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RENT MODELLING WORK SET TO BEGIN

RENT MODELLING WORK SET TO BEGIN

Scottish Tenant Farmers Association

News Release

23rd May 2017

RENT MODELLING WORK SET TO BEGIN

 

The Scottish Tenant Farmers Association has welcomed the news that the Scottish Government has appointed a contractor to conduct rent modelling work for the new rent test being applied to 1991 tenancies and available to Limited Duration Tenancies. The contract has been awarded to Savills and will also involve Hamish Lean and Watson, both of whom are well known practitioners, experienced in the conduct of rent reviews.

The 2016 Land Reform Act has radically changed the way in which rents are assessed, moving from a market driven approach to one based on the productive capacity of the holding. Although the new formula is enshrined in statute, the Act requires it to be tested on the ground to make sure it will be achieve its purpose of delivering a fair rent, before the secondary legislation, implementing the changes, is passed by parliament.

STFA has been critical of the delay in getting the rent modelling work underway as the start date of the new rent review system has now moved from late 2018 to late 2019 which means that the rent reviews may not be determined under the productive capacity until 2020.

Commenting on the news STFA Director Angus McCall said; “We are pleased to hear that a contractor has been appointed and rent modelling work will begin over the next few weeks. We are breaking new ground and tenants will soon be subject to a completely new rent test which will, in the longer term, prove to be a fairer, more transparent and more objective way of calculating rents. This is a major change of direction and it is important that as many potential hiccups as possible are identified in the modelling exercise before it is rolled out for general use.

“We are, however, surprised to learn that Savills have been appointed as the main contractor for this work as the firm is known to act for a large percentage of Scotland’s largest landlords and many tenants will have had their rents reviewed by Savills’ agents. These concerns have been raised with Cab Sec Fergus Ewing and we have been reassured by the news that Hamish Lean and Watson Bell, both of whom are STFA recommended agents, will be involved in the process to sense check Savills’ work from a legal and valuation perspective. We have also recommended to the Cab Sec a stakeholder monitoring group should be set up to provide further assurances of transparency and impartiality.

Hamish Lean explains his role: “Scottish Government have appointed Savills to test, analyse and make recommendations on the functionality and application of the new rent review system introduced under Part 10, Chapter 5 of the Land Reform (Scotland) Act 2016.   Savills were amongst a number of organisations which tendered for carrying out this work. In order to ensure that the work is done in an objective, fair and balanced manner in accordance with the requirements of the new legislation, I have been asked to act as an independent legal assessor well known for acting for tenants to “sense check” Savills’ work and findings as robustly as possible from a legal perspective to ensure that it is correct on legal grounds and that it is objective, fair and reasonable. Watson Bell’s role, once again being someone well known for acting for tenants, is identical from a valuation and agricultural consultancy point of view.”

“We are sure that these safeguards will go a long way towards creating tenant confidence in what has in the past been a potentially confrontational and controversial process. Every change in legislation is liable to challenge but we hope that the industry as a whole will get behind the new rent review system and make sure it is a success. The tenanted sector needs a stable working environment and rent reviews should be seen as a normal business transaction with rents varying as farming fortunes go up or down. Rent notices dropping through the letter box filling tenants with a sense of dread should become a thing of the past.”

 

STFA EXPRESSES ALARM AT MOVES TO REPLACE TENANT FARMERS WITH TREES

STFA EXPRESSES ALARM AT MOVES TO REPLACE TENANT FARMERS WITH TREES

Scottish Tenant Farmers Association

News Release

 

17.5.15

 STFA EXPRESSES ALARM AT MOVES TO REPLACE TENANT FARMERS WITH TREES

The Scottish Tenant Farmers Association is alarmed to hear reports of some of Scotland’s largest estates taking steps to bring tenancies to an end to replace tenant farmers with trees. Limited Partnership tenancies on upland units are especially vulnerable and despite the Guidance put in place by Andrew Thin, the former Independent Adviser on Tenant Farming to the Scottish Government, it would seem that these tenancies are being terminated with little consideration of the tenant farming families to be displaced.

