that the New Authorisations transition window for new abstraction licence applications has been extended for six months to the end of June 2020. The original deadline for submitting validated applications to the Environment Agency was 31 December 2019. Further information is available here.

£3 billion of support for farmers announced

The Chancellor has confirmed nearly £3 billion of funding for 2020 to support farmers once the UK leaves the EU. The cash injection will maintain the level of funding for Direct Payments at the same rate as last year.  Sajid Javid confirmed the cash will be used to support farmers once the UK leaves the EU. The UK will leave the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) Direct Payments scheme, which supports farmers across Europe with subsidies in 2020. This will be replaced by a new system based on public money for public goods.  The cash injection will allow the funding for Direct Payments for 2020 to continue at the same level as 2019 and supplement the remaining EU funding that farmers will receive for development projects until 2023 at the latest. The government will guarantee the current annual budget to farmers in every year of the Parliament.

EA consultation on challenges of water environments

The Environment Agency has launched a consultation seeking views on the challenges and choices water environments face. Responses to this consultation will be used to update the existing river basin management plans in 2021. The Challenges and Choices consultation seeks your views on the challenges that threaten the water environment, how we can work together to manage our waters and who should pay.   More information is available on their website. The consultation closing date is 24 April 2020.

Nature Friendly Farming Network publish a guide to net zero carbon in farming

Net zero carbon refers to achieving an overall balance between emissions produced and emissions taken out of the atmosphere. Achieving net zero is required to meet the Paris Agreement, which aims to keep global temperatures below a 1.5°C rise above pre-industrial levels.  To achieve the scale of change needed, action must be taken now to reduce emissions and lay the foundations for the longer-term transformation required.  In order to help farmers achieve net zero targets Nature Friendly Farming Network has created a practical guide for farmers.

Coventry Corsairs Rugby Club

Coventry Corsairs is Coventry’s first fully inclusive Rugby Club. They train at Coventrians in Holbrooks on Tuesdays and Thursday evenings 7pm – 8.30pm.   All ages and abilities and anyone with a love of rugby are welcome.  For contact details please visit this page.


Mind your Head on #MentalHealthAwarenessDay

It’s #WorldMentalHealthDay2019 on 10 October when we are encouraging you to remember its OK not be OK.  Take a look at the Yellow Wellies Mind Your Head page to see where you can access support when the going gets tough.   Remember its OK to reach out – the Farming Community Network support line is open every day of the year, 7.00am – 11.00pm.

Tel: 03000 111999 or email



Eight farmers are referred to their GP at Rural Hub/FCN wellbeing event

Farmers visiting Rugby Livestock Mart café on Monday 16 September found more on offer than the usual bacon butty and cup of tea as the building was the focus of a wellbeing event organised by Warwickshire Rural Hub and Farming Community Network.  Farmers present in the café were invited to share any health or welfare concerns with representatives from MacMillan Cancer Support, Addington Fund, Royal Agricultural Benevolent Institution and Farming Community Network. In addition, two nurses from Parish Nursing were available for blood pressure testing and health advice and a massage therapist was on hand to offer a quick, free massage to help relieve tension. Copies of the FCN booklet “Fit for Farming” were distributed free of charge.

By the end of the event forty-five farmers had had their blood pressure checked, eight farmers were referred to their GP by the nurses and nine people volunteered for a massage. Bowel and prostate cancer were the two issues raised most frequently with the representative from MacMillan Cancer Support.

Due to its success it is hoped to repeat the wellbeing event in the new year.

Metaldehyde slug pellets to be banned from spring 2020

Defra Secretary the Rt Hon Michael Gove MP has confirmed that slug pellets containing Metaldehyde will be banned from spring 2020. It will be legal to sell Metaldehyde products for outdoor use for the next six months, with use of the products then allowed for a further 12 months. (Posted 19.12.18)

New opportunity for farmers – Arden Farm Wildlife Network

Are you a farmer in the Arden area of Warwickshire interested in:
• Getting support to help you with managing the options in your environmental schemes.
• Keeping up to date with the changes in environmental support and different channels of funding available.
• Improving your farm for wildlife with low cost methods – that can benefit your business too.
• Finding more about what wildlife you have got on your farm?

