Diversification rules set to ease thanks to Jeremy Clarkson

In the Houses of Parliament this week, UK environment secretary Steve Barclay discussed easing rules for farmers who would like to diversify their businesses. The topic had been previously raised by celebrity and farmer Jeremy Clarkson. 

Speaking in the House of Commons, Steve Barclay said that he is in “very advanced discussions” with communities secretary Michael Gove on extending permitted development rights. 

This would improve farmers’ experience when it comes to making certain changes on their farms. Currently, setting up a farm shop or erecting an additional building needs planning permission from local authorities. 

Mr Clarkson has often highlighted this issue when speaking about the importance of supporting local producers by shopping at farm shops. 

READ MORE: What does the ‘Clarkson clause’ mean for farmers?

READ MORE: Jeremy Clarkson’s Diddly Squat farm shop reopens after winter break

Planning battles 

Thanks to the owner of Diddly Squat Farm, other UK farmers may soon be able to establish more shops without the hassle of obtaining planning permission from their local councils. 

Mr Clarkson is no stranger to the West Oxfordshire District Council, as he has sought a number of planning permits. They include proposals for a farm shop, restaurant and car park extension. 

Most recently, Mr Clarkson applied for permission to build a grain barn on his farm located in the Cotswolds. 

Making it easier for farmers to diversify 

Mr Barclay said: “My focus and the farming minster’s focus is on food production and food security, and ensuring that is viable for our farmers. 

Steve Barclay MP.

“But diversification is also an important part, so I’m in very advanced discussions with [Mr Gove] on extending permitted development rights… that a certain very famous farmer has raised in terms of his frustrations in Oxfordshire. 

“So I want to streamline permitted developments and make it easier for farmers to diversify, but, first and foremost, farmers want to produce food and that is my key focus.” 

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