Commenting on the situation STFA chairman Christopher Nicholson said: “The trees versus tenants debate is set to reignite. For a few years we have been seeing upland and hill farms coming out of tenancies frequently being planted with trees and to make matters worse, we are now seeing some of the large estates bringing Limited Partnership and Limited Duration Tenancies to an end to make way for trees.

“This trend is not new and six years ago the trees versus sheep debate was instrumental in Cabinet Secretary, Richard Lochhead setting up the Woodland Expansion Advisory Group to manage woodland expansion targets in ways that would complement and integrate with other land uses, especially agriculture, wherever possible. Their report set woodland expansion targets at 10,000ha per year to 2022. It also recommended the type of tree to be planted and where tree planting should take place.  Amongst other things, the report also looked at providing for better consultation with other land users and local communities.

“For a variety of reasons, mainly associated with grant funding, woodland creation targets have not been met. Consequently the Scottish Government has recently announced an increase in targets from 10,000ha in 2020 to reach 15,000ha per year in 2025 and onwards.  There have also been promises of improved funding and greater prospects for the forestry industry post Brexit.  This has obviously given the forestry industry a new boost and is stimulating landowners to plant trees, raising again the dilemma of finding suitable land for trees without conflicting with agricultural production.

“Many landlords now view forestry as an attractive alternative to tenant farming and the losers in this drive towards tree planting are the tenants and their families whose tenancies are being cut short leaving them to find new homes and occupations. In many cases there is evidence of land agents ignoring the industry code of practice, put in place by Andrew Thin, the former Independent Adviser on tenant farming which creates a structured process to agree a mutually beneficial way forward including the use of professional mediation where agreement proves difficult to find.

“Most of these tenants will be in mid-career and many will also have sons or daughters who would like to follow in their footsteps. There are being forced out of their farms with scant consideration of how the loss of home and livelihood will affect their lives.  This is quite callous treatment of tenants most of whom will have farmed the land for well over twenty years.

“STFA has raised this appalling situation with the Cabinet Secretary and the Tenant Farming Commissioner to ensure fair play for this vulnerable group of tenant farmers and to look towards encouraging more integrated land use where tenant farming and forestry can sit side by side and tenant farmers are able to continue farming their holdings through to retirement age. If action is not taken, not only will existing tenants suffer but potential new entrants will be affected as the traditional route into agriculture through upland stock farming becomes even more restricted.”

 

WHISKY DIALOGUE TO CONTINUE

Scottish Tenant Farmers Association

News Release

17TH May 2017

 

WHISKY DIALOGUE TO CONTINUE

 

The Scottish Tenant Farmers Association met yesterday with the Scottish Whisky Association to discuss concerns over the reduction in availability of distillery by products for animal feed, such as draff, pot ale syrup and dark grains. The current shortage of what has been a valuable source of protein and a staple ingredient of animal feed for decades, has come about  as a consequence of the increasing use of anaerobic digesters and biomass plants to convert by products into energy.

Commenting on the meeting, STFA environment spokesperson and Glenlivet farmer, Alastair Nairn said: “We had a constructive and positive meeting with representatives of the Scottish Whisky Association and NFUS president, Andrew McCornick and had a frank discussion about our concerns over depleted supplies of distillery by products.  This gave us all the opportunity to develop a greater understanding of each other’s position and the requirements of our respective industries.  We were pleased to hear the SWA express its support for the livestock industry and the importance in achieving a balance between the supply of animal feed and the demand from livestock producers.

“There was agreement that the dialogue between whisky producers and livestock farmers should be continued and expanded to include the wider supply chain, such as feed merchants. This would create a wider understanding of seasonal and regional fluctuations in the availability of distillery by products and the corresponding demand from livestock producers.  There was also general agreement that a collaborative approach should be adopted create a more stable market and it was hoped that the Scottish Government would assist in this endeavour.”