The Arden Farm Wildlife Network could help you!

If you would like further details then please give Zoe Bell a call or drop her an email.

Contact: Zoe Bell
Telephone: 07980 771872
Email Address:
Website: Open Website

New scheme to encourage investment in superfast broadband

A new scheme for small to medium sized businesses is being piloted in the Warwickshire area to encourage commercial investment in superfast fibre broadband.
The Government’s Local Full Fibre Networks Programme aims to support projects across the UK that will stimulate more commercial investment in full fibre, the “gold standard” of fast and reliable broadband. Coventry and Warwickshire is one of the test regions for the scheme. The programme will see local companies will be offered vouchers (worth between £500 and £3000 each) by broadband suppliers to pay for gigabit capable connections.
More information is available on the website below.

Website: Open Website

NFU Mutual launch new insurance for Smallholders

Smallholdings are an essential piece of the patchwork that makes up our great countryside and are vital to the wellbeing of the farming scene. As the leading rural insurer, NFU Mutual has launched a new insurance that insures smallholders managing small flocks or herds, right through to individuals and families who are keen to get involved in small scale farming. Visit the website to contact your local agent.

Website: Open Website

New Defra code of practice for species control

The “Species Control Provisions: Code of Practice for England” sets out how the provisions for species control agreements and orders contained in the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 should be applied by environmental authorities. These powers ensure that, in appropriate circumstances, landowners take action on invasive non-native species or permit others to enter the land and carry out those operations, to prevent their establishment and spread.
For further information please use the link below.

Website: Open Website

Get pelletwise

The Metaldehyde Stewardship Group has produce “A guide to Integrated Pest Management (IPM) and slug control”.
To view the guide use the link below.

Website: Open Website

Renewable Transport Fuels Obligation

The Department for Transport has proposed the crop cap be set at 4% in 2018, decreasing incrementally until it reaches 2% by 2032. The NFU is calling for the cap, which governs the volume of crop-based biofuels allowed to be used on UK roads, to be set at the maximum possible level of 7%. Many other EU member states have opted for 7% – as per set out in the EU directive, leaving UK arable farmers at a competitive disadvantage.

Parish council help required for broadband rollout

CSW Broadband are looking to work even more closely with parish councils. 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?
Please drop an email to, and the team will develop a plan that incorporates as many of your suggestions as possible.

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.

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: Open Website

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

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: Open Website

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.
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.

Contact: None
Telephone: None
Email Address: None
Website: Open Website

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.  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

Telephone: 01904 405138

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.

Website: Open Website

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Contact Us

The Warwickshire Rural Hub CIC
c/o Pleasance Farm, Kenilworth
Warwickshire, CV8 1PR

Tel: 07780 159291

Company Registration No: 7026157
Registered office: 23 West Bar Street, Banbury, OX16 9SA



Hub Chair

Henry Lucas






Jane Hampson

Tel: 07780 159291






Warwickshire Rural Hub CIC Directors

Henry Lucas (Chair)
Graham Collier (Deputy Chair)
Karen Ellis
Carrie Robbins
Alexandra Robinson
James Walton





Hub Steering Group Members

George Bostock, NFU
Mark Dickin, Ellacotts Accountants
Tom Newbery, Highfield Farm
Alexandra Robinson, Wright Hassall LLP
Matt Willmott, King's Seeds
Jon Slee, Abbey Farm
Andrew Cook, Farmer
Emlyn Evans, Squab Hall


The Warwickshire Rural Hub accepts no liability for any direct, indirect or consequential loss arising from any action taken in reliance on the information contained on this website.

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