ISSUE 2 AUTUMN/WINTER 2016
Will the grass be greener? What Brexit means for rural business
PLUS: Value-added dairy farming | Huttingâ€™s new wave | Gin distilleryâ€™s community tonic | Deer management | Planting new woodlands | Why grouse is great | Farm sales update
Testing times in the countryside
Welcome to the second edition of Rural
Deer management under review.
Matters, the CKD Galbraith publication that addresses the wide range of challenges and opportunities facing rural businesses
Reviving the joys of hutting.
Making dairy farming pay.
Many land-based businesses are grappling
with major issues, be they the uncertainties over Brexit’s impact, the implementation and interpretation of land reform legislation or continuing frustrations surrounding the Basic Payment Scheme. Equally, farms and estates continue to deal on a daily basis with practical matters
Residential tenancy update. Gin and community tonic.
In praise of the grouse industry.
such as the activities of utility companies, property maintenance or whether to seek a fixed or variable loan. The challenges are at multiple levels but opportunity also beckons – perhaps by going into the gin distilling business or making the most of mud, music and matrimony.
Mud, music and matrimony.
Why plant new woodland?
CKD Galbraith is a firm steeped in rural
All change for Basic Payments?
Scotland. We have been advising rural
Farm sales update.
businesses for more than 50 years and are
pleased to share some of our thoughts and insights – we hope you enjoy Rural Matters. Iain Russell, Chairman
New road negotiations. Drones take off.
20 CKD Galbraith is Scotland’s leading independent property consultancy. Drawing on a century of experience in land and property management, the firm is progressive and dynamic, employing 236 people in offices throughout Scotland. The ﬁrm provides a full range of property consulting services across the rural, residential, forestry, commercial and energy sectors. CKD Galbraith provides a personal service, listening to clients and delivering advice to suit their particular opportunities and circumstances.
Loans: Fixed or variable?
Compensation for crop loss.
Challenging graduate expectations.
Follow us on Twitter: @CKDGRural Like us on Facebook: www.facebook.com/ckdgalbraith Join us on Linkedin: www.linkedin.com/company/ckd-galbraith
Rural Matters is produced by CKD Galbraith and designed by George Gray Media & Design, St Andeux, France. © CKD Galbraith LLP.
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Brexit: A dark tunnel...
Iain Russell reflects on the wide-ranging impact that withdrawal from the EU may have on rural businesses.
r a brave o new world?
While most people in the UK await further details of how Brexit will affect them personally, Whitehall is a beehive of activity preparing for the contingency plan that never was. It is already one of the largest, most complicated and important tasks ever faced by the Civil Service as it tries to unravel more than 40 years of EU influence. We are still at the preliminary stages of this herculean undertaking. The public cannot, however, expect all to be revealed in the near future, as once a strategy has been agreed by the Prime Minister, we must enter into negotiations with both EU and non-EU countries privately. How can we expect to secure the best possible deal if we have already shown the world our hand? The triggering of Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty has, of course, dominated so much of the debate and is now looming large early next year. A more locally pressing issue is how to strengthen the internal relationship with the devolved nations. Scotland and Northern Ireland’s remain vote having been overshadowed, means that both countries will seek to secure the best possible deal from Westminster and expect to be included and have equal leverage in the Brexit process. The
A move away from the stringent requirements of EU law may allow agriculture in the UK to progress faster.
murmurings of a second Scottish independence referendum ebb and flow, but provide an added incentive to ensure that external trade negotiations benefit the UK as a whole. So who is in charge of Brexit? Whoever it is, and if Brexit means Brexit, will it be gung-ho or measured? Interestingly, the UK government has yet to concede that either the UK or Scottish Parliaments should play any role in the triggering or negotiation process. Both legislatures have however set up inquiries and in particular the Scottish Parliament’s European and External Affairs Committee has asked for and taken evidence on the devolution settlement, UK and Scots law, Scotland’s funding settlement from Westminster, and the rights of EU citizens in Scotland. However, the extent to which either the UK or Scottish Parliament will be involved in some, all or indeed any of the process remains unclear. From an agricultural perspective, new trade deals are essential to ensure future food security. A major barrier to progress in this area is the divide between rural and urban populations reflected in the supply chain. Although the concept of buying British has gained momentum, for most people ➔
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Roughly 12,295 EU regulations covering everything from food safety to consumer and banking rules are likely to be adopted into UK legislation. As the mounting pressure to formally withdraw from the EU does not leave enough time for in-depth scrutiny this may be of benefit to the UK as if we continue to trade with Europe we would need to remain EU compliant. The CAP is undoubtedly flawed and in need of reform, but whether the UK has the resources and competence to create a new model policy that has been tailored to suit the needs of each devolved nation is yet to be revealed. A move away from the stringent requirements of EU law may allow agriculture in the UK to progress faster. Funding for Pillar II equivalents and measures that increase biodiversity, protect the environment and have visible benefits to the wider public are likely to remain an important part of DEFRA’s agenda. One non-headline
The Brexit story so far is confusing and the end is uncertain.