 

 

 

 

STFA WELCOMES TENANT FARMING COMMISSIONER’S CALLS TO TAKE ACCOUNT OF BREXIT IN RENT REVIEWS

STFA WELCOMES TENANT FARMING COMMISSIONER’S CALLS TO TAKE ACCOUNT OF BREXIT IN RENT REVIEWS

Scottish Tenant Farmers Association

News Release

2nd May 2017

STFA welcomes Tenant Farming Commissioner’s calls to take account of Brexit in rent reviews

The Scottish Tenant Farmers Association has welcomed the Tenant farming Commissioner, Bob McIntosh’s call to landlords and tenants to consider the impact of reviewing farm rents rent until the implications of Brexit are clearer. STFA has already warned its members to take account of the Brexit factor in rent negotiations and has reminded all those engaged in rent reviews that, although farm commodity prices have improved in the short term, following the EU Referendum result, the real challenges lie ahead. The rent review period is 3 years, so rents set in 2017 cannot be reviewed until 2020, by which time the UK may have left the EU and the Single Market if Article 50 is triggered as planned in 2017.

Commenting on the intervention, STFA Chairman Christopher Nicholson said: “The TFC’s call to think again about rent reviews is a commonsense suggestion and a sign of the gravity of the situation. Previous calls for a rental standstill from STFA have been rejected by landlords and their agents, however the TFC has no axe to grind save a desire to see fair play and this move must be taken seriously by all parties.

“The agricultural industry faces huge uncertainty as we contemplate leaving the EU and there is little sign that the UK government has any idea how we will cope with the loss of export markets and the potential imposition trading tariffs on top of much reduced support payments. Farm Business Incomes seem to be in freefall with a 48% fall in 2015/6 representing a 75% decrease in real terms in farm incomes since 2010/11. In these circumstances there can be no justification for any increase in farm rents.

“Good practice codes have been encouraging rent negotiations to take place in good time before the term date, consequently, STFA would also call upon any landlords and tenants who have already agreed an increase in rent for this May to shelve the new rent in line with the TFC’s statement.

“The agricultural industry faces hard times and landlords should be prepared to take this into account and not expect short term gain from rent increases at the risk of jeopardizing the viability of their tenants’ farming businesses. After all, if some of the dire predictions for agriculture materialise, landlords may be grateful to have tenants to farm the land and pay them any rent at all.”

 

STFA urges tenants to factor Brexit into rent reviews

STFA urges tenants to factor Brexit into rent reviews

Scottish Tenant Farmers Association

News Release

22 March 2017

STFA urges tenants to factor Brexit into rent reviews

 

The Scottish Tenant Farmers Association is urging landlords and tenants to take account of the Brexit factor in negotiating rent reviews. With the Spring rent review season underway STFA is reminding all those engaged in rent reviews that, although farm commodity prices have improved in the short term following the EU Referendum result, the real challenges lie ahead.  The rent review period is 3 years, so rents set in 2017 cannot be reviewed until 2020, by which time the UK may have left the EU and the Single Market if Article 50 is triggered as planned in 2017.

Writing in the STFA Spring Newsletter, STFA chairman Christopher Nicholson said: “The UK is facing huge uncertainty over the next few years as we head out of the EU. At the moment we are enjoying a short-term boost in commodity prices on the back of the drop in Sterling, but this is likely to be negated by rising input costs. Land prices appear to levelling or even falling due to Brexit uncertainties, both north and south of the border, and the devaluation of sterling could create a period of higher inflation when the profitability of agriculture, and land prices, are heading in the opposite direction.  Rents in England seem to be falling and we would expect to see the same thing happening in Scotland.

“Tenant farmers should understand where the main markets for their produce are, and the likely exposure to price changes if the UK has restricted access to the Single Market. For commodities that rely on an export market, the risks are greater if new trade agreements are not in place by 2019.  Of the main commodities produced by tenant farmers in Scotland, lamb is most reliant on export markets, and there is the further uncertainty over the future level of New Zealand lamb imports.  Already STFA are hearing from some tenant members who are cutting back their flock numbers to reduce their market exposure post 2019.

“Prior to rent reviews, tenants should look at the types of commodity produced on their farms, how reliant they are on export markets, and realise the risks involved post 2019. In short, lamb is most at risk, cereals and milk the least at risk, and beef somewhere in between.

“Brexit will also impact on Pillar 1 and Pillar 2 support payments. While the Basic Payment Scheme and Greening Payments have been guaranteed to 2020, LFASS payments are likely to see a big reduction in value from 2018, and there is no guarantee that funding will be available for new agri-environment schemes or schemes due for renewal.

