07 June 2019

Ben Underwood looks ahead to 2019

Our latest round of CLA county committee meetings are fast approaching and the topic of agricultural tenancy reform is one subject that is set to come under scrutiny.

Defra is currently consulting on options for reform of agricultural tenancy law in England with the Government’s stated purpose to remove barriers to productivity improvements and facilitate structural change in the tenant farming sector. The controversial elements are the assignment provision and the proposed change to the succession provisions in the Agricultural Holdings Act (AHA).  There are some positive measures we can support such as the attempt to make the parties sort out succession sooner than they have been, and shorter termination processes for Farm Business Tenancies (FBTs) of over 10 years. 

Each CLA committee is being presented with a paper highlighting the proposals and relevant consultation questions. As you would expect, the CLA will be formulating a response to this consultation that reflects the best interests of its membership, so if you have a view please share this with me by emailing You can view all the Defra consultation documents by clicking here.

The debacle around the withdrawal of the general licences for the control of bird species continues. The CLA’s response to a brief call for evidence from Defra on the topic in May highlighted the impact the sudden removal of general licences had had in general and in particular on arable and livestock farming and conservation. It made clear our concerns over the speed that the licences were withdrawn, the lack of consultation and the lack of clarity around the new approach. The CLA is continuing to push for a simple and pragmatic approach to the new general licences so that people can understand and rely on them. We are due to hear more imminently and will keep members updated.

Show season is in full swing and we will be at Cereals, Lincolnshire Show and Royal Norfolk Show in the next few weeks. Please do come and see us on the CLA stand.