area which could ‘make or break’ Britain’s performance as it enters this transitory phase is the level of government investment into research and development for agriculture and the environment. It is hoped the Government will acknowledge and utilise the UK’s present status as a world leader in areas such as pesticide resistant crops, agricultural engineering and other tertiary and quaternary related services. These are some of the UK’s most valuable, exportable assets which are already being marketed globally. If executed well, the UK’s agricultural sector could become a model which other countries wish to emulate. The fisheries and aquaculture sector is one area in which government officials have been most pro-active. The EU’s Common Fisheries Policy has always been controversial, but future UK legislation would have to ensure that the industry remained heavily regulated in order to continue to restore fish stocks. The transient nature of fish stocks make it imperative for the UK to enter into negotiations with other EU and non-EU countries in a co-operative manner if a sensible and beneficial outcome is to be obtained. In the forestry sector, the initial signs are that existing grant scheme contracts will be honoured but continued public funding will be vital if the Scottish Government’s planting targets of 60,000ha of new woodland by 2020 are to be met. Although future competition for public funding is likely to be strong, the current low value of Sterling is having a positive effect
on the UK timber industry as foreign timber becomes increasingly expensive to import. The importance of timber as a renewable resource through carbon sequestration combined with a predicted global shortage in the medium to long term suggests that the forestry sector will continue to do good business post-Brexit. The rural property market has slowed slightly as prospective purchasers wait for further details of how exactly Brexit will occur. However, those who are firmly rooted in Scotland are still buying at current market prices which have not dropped since before the outcome of the vote. Positively, the weaker exchange rate with the Euro and other currencies has increased the number of international buyers looking at the UK as a place of investment, further cementing our position on the world stage. The biggest single issue that will affect every aspect of business life is free movement (of people and trade), one of the founding pillars of the EU. UK legislation has often gone further than EU requirements and by retaining stability in employment the impacts on business should be minimal. Most employees already sign the agreement to work outside the EU Working Hours Directive. Seasonal labourers and EU nationals are essential to the hospitality, leisure and tourism industries, and in soft fruit and vegetable production. If the UK wishes to retain free trade with Europe and access to the single market, immigration will be one of the major bargaining chips of the EU, as has been the case with Switzerland’s negotiations. The associated rural legal landscape will also undoubtedly change. To what extent will EU derived legislation, once relied upon to balance Scotland’s greater devolutionary/ statutory power, no longer provide a leg to stand on in a post-Brexit environment? Would Salvesen v Riddell still be found to be ‘outside the legislative competence of the Scottish Parliament’? Where will the Scottish law of succession and UK tax reliefs sit within a non-EU, devolved and independence fidgety Scotland? Intellectual property rights, procurement rights and charitable status – status quo or a new world? The Brexit story so far is confusing and the end is uncertain. The Office for National Statistics announced that “the referendum result appears, so far, not to have had a major impact on the UK economy” and is upping its forecast for UK growth, although small business confidence is at a four-year low. Calm before the storm? A gentle slide out of the EU at a pace which reassures and maintains confidence or a slow motion car crash with passengers bickering as the cliff edge approaches? We will of course be watching for policy updates to agriculture, forestry, fisheries and property as the Brexit negotiations get underway, as well as providing advice to all our clients on how best to prepare and position for future changes. email@example.com 0131 240 6976
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Picture courtesy of Ninian Stuart, Falkland Centre for Stewardship.
cost is still the deciding factor. It is unlikely that Westminster will subsidise farmers and bear the cost of production to prevent inflation in food prices, which are at an all-time low, despite the UK being a net food importer.
For rural landowners, hutting may offer the opportunity for a new income stream from land that perhaps historically has only held amenity value.
Hutting: A new desire to rediscover some old ways The renaissance of the hutting movement is in line with the British dream of an idyllic country life – and it offers opportunities for landowners. Jamie Grant reports.
Recent changes to planning legislation have opened up opportunities for rural landowners to benefit from hutting. Support for hutting is an attempt to re-invigorate a tradition of summer cabins. In Scotland the movement flourished in the interwar years, when people created small rustic huts to enjoy in the summer as an escape from the overcrowded cities. A number of factors saw this nascent movement stall; the wave of post war housing creation gave people space to call their own and package holidays offered the chance to explore more exciting destinations. In the Nordic region things have been very different; urbanisation was largely a post-war event and thus city dwellers tended to have strong ties to certain parts of the rural world and a family to revisit in the summer, the package holiday was slower to take off and city apartments have remained significantly smaller. The Scottish Government is now keen that we re-align ourselves to our cousins across the North Sea, and has varied planning legislation
to significantly reduce the barriers to consent for rustic huts in this tradition. With Scotland’s unique natural environment (midges aside) and our increasingly “always on” world, perhaps we should all have a hut to seek solace in, or escape to with the family? The Nordic experience has arguably created a lower carbon culture, fostering “staycations” as well as an urban community that is inherently more in tune with the rural world. The revised support is largely embodied in the 2014 Scottish Planning Policy (SPP), which defines a hut as “A simple building used intermittently as recreational accommodation (i.e. not a principal residence); having an internal floor area of no more than 30m2; constructed from low impact materials; generally not connected to mains water, electricity or sewerage; and built in such a way that it is removable with little or no trace at the end of its life. Huts may be built singly or in groups.” Most Local Development Plan’s remain silent on huts at present, and thus decisions fall back to the inherent support shown in the SPP. However, consideration of a number
of environmental factors will be required in order to create a successful application and not all sites that initially appear suitable to accommodate huts will gain consent. For rural landowners, hutting may offer the opportunity for a new income stream from land that perhaps historically has only held amenity value (huts are traditionally owned, but sited on leased plots). For rural communities, hutting offers the potential to channel some of the demand for second home ownership into a new market segment that reduces competition for rural homes. Aside from the fact that at times, as with any tenanted situation, there will be some management issues there are few readily identifiable downsides to the opportunity and the demands on landowners are limited. With a ready market of would-be hutters who have an established network (see www.thousandhuts.org for example), it appears that there are interesting opportunities for those who wish to pursue this market. firstname.lastname@example.org 01786 434638
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Deer management makes progress, but is it enough? Scottish deer management groups have made great strides, but Deirdre Stewart remains apprehensive about Scottish Natural Heritage’s review of the sector.