“We are all in for a difficult time, and landlords should not be expecting rent increases in the next few years. Given that rent reviews are conducted with a view to the 3 years ahead, tenants need to factor in rising input costs when negotiating rents, particularly imported goods such as nitrogen and phosphate fertilisers, and animal feed proteins which will be affected by the fall in Sterling.  The bottom line is that tenants should be careful not to sign up to a rent increase which could jeopardize the viability of their business.”

 

 

 

STFA WELCOMES TENANTS’ HIGH COURT SUCCESS

STFA WELCOMES TENANTS’ HIGH COURT SUCCESS

Scottish Tenant Farmers Association

News Release

22nd March 2017

STFA WELCOMES TENANTS’ HIGH COURT SUCCESS

 

Tenant farmers involved in the long running Salvesen Riddell debacle have scored a partial victory in their legal case against the Scottish government for compensation following the loss of their farms. The Court of Session ruled this week that the Government were liable to compensate the tenants “.. for loss directly arising from reasonable reliance upon defective legislation passed by it, which was then remedied by further legislation which interfered with the individuals’ rights”.

 Lord Clark rejected the tenants’ claims based on the value of the tenancy and but accepted that compensation should be paid in respect of specific losses directly sustained by the tenants who had acted in good faith on defective legislation and “for frustration and inconvenience”. Lord Clark also pointed out that both sides had agreed that the case had been brought to establish the principle of whether or not the tenants were entitled to compensation. As a consequence he was not in a position to quantify the scale of the compensation which he noted would have to take several factors into account, such as any capital investment they may have made in the holdings balanced by the fact that they had enjoyed an extended tenure beyond which they would have originally expected.

Commenting on the court ruling STFA director Angus McCall said: “This is an incredibly complex case and it will take some time for the tenants’ legal team to evaluate Lord Clark’s ruling. What has been made clear, however, is that the tenants are due some compensation for the harm caused to them by the flawed legislation instigated by the Liberal/Labour coalition and passed by the Scottish parliament 14 years ago.

The compensation due will obviously be assessed on a case by case basis and should reflect specific losses sustained by the tenants combined with a sum to compensate for the stress and heartache caused since the Remedial Order. Unfortunately Lord Clark makes no mention of the unnecessary suffering caused by the mishandling of the mediation process which never got underway until it was too late. If mediation had been available in the immediate aftermath of the remedial Order, when it should have been, it is highly that, some landlords and tenants would been able to reach agreement, with the government stepping in to assist where agreement was not going to be forthcoming.

In summing up, Lord Clark has reserved opinion on “… whether the application of those principles will or will not give rise to a sum being due to the qualifying general partners.  When that decision is reached it will also determine whether or not there has been a violation of the A1P1 rights of the qualifying general partner petitioners. I therefore reserve my judgement on that matter until the next stage in these proceedings”. The time must now be ripe for the Scottish Government and the affected tenants to engage in mediation and reach a mutually agreeable settlement which will take away the need to spend yet more time and money in litigation where the only beneficiaries will be the legal profession.

The Courts have established the extent of the government’s liability towards the tenants, there is no legal impediment to talking to the tenants so, let’s just get on and settle the matter and let the victims of this long running and tragic saga get on with their lives.

 

 

AMNESTY A TESTING GROUND FOR LANDLORD/TENANT RELATIONSHIPS

AMNESTY A TESTING GROUND FOR LANDLORD/TENANT RELATIONSHIPS

Scottish Tenant Farmers Association

News Release

28th February 2017

 

AMNESTY A TESTING GROUND FOR LANDLORD/TENANT RELATIONSHIPS

The Scottish Tenant Farmers Association has commended Scottish Lands and Estates’ statement last weekend that its members are wholly committed to make the amnesty on tenant improvements work ‘well and fairly’. SL&E have also sought to clarify its position regarding tenant improvements to farmhouses.

In response to SL&E’s statement, STFA chairman Christopher Nicholson said: “We obviously welcome this signal that landlords are ready to play their part in the amnesty on tenant’s improvements. This amnesty presents tenant farmers with an opportunity to remedy deficiencies in paperwork which would otherwise have rendered many of their improvements to the farm ineligible for end of tenancy compensation.

