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In 2014 the Tour de France comes to the UK in the form of ‘The Grand Départ’ which will see three stages held in England. Stage 1 will start on the 5th July and will take the riders north from Leeds through Otley, Ilkley and Skipton before heading into the Yorkshire Dales and ending on the Stray in Harrogate. Stage 2 on the following day starts in the historic city of York from which the route will pass through the Peak District National Park before the finish in the industrial city of Sheffield. Finally the third stage will start in Cambridge and head to London via Epping Forest and complete a circuit of the Olympic Park before finishing on the Mall outside Buckingham Palace.
The financial benefit to the regions encompassing the three stages is expected to be significant. As such, GSC Grays has received a number of queries from clients about the potential use of land for temporary campsites, parking and other related events. However, landowners need to be aware that Single Payment Scheme (SPS) claims and existing Environmental Stewardship (ES) agreements could be impacted upon as a direct result of using land for these alternative uses.
The ability to adhere to cross compliance requirements and the effect upon the SPS eligibility of the land both need to be considered by any SPS claimant thinking of diversifying their land in the form of temporary campsites, parking, etc. The 28 day non-agricultural use rule will be applicable in relation to SPS eligibility with these activities being permitted for up to a 28 day limit during the calendar year without rendering the land ineligible for SPS; however the 28 day limit must also include any work required before and after to enable such activities to take place. Cross compliance issues and breaches may arise as a result of such uses and therefore careful planning must be undertaken to safeguard against future complications.
It is the responsibility of the ES holder to ensure that they are able to deliver on all agreed options within their ES agreement whilst using their land for temporary uses. This includes protecting the original features on their Farm Environmental Record so they are not damaged or destroyed whilst such activities are taking place.
At GSC Grays we can liaise with the Natural England (NE) advisors in advance of clients allowing parking, camping etc., to take place on their land so that any such proposals may be discussed and the potential impact on agreement land assessed. This will allow NE time to deliberate as to how best to move forward once all the information is pulled together and to decide if a derogation is needed at all. If the impact is considered detrimental to the delivery of the ES options, suggestions can be made to the feasibility of locating elsewhere on the holding. Even in circumstances when proposed alterations to the current land use are minimal or seemingly irrelevant to any ES option, Natural England have suggested that advance contact is made so as to avoid any unnecessary breaches.
In addition, if landowners are contemplating letting their land to a club or individual to run a campsite, carpark etc then it may be worth entering an occupancy licence to protect their position in terms of insurance, damages, clear up & waste disposal etc.
For further information on how best to harness the Tour’s financial potential from a landowners perspective, or to discuss occupancy licences, please contact GSC Grays via Lucinda Riddell at our Richmond Office on 01748 829210 or Phil Scott-Priestley at our Leyburn Office on 01969 600120.