In 2008, the Scottish Government issued ‘Wild Deer: A National Approach’ (WDNA), a 20-year policy document for deer management. Its first five-year review of this policy in 20132014 reiterated how deer management ought to overcome challenges such as the impact of deer populations upon the natural heritage, and the ‘pace of change’ in terms of deer management groups (DMGs) developing and implementing deer management plans. It laid out priorities for 2015-2020 with which to maximise both public and private benefits from deer management. The Scottish Parliament’s Rural Affairs, Climate Change and Environment Committee at that time asked that the sector be able to demonstrate a ‘step change’ in its efforts under the voluntary principle and contribution to the public interest, the progress of which would be measured in 2016. That laid down the challenge for the industry
to prove that it could voluntarily deliver deer management for the benefit of the Scottish public without the need for top down intervention from Government. Against this backdrop, all DMGs were assessed by Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) in 20142015. The assessments provided a measure for the demonstration of DMGs to meet the criteria of WDNA, including relevant aspects of the public interest, and most importantly to demonstrate the effectiveness of voluntary deer management. Assessments have therefore been influential in prompting action by DMGs, in terms of planning and communication/collaboration, by identifying areas that need to be improved. 2016 has witnessed the re-assessment of all DMGs by SNH against the policy objectives, and the industry waits with bated breath as to the
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outcome of how this data will be represented in the SNH review of the deer sector in Scotland, to be delivered to the Cabinet Secretary for Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform, Roseanna Cunningham, in October. The Association of Deer Management Groups (ADMG) is seeking assurance from SNH of an objective and evidence-based report on the considerable progress made by DMGs since 2014, as well as noting further progress after the re-assessment which concluded at the end of June 2016. The SNH review of the deer sector will cover many aspects, including Control Agreements, which were exercised under Section 7 of the Deer (Scotland) Act 1996. Simultaneously SNH is reviewing the system for authorisations for outof-season culling and night shooting. I remain apprehensive about the outcome of this review, despite the huge progress by the DMGs over the past two years. The political interest in deer remains high and there are some who continue to press for full regulation. However, the Land Reform (Scotland) Act 2016 provided SNH with additional ‘last resort’ powers to intervene where voluntary action has failed to deliver effective collaborative deer management, and this should be sufficient to deal with persistent failure should that occur. It is worth noting that SNH has yet to resort
to its compulsory powers created in the Deer (Scotland) Act 1996. The opportunity for DMGs now is to continue the excellent progress made, to implement their new deer management plans, introduce habitat impact assessments, communicate regularly with relevant interests, principally through the DMG websites now provided by ADMG, and thus to keep management of the shared deer resource under their own control within
The political interest in deer remains high and there are some who continue to press for full regulation.
the framework of legislation and Government policy. In future, reviews will take place threeyearly, and steady progress will continue to be necessary to demonstrate the great benefit that a well-managed deer population represents to the people of Scotland and wider deer management as a whole. I await the review of the sector with great interest, as will the many people connected with the deer industry.
email@example.com 01738 451111
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Dairy farming the value-added The tough times facing milk producers are well documented, but one young farmer is refusing to bow to price pressures as he tries to build a viable business. Martin Harvey reports.
After ten years working in the motor trade, Bryce Cunningham was beginning to think about whether he should come back to the family dairy farm business. When his father Robert became ill the decision was made for him and he returned to West Mossgiel, near Mauchline, Ayrshire. When Robert died in 2014, Bryce took over the farm tenancy first taken on by his grandfather in 1948 and with it one of the most respected herds of Ayrshire cows in the country. It was hardly an easy time to enter the industry, with even the most experienced dairy farmers struggling to stay afloat. Low milk prices meant production costs were higher than his income and while his landlord, the Ballochmyle Estate, has been supportive, being a tenant farmer can make it difficult to raise capital to invest as you can’t borrow against the value of the land. Milking cows to lose money was an unsustainable situation, but Bryce was unwilling to quit the industry altogether so he developed a business plan to allow him to remain in milk but change the direction of the business. Big changes often involve painful decisions and dramatically reducing the size of his milking herd from 130 to 48 was not something Bryce took lightly. But the interest his cows attracted as they went under the hammer last winter is a testament to the work of his father and grandfather in establishing the West Mossgiel breeding line. Bryce’s determination to ensure that his own son Arran will have the same opportunity to take over the family business has led him on a path to change from producing a commodity for a milk buyer to creating a valueadded product to sell direct to consumers. In August 2015 Bryce and wife Amy, a nurse,
opened a farm shop in their conservatory and quickly built up a regular trade thanks to their range of high quality, hyper-local produce. Having a shop in their house has encroached on their lives to some extent, but it made it possible to combine minding the shop with looking after baby Arran (and a highlight for many of the customers has been watching Arran grow!) The Ayrshire Farmers’ Farm Shop has already more than proved its worth. It kept them afloat as they raised the funds to buy and install a pasteuriser. The shop now sells their homeproduced Mossgiel Milk under a sign which names the cows that produced the day’s full fat and semi-skimmed. Since its launch earlier this year Mossgiel Milk has gone from strength to strength. Bryce now supplies local dairy producers as well as 22 shops, restaurants and cafés across Ayrshire and Glasgow, including two businesses adjacent to Burns Cottage in Alloway, where the ploughman poet was born and lived until he was seven. There are more than a few parallels between Bryce and Robert Burns. Both moved to farm at Mossgiel in their mid to late twenties – Bryce at West Mossgiel and Burns at neighbouring East Mossgiel (known in his time as Near Mossgiel). Both found themselves heading up the family farming business shortly after the death of their father. Both farmed Ayrshire cows. Both have the same landlord, the Hagart-Alexander family, with whom Bryce has now agreed to take over the tenancy of part of East Mossgiel, and his cows will be grazing land where Burns farmed and wrote many of his most famous poems. Bryce will happily show customers the farm, the cows and the milkings and his longer term plan is to build on this educational element. The aim is for the farm to become a place that
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The motor trade was deregulated in the Eighties and that created havoc and hell, but they got through it. That’s what farmers have to do as well.
way demonstrates what goes into producing a litre of milk as well as selling it. His determination to improve things for the whole industry as well as for his family has brought Bryce into the public eye with TV appearances as spokesperson for the “milk trolley challenge” protests – where farmers bought all the milk in supermarkets in Ayr and Kilmarnock. Other stunts, including taking a red tractor down Glasgow’s Buchanan Street, have also raised public awareness of the issues facing dairy farmers.