“The amnesty process will, no doubt be complicated. Although the intention is clear, some of the legislation is confusing and open to different interpretations, such as the treatment of improvements to farmhouses and cottages and the notion of what is “fair and equitable”.

“Housing under an agricultural lease is exempt from the Housing Acts and as landlords are under no obligation to bring housing up to acceptable standards they have traditionally been reluctant to invest in farmhouses. Consequently improvements have invariably been carried out by tenants over the years and it is only right and proper that they should receive compensation at waygo.

“There are a number of grey areas around some aspects of the amnesty and STFA will be calling on the new Tenant Farming Commissioner, Bob McIntosh, to work with stakeholder organisations to find common agreement on resolving differing interpretations. STFA has already recommended the Land Commissioner and TFC approach the Land Court to explore ways of determining disagreements without embarking upon an expensive court case.

“The amnesty kicks off in earnest on 13th June and STFA is urging tenants to make an early start in preparing for it by checking leases and looking through past paperwork so they can substantiate the notices they will be serving. In doing so, tenants should remember to detail improvements they have made to the farm which will not be eligible for compensation, but which must be taken into account in rent reviews – an important consideration with changes to the rent test imminent.

 

“Many tenants, especially those undergoing a rent review have already embarked on the process of registering improvements and fixtures. There is, of course no reason why landlords and tenants should not agree to recognise improvements before the legislation is activated. Andrew Thin, the government’s independent adviser has some useful guidance on the government website.

“The amnesty for tenants’ improvements will be an important testing ground for future landlord/tenant relationships. If the process is to go smoothly it will require co-operation, understanding and goodwill from all sides. STFA will play its part in making tenants aware of the amnesty, providing them with information on how to go about it and ensuring they are adequately prepared. We hope that all landlords will share the commitment shown by their leadership and make the amnesty a success.”

 

STFA URGES GOVERNMENT TO RETHINK POLICY OF TURNING VALUABLE LIVESTOCK PROTEIN FEED INTO RENEWABLE ENERGY

STFA URGES GOVERNMENT TO RETHINK POLICY OF TURNING VALUABLE LIVESTOCK PROTEIN FEED INTO RENEWABLE ENERGY

Scottish Tenant Farmers Association

News Release

21st February 2017

STFA URGES GOVERNMENT TO RETHINK POLICY OF TURNING VALUABLE LIVESTOCK PROTEIN FEED INTO RENEWABLE ENERGY

The Scottish Tenant Farmers Association is repeating its warning to government that the headlong drive to produce renewable energy from by-products of the distilling industry through Anaerobic Digesters and Biomass plants will cause severe damage to the beef industry. The supply of distillery by-products, draff, pot ale syrup and dark grains, which beef and many sheep systems in marginal areas have relied on for decades as a reliable source of GM free protein, is now at risk.

The proliferation of AD and biomass plants over the last few years severely limits the supply of this feed source as distilleries divert their by-products towards renewable energy, encouraged by significant financial incentives from government. Draff has doubled in price and is in short supply and dark grains, which are a staple ingredient of most compound feeds, now have to be hauled from the central belt and there are doubts as to how long this source will be available.

North-east livestock farmer and STFA spokesperson on the environment, Alastair Nairn said: “It is not just local farmers who will miss sourcing home grown protein for their livestock on their doorstep, but this is now setting alarm bells ringing amongst the animal feed industry. The issue was discussed at yesterday’s meeting of the Agriculture and Climate Change Stakeholder Group where our concerns were shared by representatives of the feed industry.

“Unfortunately we are trying to close the stable door after the horse has bolted. It is more than 5 years since we highlighted the value of distillery by-products and warned the government of the damage that would be caused if supply became restricted. In 2012 a government commissioned report by SRUC predicted that the expansion of whisky production would ensure a plentiful supply of draff and dark grains. This has proved to be wildly inaccurate. The explosion of AD and biomass over the last few years has all but decimated the supply of draff locally and dark grains now have to be hauled from the central belt.

“The growth of AD plants has created its own problems with a vast quantity of digestate (waste from the AD process) now having to be spread on grassland. As yet, farmers have no real idea of the long-term implications of spreading this waste and how it will effect the chemical composition of soils, trace elements and available nutrients.

