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January 2016 – Uk land and farms

UK weather: Snow warnings Jan 2016

UK weather: Snow warnings Jan 2016

Temperatures are expected to plummet as low as -15C in parts of the UK over the coming days as several inches of snowfall threatens to block roads and railways.

Even London could see light snow as the cold snap takes hold, bringing ice, frost and Arctic winds to the country.

Amber and yellow warnings are in place on Wednesday and Thursday in parts of northern England and Scotland, with the heaviest snow arriving in Shetland and border regions tonight.

The Met Office is urging people to prepare for “very difficult travelling conditions” and possible disruption to transport and power supplies, while cold alerts have been issued by Public Health England and charities for asthma sufferers and the elderly.

Emma Sharples, a meteorologist at the Met Office, told The Independent some parts of northern England and Scotland could see temperatures plummet to 15C at the weekend.

“Most places are already feeling colder and it was a chilly night last night,” she said.

“A band of light rain is spreading east and those showers will turn to snow across the north.

“Lower ground could see 3-6cm, while higher ground could have up to 10cm, which will make for some tricky conditions up there.

“Elsewhere, showery rain will be moving eastwards across England and Wales, with quite heavy bursts of rain for a time.”

As the cold air sinks southwards on Thursday, the rain could turn into wintery showers and the “odd flake of snow” that will be unlikely to settle across central England.

“In other places it will be dry and mostly cold, with a sharp overnight frost,” Ms Sharples said.

“It’s possible that there will be a few flakes coming down in London but it’s more likely to be further north.

“Through the weekend it will get even colder. Saturday night into Sunday looks to be the coldest.

“It will depend on how much snow is lying but I suspect temperatures into the double figures negative, between -10 and -15C in remote areas of Scotland.

“Places without snow will be just below freezing  -5C will be seen fairly widely, which is a change from what we’ve been seeing.”

The sub-zero temperatures come after the warmest December on record, which was also one of the wettest ever with a succession of storms that devastating floods.

Officials have urged families to help protect their relatives from the sudden cold snap.

Dr Angie Bone, head of protection at Public Health England, said: “Over the past few weeks we’ve had some very disruptive weather, but temperatures have been quite mild – now the weather will be colder over much of the country, which will be a significant change.

“It’s so important to remember that cold does kill, even in places where the temperatures aren’t at their lowest. Most of our advice at PHE on keeping warm in cold weather may seem like common sense but people should think about how the cold weather can affect them.”

Homes should be heated to at least 18C and the elderly and anyone suffering from a cold-affected condition should have plenty of hot drinks and get a flu vaccination if they are eligible, she said.

January 13, 2016 / by / in ,
North Tawton giant ‘eco park’ solar farm plan refused

Plans for a solar farm measuring the size of about 80 football pitches have been refused in Devon.

The 140 acre plan near North Tawton was rejected due to the visual impact and farmland that would have been lost.

The company behind it, Kinetica Energy, said it would have created enough energy for 5,000 homes and included areas for grazing or wildlife.

It is not clear whether it will appeal the decision.

A spokesman said: “Kinetica are naturally disappointed with the decision by the Planning Officer to refuse the application of the North Tawton Eco Park.”

“Over the last three years we have worked tirelessly… to deliver a high quality renewable energy scheme.”.

West Devon Borough Councillor Louise Watts said: “It was over such a big area, it was visually going to have such a big impact on the town from everywhere. Also it was going to be on very good quality farmland and we didn’t really want to lose that”.

Penny Mills from the Campaign to Protect Rural England said: “It’s a power station at the end of the day and we don’t want them on our green fields”

January 13, 2016 / by / in
Property rights threatened by ‘aggressive’ change in land reform bill

Landowners have warned that an “aggressive” last minute change to controversial land reform legislation could strip them of control of their property.

They said the plan to allow tenant farmers to sell on a secure tenancy, or sell it back to the landowner at a premium, threatened the property rights of owners.

David Johnstone, chairman of Scottish Land & Estates, said the proposal was “daft”, would leave the Scottish Government further than ever from its aim of a “vibrant tenanted sector”, and could lead to legal challenges and land not being made available to let.

He urged politicians on all sides to consider the “more balanced” alternative that was in the Land Reform Bill until the controversial change emerged in the last two weeks.

The original proposal would allow a tenant to convert his secure tenancy to a long-term fixed tenancy before selling it to another farmer. The landlord would then know there was a definite end point.

But under the new proposal a tenant could sell on the tenancy, effectively removing the land from its owner as it could then be taken on in future by the farmer’s successors.

The same proposal includes a provision for the farm to be sold back to the landlord for around 25 per cent of the value of the land.

Mr Johnstone said: “What you are doing is giving a tenant a stake in the capital value of the farm. If the landlord doesn’t have the ability to pay, then the farm never comes back.

“It’s almost schizophrenic. On the one hand you have a Bill to create a vibrant tenanted sector and they are trying to encourage people to let for the long term, because we fundamentally believe that letting for a longer term is a good thing, it gives parties security and a chance to get on with it.

“But at the same time they are saying those who have already let for the long term in the past, who have created nice long tenancies, actually we are going to hammer you, we are going to stuff you.

“That has got to have a knock on effect in the confidence of anyone who might wish to come to let land or is letting land at the moment.”

The Bill, which passed the first stage debate in Holyrood on Wednesday, originally suggested the “conversion” system, which was recommended by the Agricultural Holdings Legislation Review Group chaired by Richard Lochhead, the Rural Affairs Minister.

The legislation will also end business rate exemptions for shooting and deer stalking, give communities a right to buy land to further sustainable development and make information on who owns land and its value more readily available.

It will also reform the law on agricultural holdings to give tenants a right to buy when a landlord is not fulfilling their obligations.

Ministers were warned in the debate that the tenancy proposals would be open to challenge under European human rights legislation, although SNP members rejected the plans at the party’s conference in October on the grounds that they were not radical enough.

Alex Fergusson, the Conservative MSP, said his party could not back the legislation unless the section on agricultural holdings was withdrawn and revisited, adding: “There is a glorious prize to be won, a renewal of trust between landowner and tenant, a truly reinvigorated tenanted sector and a restoration of the tried, tested and traditional way into agriculture for young and new farmers alike.

“Surely that is worth more than any pre-election headline about landlords and tenants and the passing of an ill-thought out bill that is more than likely to end up in the European courts.”

Courtesy of the Daily Telegraph

January 4, 2016 / by / in

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