Bryce, Amy and Arran, who has become the star of their farm shop. Left: Freshly bottled Mossgiel Milk. Below: The Mossgiel Girls – part of Bryce’s herd.
But he is in no doubt that it cannot be business as usual for the industry. “Farming was one of the last industries to be deregulated in the way it was,” he says, “I came from the motor trade which was deregulated in the Eighties and that created havoc and hell, but they realigned it and got through it. That’s what farmers have to do as well. For the past 20 years in farming it’s always been a case of producing milk for your milk buyer. It was never a mind-set of producing milk for a customer. It’s just not the case that you’re stuck with your milk contract – there are other options out there. But we wouldn’t have a shop just now if I hadn’t done what I did at Mercedes for ten years, because I wouldn’t have had the understanding of retail.” For Bryce, the skills he developed outside of farming and the confidence they have given him to go against the industry norms are proving vital as he tries to build a sustainable farm business for himself and his family. CKD Galbraith is employed as managing agent for Ballochmyle Estate. To find out more about Ayrshire Farmers’ Farm Shop visit www.facebook.com/ayrshirefarmers.
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Residential tenancies: Are you up to speed on legislation changes? Rachel Myles highlights the changes to Scottish tenancies and the impending deadlines. DO you have an EICR for your let property? Private landlords in Scotland are required by law to ensure that their properties are electrically safe. The Housing (Scotland) Act 2006 also requires them to carry out an electrical safety inspection at least every five years. The inspection has two parts: an Electrical Installation Condition Report (EICR) completed by an approved electrician every five years, and, where relevant, an annual Portable Appliance Test (PAT), which can be carried out by an approved electrician or a landlord who has completed a relevant training course. Although EICR reports were introduced at the end of 2015, we are currently in a period of transition and not all properties had to have an EICR by this date. For properties that have become vacant after December 1, 2015, an EICR is now required before the property can be re-let. For properties that were occupied prior to and on December 1, 2015 and continue to be occupied by the same tenant, an EICR report is required by December 1, 2016.
Termination date set for Short Assured Tenancies The Private Housing (Tenancies) (Scotland) Act 2016 has been passed by the Scottish Parliament and brings an end to Short Assured Tenancies (SAT) and introduces a new Private Residential Tenancy (PRT), which is expected to be introduced at the beginning of 2018. The Act aims to provide enhanced security for tenants and a simpler tenancy system. There are a number of key changes: • The removal of the ‘no-fault’ ground for repossession which is currently available to landlords. There will be no minimum period of let with tenancies continuing indefinitely, unless the tenant wishes to leave or the landlord
can prove one of the 18 grounds of eviction set out in the Act. • Changes to notice periods, with tenants being able to end their PRT by providing 28 days’ written notice after the expiry of the initial term. • A First-tier Tribunal, which has powers to draw up the terms of a tenancy and assist with the regulation of PRTs. • Rent can only be reviewed once a year, and landlords must give three months’ notice of the review. Some tenancies do not fall under the PRT criteria. These include properties that have two acres or more of agricultural land, ‘relevant’ agricultural tenancies, and let properties occupied by the person responsible for the control of the farming of the let property.
Our whole aim is to try to establish ourselves as the ethical and socially responsible distiller of choice.
What will happen to existing Assured and Short Assured Tenancies? Schedule 5 of the Act sets out transitional terms for existing tenancies, which will continue as Assured or Short Assured Tenancies until they expire, unless landlord and tenant agree that the tenancy will become a PRT. Although we are in the early stages of the Private Housing (Tenancies) (Scotland) Act 2016, it is clear the private lettings market is going through a period of significant reform, which will bring with it challenges and opportunities for landlords, tenants and property managers. Our lettings teams and land agents would welcome the opportunity to review the implications for you as a landlord or tenant, so please do not hesitate to contact us in advance of the introduction of the PRT in early 2018.
firstname.lastname@example.org 01334 659989
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Slàinte! Gin distillery aims to give community a tonic Niall Macalister Hall explains how the creation of a distillery on his family’s estate boosts the estate’s environmental credentials and will in due course help local entrepreneurs get started. Torrisdale Estate, on Kintyre’s east coast, in southern Argyll, extends to roughly 1,200 acres and has been owned by our family for about 125 years. It includes the main castle, a number of holiday cottages, let land, forestry and about a mile and a half of coastline. For many years the main income has derived from the self-catering holiday business, but the estate has recently diversified into renewable energy, including the installation of a 170kW biomass boiler which serves a number of properties, and a 99kW run of river hydro-electric scheme, commissioned in October 2015. The construction of the hydro scheme came in under budget, and it is now over-performing against our initial projections. The castle’s heating bills have been drastically reduced by the new biomass heating system and the income generation of the hydro scheme is projected to be very positive.