STFA supports the principles behind the Scottish Governments Climate Change Plan and its attempts to create a circular economy making use of anaerobic digestion and other methods to reduce emissions and turn waste products into renewable energy. However, controlling emissions should not be looked at in isolation and there must be a proper assessment of the impact that this policy may have on livestock farming and the knock-on effect on the environment and rural communities.

Far from being waste, distillery by-products are in fact a valuable source of protein in animal feed and restricting supply will harm livestock production, particularly in the beef sector. STFA is also concerned that the increasing change of use of large areas of arable land from food production to energy crops will damage the agricultural economy in some areas and will restrict opportunities for the tenanted sector and new entrants to farming.

STFA has welcomed the government’s commitment to investigate the value of renewable energy production from distillery by products in terms of its contribution to mitigation of climate change and the long-term impact it will have on livestock production and the rural economy. In the interim, STFA is calling for a planning moratorium in granting permission to build any more large scale AD or Biomass plants before more damage is caused to the livestock sector.

 

 

 

STFA plea to Scottish Government to halt court battle with tenant farmers

STFA plea to Scottish Government to halt court battle with tenant farmers

Scottish Tenant Farmers Association
News Release

11th October 2016

STFA plea to Scottish Government to halt court battle with tenant farmers

The Scottish Tenant Farmers Association has lent its support to today’s press statement issued by Hendersons Surveyors on behalf of the eight tenants affected by the Salvesen Riddell debacle and the subsequent Remedial order.

The STFA is bitterly disappointed that these tenants are being forced to take the Scottish Government to court in an attempt to gain some recompense for the loss of their tenancies as a consequence of bad law passed by the Scottish Executive in 2003. Time is now running out for the remaining eight tenants and their families who have been in limbo since the UK Supreme Court ruled in early 2013 that they must leave their tenanted farms. They now find themselves in Court on 1st November, the next two families will be losing their farms at the end of November and the rest face eviction next May and November.

Commenting on the dire situation STFA Director Angus McCall said; “The last four and a half years have been a misery for these tenant farmers since Lord Gill condemned the law that gave them security of tenure ten years previously as incompetent and contravening the property rights of landlords. The tenants now feel they have been hung out to dry by the government and its lawyers.

“None of the assurances given to them by ministers or parliament when the Remedial Order was passed in 2014 has been met. The mediation process which was supposed to take place never got off the ground, government has refused to enter into negotiation with the tenants regarding any form of compensation and now they find themselves faced with a lengthy, expensive and stressful legal battle with the government, an outcome that the RACCE committee precisely warned against.

“There is no doubt, that if the mediation process had taken place as originally planned and in the spirit intended, some of these tenants would not now be facing eviction and the others would have come to a mutually agreeable end of tenancy settlement instead of four years of uncertainty and emotional turmoil. This sorry saga has exemplified the harsh and uncaring side of government where common decency and a sense of fair play is being sacrificed on the altar of political expediency.

It is not too late for the government to enter into a dialogue with the tenants and prevent a lengthy and expensive court battle. STFA would reiterate the plea made a year ago for the rulers of this country to accept moral responsibility for the damage done though the actions of a previous government to these families and move without further delay to find a way towards an equitable settlement rather than forcing them into a long drawn out, expensive and life sapping legal battle.”

For further comment contact:

Angus McCall 07767 756840
Eddie Henderson 01577 862566

Henderson’s press release below:

 

 

TENANT FARMERS BEING FORCED TO FIGHT FOR THEIR RIGHTS!

The effects of the Salvesen / Riddell case have been far reaching and now resulting in Eight Tenant Farmers and their families finding themselves in Court against the Scottish Government despite all of the assurances to the contrary. The Remedial Order 2014 process promised that the tenant farmers adversely affected by this new legislation would be looked at on a case by case basis and due consideration would be given to the requirement for compensation payments being made for them now finding themselves losing their livelihood and in some cases, their homes.

The highly publicised Salvesen V Riddell case following the Supreme Court judgement required the Agricultural Holdings (Scotland) Act 2003 Remedial Order 2014 to correct the unlawful outcomes resulting from the defect identified and it was acknowledged by the Government’s Agricultural Minister at that time, that the Order would have a negative impact on many Tenant farmers.

