Farmers are being put off much-needed rural developments and diversification projects by red tape, a chartered surveyor has said.
Paul Madeley, of Madeley’s Chartered Surveyors in Shropshire, said planning permission has become “so complicated by red tape” and must be made easier, as it is damaging the rural economy.
“When I first started you could have planning permission for a development in two months, and now you’re lucky if it’s four,” he explained.
“The issue with this is that it is stifling potential of land in rural areas. People are now being put off these developments such as diversification or things like barn conversions, which these farms and rural businesses need to survive.”
Farm diversification is recognised as being increasingly important for generating extra income, as the industry faces numerous challenges and political uncertainty.
As the General Election looms on Thursday (12 December), Mr Madeley is urging the next government to better support the rural economy so it does not fall short of key targets, including climate change.
“The rural economy is an integral part of what any government might want to achieve in the future, and I think politicians need to understand that across the board,” he added.
Meanwhile, the Tenant Farmers Association has noted with concern that the General Election campaign has been dominated by Brexit and the NHS, with “very little of the debate focused on the future of our agricultural industry and the 70 per cent of the landscape it covers”.
The NFU has also called on the next government to develop a climate policy that supports British farmers in reaching net zero emissions by 2040. It stressed the importance of the government’s role in providing incentives for farm businesses to reduce their impact on their environment.
President Minette Batters said: “Any measures farmers take towards net zero will require investment and significant changes, and we need the future government to create policy which ensures these steps are not only right for the environment, but right for our businesses too.
“With the appropriate research and a range of incentives to help farmers improve productive efficiency, increase carbon capture and boost renewable energy, we can build on our work producing high quality, sustainable food for the nation.”