start-up which requires some financial support. Our whole aim is to try to establish ourselves as the ethical and socially responsible distiller of choice, which will be further enhanced by our small visitor centre offering guided tours of the distillery and the hydro scheme, with visitors having the opportunity to plant a tree to offset their carbon and to provide them with a link which might hopefully prompt further visits. Among the trees which visitors can choose to plant will be a juniper, which in the long-term will help to address the scarcity of juniper berries in Scotland. The actual construction or conversion of the facility for use as a distillery is the easy part. Unfortunately the red tape and administration is the hard part. In addition to planning consent and building warrants, you have to think
This makes the estate more viable for the future and I decided that, rather than stopping there, the renewable energy schemes could also be the catalyst for further diversification on the estate. One night, while sipping a gin and tonic and thinking through ideas, I had a lightbulb moment and there it was staring me right in the face. I decided I would convert a disused traditional farm building into a small-batch gin distillery. Being a drinker of gin, but by no means an expert on how to make it, I engaged the services of consultant Leon Webb, who helped to develop the popular Harris Gin. The plans snowballed and soon Leon was busy at work in the lab, cooking up 10 different samples using an array of botanicals. The recipe was finalised after a series of blind tastings, and has been funded through an Innovate Your Business grant from Highlands and Islands Enterprise. We created a new company, Beinn an Tuirc Distillers Limited (Hill of the Wild Boar), named after the highest hill in Kintyre, whose summit was part of the estate until it was sold in 1984. The 300-litre copper still will run on threephase power, directly from the hydro scheme, the water for which comes from the same hill. Our initial product will be a very smooth dry gin, branded as ‘Kintyre Gin’, with a future Navy Strength version on the cards. We aim to produce seasonal variations, using fruit grown in the restored Victorian walled garden, and a percentage of our profits will fund community projects and local business start-ups. We hope that local people will eventually be able to approach us if they have an idea for a new
about on-sale and off-sale licences, HMRC warehousing, rectification and compounding licences, SEPA consents, Health and Safety plans, website development, marketing, social media, bottle design, branding, labelling, and a host of less interesting issues! At CKD Galbraith we have the expertise and experience to help other estate owners who might be considering a similar strategy. Our estate is indebted to Highlands and Islands Enterprise, which is providing support. Fundraising for the project is ongoing and our crowdfunding campaign is due to kick off soon. The aim is that Kintyre Gin will be in full production in January 2017. We plan to recruit up to six employees within five years, and to grow significantly throughout this period. We believe this could be the catalyst not only to safeguard the future of the estate but also to make a real difference to the social and economic development of a very fragile rural economy. We can all drink to that. email@example.com 01583 431215
www.ckdgalbraith.co.uk | Twitter: @CKDGRural | Rural Matters Autumn/Winter 2016 | Page 11
Why we should salute a great Scottish rural industry Robert Rattray reports on the investment needed on sporting estates.
Field sports contribute some £185 million to the Scottish economy, of which between £30 million and £45 million is derived almost directly from grouse shooting. These are the stark numbers, but when they are applied to the areas that generate these figures they take on critical importance. Grouse moors are a labour of love and require relentless optimism, hard work and dedication. In a good year they might break even. Irrespective, owners the length of the country consistently invest in their staff and high ground which in turn creates jobs and tightly woven communities essential for the longevity of these fragile areas. This hard work creates an environment in which an array of wildlife flourishes and, together with our internationally acclaimed grouse shooting, draws visitors from around the globe who stay and spend generously in local hotels, restaurants, shops and visitor attractions and who return home and spread the word of Scotland’s wild places. It’s imperative that the positive work and stewardship of our moorlands is highlighted as the vociferous, outspoken and often ill-informed opinions of opponents of grouse shooting will be taken as accepted opinion if they are not consistently and reasonably challenged. It’s something we should all feel very proud of and that should be championed to a wider audience. The heightened efforts made by the Game and Wildlife Conservation Trust (GWCT), Scotland’s
Regional Moorland Groups and The Gift of Grouse campaign are all very encouraging. The success or failure of a season is almost directly linked to the weather and the 2016 season was very much at the mercy of our changeable weather patterns. Early predictions this year indicated a warmer and more settled spring than 2015, but unseasonal snow, particularly on high ground in late April and early May, was followed by heavy and often localised rain and violent hail storms throughout May and into June. Certain parts of Scotland suffered more than others, including Angus and Aberdeenshire where breeding conditions were less than ideal. As is always the way, some parts of the country have fared better than others and the GWCT has identified a remarkable variation in the pattern of grouse productivity this year, with a distinct east–west split. Its data concludes that although the counts in Scotland this season (2016) show an average density of 151 birds per 100 hectares of land, almost exactly the average density for the 2011 – 2015 period, this is down by 17 birds per hectare on last year’s counts. Furthermore, the 2016 counts are worryingly made up of larger numbers of old grouse. Brood success was significantly better in the west than the east. In eastern Scotland 45% of the moors counted struggled to better a young to old ratio, while 86% of western moors
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exceeded this ratio. It is also noteworthy that there remains, even at the time of writing (late August), a significant proportion of very young birds that will probably only reach maturity in the second half of September. Consequently, this season has been, once again, something of a curate’s egg; some moors having to delay or cancel much of their programme – sadly in some cases for the second year running – while others are reporting good grouse numbers. That, in a way, is one of the enduring fascinations of the red grouse. Management practices have advanced over the year and
We owe a great debt of thanks to the owners and their teams who do so much for rural Scotland both in terms of the communities they support and the wildlife that flourishes under their stewardship.
there have been noteworthy breakthroughs such as medicated grit, but the bird remains as wild as the places they inhabit and the numbers fluctuate with the weather. Any day involving red grouse shooting is a privilege, not a right, and we owe a great debt of thanks to the owners and their teams who do so much for rural Scotland both in terms of the communities they support and the wildlife that flourishes under their stewardship.