The Government were advised by the Rural Affairs Committee that they should make every effort to ensure that the affected tenants did not suffer further by having to face lengthy and very costly court proceedings in seeking compensation for the impact the Remedial Order would have on their secure tenancies.

Unfortunately, having paid lip service to the advice, the Scottish Government has made no effort to lessen the stress and financial burden and these eight farmers and their families now find themselves in court as of the 1st November 2016.

Despite the many assurances from the Scottish Government, these eight families now find themselves having to fight for what should have rightfully been addressed by the Government. One farmer has already been put out of his farm in January of this year, two more families will find themselves in the same position as of the end of November with the remainder facing eviction in May and November of next year.

One of the families due to end their tenancy at the end of next month lives on the Isle of Arran. The farm is run by two young brothers – the very type of young farmer the Government continues to stipulate is needed in Scottish agriculture. The brothers have worked all of their life on this farm on Arran, have heavily committed to environmental schemes which may now be in jeopardy and have also created a diversification business which will prove very difficult to relocate. All of the work they have carried out both on the farm and their diversification business will count for nothing when leaving their farm at the end of November. Without any form of compensation from the Government, they will be left with nothing and no means of continuing either with another farm or with their diversified business. They are young men who have worked hard believing that they would be there for the rest of their working lives, only to find that due to the failings of the original Act and subsequent Remedial Order, this is no longer the case.

The latest failing in the promises made by the Government has been their inability to procure a Mediator – something which was originally put in place, but was obviously so high on their agenda in resolving issues with the plight of these tenants, that they failed to renew the contract which ran out in June of this year.

As acting agent for the eight tenants going to court, Mr Henderson said, “it is despicable that the Tenants have been treated in this way and forced to suffer the stress of an unknown future and the financial burden of court action for mistakes made by previous Governments and legislation, with nothing but broken promises as to how they would be considered and compensated. To hide behind the legal department and use this as an excuse to refuse meeting with the affected Tenants to seek resolution out of Court is contrary to what was originally promised and will inevitably be at a further unnecessary cost to the Tax payer” he added “the fact that the Government have failed to procure the promised Mediator at such a critical time for the Tenants due to leave their farms next month, only highlights the lack of importance the Government places on this sorry mess as well as their total lack of understanding on the effect their broken promises have had and continue to have on these families” .

Contact:

Mary Mackie

Tel: 01577 862566

Email: mmackie@hendersons-surveyors.co.uk

www.hendersons-surveyors.co.uk

Small Landholding tenant farmer faces eviction

Small Landholding tenant farmer faces eviction

Scottish Tenant Farmers Association

News Release

 26th September 2016

Small Landholding tenant farmer faces eviction

The Scottish Tenant Farmers Association is concerned to hear that a small landholding tenant faces losing his farm if the Scottish Government approves a planning proposal for a film studio and other developments on his small holding on the outskirts of Edinburgh.

Commenting, STFA director Angus McCall said; “Local residents are fighting to prevent the imposition of what appears to be a substantial development, including a film studio and a Gas, Chip and Pellet fired Power Station, on prime agricultural land against the will of the farmer, the local community at Damhead, and The Midlothian Council.

“This situation also highlights the vulnerability of tenant farmers who are powerless to resist a notice to quit if planning permission is granted over the whole holding. Small landholding tenants such as Mr Telfer have even less protection against development and are even more at risk. STFA has been lobbying the Scottish Government to modernise this anachronistic form of land tenure and, at last the government has agreed to conduct a survey of Small Landholding tenants to seek solutions to their plight. This however will be scant comfort to Mr Telfer who faces losing his century old tenancy although it is understood that he may be able to continue to occupy his house in the meantime..

“The Damhead Community are petitioning the Scottish Parliament to stop the eviction and are urging supporters to sign the petition by 28th September for presenting to the Parliament the following day.

The petition can be found online at https://www.change.org/p/demand-scottish-government-reject-pentland-studio-planning-application-stop-eviction-of-our-farmers-stop-development-of-trojan-horse-power-stations-in-the-greenbelt

The Damhead Community’s statement has been removed from this site due claims of defamatory content.