firstname.lastname@example.org 01738 456081
Buying an estate? Help is at hand Anna Henderson discusses the opportunities and challenges when buying a Scottish estate. Scottish sporting estates remain ever popular, in particular with overseas buyers who are benefiting from the weaker pound and are beginning to turn to their own ‘personal shopper’ to find their ideal property. Engaging a buying agent helps to address some of the challenging issues purchasers encounter including: Do I have to pay over the asking price? A buying agent will pay for their fees several times over if they can not only save you something on the price, but more importantly find you the right property. It may be that their advice is in fact to pay over the asking price to cut out the opposition and secure a deal for the property you want. What are the running costs? Don’t ask a selling agent for income figures – most estates and large country houses will cost money to run. An experienced buying agent can give you good, impartial advice on likely running costs, albeit a lot will of course depend on how you wish to run things. Who is on my side? Don’t forget that the selling agent, however helpful, is acting for the seller. Agents are obliged by the Estate Agents Act to be 100% accurate with the information they provide, but this does not necessarily apply to the asking price. A buying agent will advise you on this and will also sniff out all the hidden problems and issues which may not be immediately apparent. Are there roads or wind turbines nearby or are any planned? Are there low flying aircraft or other issues likely to cause a nuisance? Don’t necessarily be put off by nearby roads in Scotland – most traffic is light or virtually nonexistent on the smaller roads in the Highlands and rural Scotland. Wind turbines can also be a consideration and maps are not always the best basis for making any decisions. With our local knowledge we know what’s going on on the ground and what might be planned, often long before it’s in the public domain or on the internet. Will I ever find anything I want? Either be prepared to compromise or to wait. Most buyers end up having to take on or give up on something. However with 11 offices throughout Scotland, we have ears to the ground and unrivalled local knowledge and are better placed than any of our competitors to find you the right place. email@example.com 0131 240 6988
www.ckdgalbraith.co.uk | Twitter: @CKDGRural | Rural Matters Autumn/Winter 2016 | Page 13
James Bowie looks at how rural estates can maximise their income streams. Cardross Estate is set in picturesque Stirlingshire countryside just south of the Lake of Menteith. The estate covers about 4,500 acres, and is made up of agricultural land, forestry, and a Site of Special Scientific Interest – Flanders Moss. There are a number of residential tenants, holiday cottages, and also a sporting tenant who is busy throughout the year with visitors. Cardross House, a fine building dating back to the 16th century, is at the heart of the estate. Its owners, the Orr Ewing family, have been keen to maximise the uses of the estate so that there are several income streams. The diversification follows the initial success of the holiday lets on the estate – five cottages or houses – and also a bed and breakfast business run from the house itself. The estate also hosts two events: an extreme fitness run called BMF: The Major Series, and a music festival, Doune the Rabbit Hole. Both events have increased in success each year they have been held at Cardross, which offers the use of its holiday cottages to either the event organisers or attendees. Cardross also offers an attractive wedding venue – again accompanied by options on accommodation for wedding guests.
Mud, music and matrimony...
Since CKD Galbraith was appointed as managing agent, we have worked closely with the family to provide a range of services including rent negotiations with tenants, heads of terms for events and liaising with event organisers, tenants and neighbours to ensure everything runs smoothly. We also have a large contact base and are often contacted by credible event organisers looking for somewhere to host their event. firstname.lastname@example.org 01786 435605
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The Cardross Estate hosts the mudfest that is BMF: The Major Series (above) and the Doune the Rabbit Hole music festival (below). Cardross House, left, dates back to the 16th century.
Why plant new woodlands? Paul Schofield highlights the many benefits of woodland creation. When properly planned and maintained, woodlands have a unique capacity to transform the landscape and deliver a wide range of benefits for current and future generations. Introduced just over a year ago, the Forestry Grant Scheme (FGS) offers some excellent funding opportunities and is proving to be a versatile foundation for the creation of both commercial and native woods. Depending on the size, location and woodland creation type, most schemes generate a positive financial outcome and planted farm land also remains eligible for annual Basic Payment Scheme (BPS) payments over the 20-year duration of an FGS contract. Historically, woodlands were planted with one purpose in mind – to produce timber in the shortest possible time. Solid geometrical blocks of Sitka spruce became commonplace and little consideration was given to how woodlands fitted into the wider landscape or influenced the natural environment. The expansion of forestry in the Sixties, Seventies and Eighties increased woodland cover in the UK to about 12% of land area and currently allows us to produce just under half of the timber that we consume as a nation. Taxation incentivised afforestation on a huge scale and intensive methods often imposed tree crops on the landscape rather than working with natural processes, sometimes leading to the planting of ecologically sensitive sites. Over the past 30 years, the concept of sustainability has become well established within forestry management and the multiple benefits of forestry are now much better understood. When designing new woodland, careful consideration must be given to location and how the size and shape complement the local landform. Potential conflicts with other land uses should be identified early and minimised as far as possible. The species chosen must suit the climatic and soil conditions and consideration should also be given to the resilience of different species to the predicted effects of climate change. Archaeological features and the presence of notable or protected species and habitats must also be taken into account at an early stage. The many potential benefits of well-designed sustainable woodland, include: Timber production: The prospect of growing good quality softwood on a rotation of 40 to 50 years is an attractive one on the right site with suitable access to public roads. The rising popularity of biomass heating systems has also transformed the market for lower grade categories of timber, significantly improving average prices achieved at clear fell. As a long-
term investment, forestry has stood up well compared to other types of UK investments with an annualised total return of 8.5% over the past 21 years (IPD Forestry Index, 2013). Benefits on livestock farms: Woodland and shelter belts on livestock farms have numerous potential benefits. These include overall increases in crop and pasture yield, particularly during periods of drought, reduced water run-off and consequently reduced risk of flooding and, in dry areas, reduced risk soil erosion. Additionally, shelter from woodland can potentially improve forage conversion rates and livestock productivity. Riparian woodland can also help to stabilise river banks and prevent further erosion.
As a long-term investment, forestry has stood up well compared to other types of UK investments.
Game, wildlife and habitats: The creation of new woodland provides the opportunity to create and enhance habitats for many woodland plants and animals. Iconic and threatened species such as red squirrel and black grouse can benefit greatly from the establishment of diverse, well-structured woodland and the expansion of existing woods. Game shooting, of course, also benefits greatly from the creation of woodland habitat, and relatively small areas of woodland can form the basis of a successful shoot if they are well planned. Landscape and amenity value: On many properties, trees and woodlands form a scenic backdrop to other activities and are often an intrinsic part of the character of a place. In this sense, woodland can be an important asset to a rural business just by its presence in the landscape. Public access: Establishing formal footpaths can provide greater control by helping to draw activity away from more sensitive areas. Local authorities increasingly look for evidence of public engagement in support of planning applications and woodlands can provide an expedient way of achieving this.
email@example.com 01738 456 064
www.ckdgalbraith.co.uk | Twitter: @CKDGRural | Rural Matters Autumn/Winter 2016 | Page 15
impending departure from the EU. It’s almost a certainty that we will still have the current system during 2017 and 2018 and that would leave only 2019 and 2020 to continue with the present scheme until reform is scheduled anyway. Given the capacity of the Scottish Government’s IT infrastructure in place to deal with these payments, it is unlikely that Government would change to an entirely new system again within a two to three year window. This brings us back to the question of whether there will be any entitlement trading for the 2017 subsidy claim. Given that there is a fair prospect of another four payments under the current system (2017 to 2020), CKD Galbraith envisages producers will continue to actively look to trade as a result of this.
The trading of entitlements for 2017 and beyond will certainly be available as a ready market should exist.
Purchasing entitlement, at say one and a
quarter times its face value, in order to receive possibly four payments in return would make financial sense for the majority of producers. Many producers who have acquired additional land feel it is advantageous to have that land covered with entitlement. This is often seen as akin to an insurance policy because the land is in the subsidy system, which potentially makes it eligible for whatever may come along post 2020. This rationale is also in the thought process of new farmers who are currently not claiming support. Only time will tell what transpires once Article 50 has been triggered and we have a clearer timeline for the UK’s withdrawal. The trading of entitlements for 2017 and beyond will certainly be available as a ready market should exist. As ever in this complicated area specialist subsidy planning advice should be taken.
firstname.lastname@example.org 01738 448144
land depending on local interest. There is no one-size-fits-all approach. Within the same parish, we have seen multiple offers at very strong levels for some parcels of land, whilst other similar blocks of land have not sold for the target price or have even been withdrawn from sale. We understand this is also happening south of the border, where there has been an easing in prices and the market is patchy with some land not selling at all, depending on the particular buyers who are looking at that specific time.
Type of farms In general, some of the more marginal units have taken longer to sell due to lack of finance and also because livestock farmers have a requirement to sell their existing holding before buying another, due to the constraints of housing their stock. This can cause a delay in transactions. However, as the cost of borrowing money is comparatively very low, some livestock or dairy farmers have taken the view they can buy and
We have seen multiple offers at very strong levels for some parcels of land, yet within a five-mile radius other similar types of land have not sold.
repay interest – and capital if accounts allow – cheaper than the cost of renting a similar type and quality of land on a fairly unsecured seasonal basis. Values for upland Less Favoured Areas/sheep holdings have been underpinned by forestry interests, providing the land is plantable. Arable land continues to be flexible as an investment with respect to contract farming agreements, but there remains a west-east shift of buyers looking for a much more forgiving type of holding. How much of the market is outside investordriven rather than driven by existing landowners and farmers? The farmland market is underpinned by existing landowners and farmers. The number of investors entering the market in the past 12 months has been limited.
email@example.com 01786 434620
www.ckdgalbraith.co.uk | Twitter: @CKDGRural | Rural Matters Autumn/Winter 2016 | Page 17
Don’t let historic titles trip you up
Drones take off for business
Charlotte Maclean explains the value of modern land titles during liability claims. There are many benefits of holding a modern land registered title, and knowing what you own can also protect both you and your managing agents from public liability claims and a lot of unnecessary stress. A client of CKD Galbraith recently found this out the hard way when a member of the public tripped on a pothole and injured himself while walking through an area of ground the estate was unaware it owned. The injured party made a public liability claim leading to a lengthy and costly investigation by solicitors to confirm ownership of the ground. The main problem was that the estate in question held multiple historic titles of varying degrees of clarity; some included good title plans, some historic plans, and some had no plans at all! The area where the man had tripped was included in the unmapped title, so ownership was difficult to confirm. The estate’s solicitors advised that, as the estate had no prior knowledge of owning or using the area of land and as it was clearly being occupied and maintained by a third party, ownership (and therefore liability) would more likely be granted to the third party occupier, rather than to the estate. For landowners with large, complex or historic titles, it is important to extend public liability cover to include land which the owner is unaware of owning, for exactly the situation described above. The estate in this case had such cover in place, but luckily the claim was not progressed once the ownership position was clarified. The reason for this though, was that the insurers began to pursue CKD Galbraith as managing agents of the estate. The estate’s insurance broker has advised that there is a growing trend in insurers claiming against the managing agent rather than the owner. It was ultimately agreed that neither the estate nor CKD Galbraith held responsibility for the ground, but it was a lengthy and complicated question which would have been avoided if the estate had already held a registered title. There is cost involved in voluntary registration, but the estate has decided to go ahead. It considers that avoiding unknown liabilities and the potential benefit of discovering valuable assets both help to justify the expense. Modern land registered titles will help to make such grey areas a thing of the past. Equally, where sales, transfers to the next generation, ownership restructuring or new standard securities are planned in the near future, voluntary registration is something to consider sooner rather than later, as it will simplify and speed up the process and potentially reduce unknown transaction costs.
firstname.lastname@example.org 01786 434603
Negotiating a way The impact of a new road needs careful consideration when compulsory purchase compensation is being negotiated. Chris Addison-Scott and Annie Lane report on the heads of claim taken into account for the A737 Dalry Bypass.
CKD Galbraith has been working for several years as agents for the principal landowner affected by the A737 Dalry Bypass scheme. The land required for the scheme has been subject to a Compulsory Purchase Order and was vested on April 22, 2016. It is expected that construction work will start in the spring of 2017 and last for approximately 18 months. The route of the bypass cuts through two of our client’s let farms, both occupied by the same tenant. Most of the area of each farm is subject to a secure tenancy under the Agricultural Holdings Act 1991. However, our client took the opportunity a number of years ago to resume land from the tenancy, roughly on the line of the future bypass, which was then let to the tenant under a seasonal grazing agreement. For valuation purposes this means the land is almost equivalent to land with vacant possession, therefore the value of the land taken and consequently compensation paid to the landowner
Page 18 | Rural Matters Autumn/Winter 2016 | www.ckdgalbraith.co.uk | Twitter: @CKDGRural
Gareth Taylor looks at how drones are becoming increasingly valuable tools on farms and estates and examines the pros and cons of buying your own. Many of our clients are using drones effectively to: • Inspect high buildings and roofs (cheaper and quicker than scaffolding or hiring a cherry picker). • Inspect remote fence lines. • Inspect damage to crops and riverbanks during floods and snow. • Assess crop coverage to accurately apply fertilisers and sprays. A drone can cost as little as £1,000 and many farms and estates are considering buying their own. However, before doing so, there are several things to consider: Quality: Drones vary massively in quality and price, especially with regard to the equipment mounted on their undercarriage. Licenses: Anyone can own and use a drone provided it weighs less than 20kg and is flown no higher than 400 metres and no further than 500 metres from you (and within direct eyesight). Drones must not be flown
within 50 metres of buildings or land owned by third parties. However, you must have a license if you are using a drone to provide a service or if you’re using it for any commercial purpose, which would include any farming or agri-business use. A license can be obtained from the Civil Aviation Authority but requires a qualification and a written operating permission manual. Risks: In all cases, you should undertake a site risk assessment before flying, noting all obstacles such as pylon lines, roads and trees. Always keep the drone within eyesight and ensure that the batteries are fully charged. Insurance: It is highly unlikely that general estate and farm insurance would cover the use of drones (even those that don’t need licenses) and separate insurance will almost certainly be needed. Minimum cover should be at least £5 million. From experience, this could add £3,000 a year to an annual public liability Insurance premium. Contractors: An increasing number of specialist firms provide additional expertise (such as photography or crop assessments) and offer an alternative to buying a drone. email@example.com 0131 240 6962
across the road
Our client took the opportunity a number of years ago to resume land from the tenancy, roughly on the line of the future bypass. will be greater. The confirmed route of the bypass varies slightly from that which the landowner predicted when the land was resumed but it is considered that our client acted in good time to mitigate his losses based on the information available at the time. Other land taken is still subject to tenancy and that is reflected in the value as a discount to vacant possession. An advance payment of compensation of 90% has been agreed based on the value of the land taken, and severance and injurious affection. Further discussions with the district valuer are to be held to negotiate the full claim for compensation. The heads of claim under which the full claim will be made include: • Value of land taken.
• Severance – for the purpose of compensation, it has been discussed with the district valuer that the land severed by the new road from the main part of the holding should be compensated at a percentage of its capital value. • Injurious affection (grouped with the claim for severance) – including mitigation works. • Claim for future maintenance of fencing, for any increased length of fencing required as a result of the scheme. There is the potential to include a further similar claim for damage to land drains. • Claim for compensation at waygo – this was an additional head of claim that we advised our client should be included to cover the tenant’s claim for compensation for improvements
made (including a dairy unit). With the new bypass in place, the land will no longer be viable as a dairy unit and therefore has little value to an incoming tenant. This has arisen as a result of the Amnesty for Tenants’ Improvements under the Land Reform Act 2016. However, it could be argued that the improvements made by the current tenant are in effect an over-provision for the size of the holding. • Agents’ fees. • Other heads of claim – it was agreed that the landowners could also lodge a claim for their own time involved in the claim but must keep a diary. For example, meetings with the agent would be claimable.
firstname.lastname@example.org 01786 434604
email@example.com 01786 434601
www.ckdgalbraith.co.uk | Twitter: @CKDGRural | Rural Matters Autumn/Winter 2016 | Page 19
To fix or not to fix, that is the question The global economy is still playing catch-up after the crash of 2008 but the cost of borrowing has fallen. Robert Taylor discusses the implications for farm businesses. Fixed-rate loans have been available to farmers from banks for many years, but never before have long-term fixed rates looked so attractive.
at feed barley at this level. Milk prices are extremely depressed and many other farm commodity prices are staggeringly low when adjusting for indexation.
The biggest question currently facing any farmer looking for additional finance is whether fixing is the correct option over the long term.
Sadly, farm costs have not remained at levels seen in the Eighties and Nineties with fuel, fertiliser, veterinary medicines, electricity and other utilities all much more expensive. It is fair to say any farm business with significant borrowings would not survive for long if the Bank of England base rate was 5%.
When a new loan is taken, part or all of the loan can be fixed at the start, or at any time during the term. So why would a farmer wish to fix long term? There isn’t a single farmer over the age of 50 who won’t remember extremely high interest rates. My own father recalls paying 17% during the early Eighties, and in the early Nineties there was another period of high interest rates. Anyone who took out fixed rate loans at that time certainly regretted doing so later when Bank of England base rates fell back to 5% or thereabouts. Before the 2008 crash, fixed rate borrowing would usually work out more expensive than variable over a long term, but what it did provide was certainty as to the amount of interest to be paid over the term of the loan. When rates were fixed at extremely high levels it became hugely expensive to repay these early and substantial penalties for early redemption were inevitably incurred. After the crash, Bank of England rates hit an all-time low and until recently sat at 0.5%. In 2011, I listened to senior economists from two well-known banks who suggested that the Bank of England base rate would be around 2% by 2016. Not only has the Bank of England reduced the base rate to 0.25%, it is also unlikely to increase this rate at any time in the near future. The experts were spectacularly wrong. The Brexit vote has not necessarily been the sole reason for Bank of England rates staying so low as there was very little evidence that interest rates would rise even if the UK had voted to stay in the EU. This suggests that the world economy, overall, is still struggling. In the early Eighties, when the Bank of England base was sitting at 15%, farm-gate commodity prices were generally buoyant and this was also true in the early Nineties, again when interest rates were high. Barley at about £100 a tonne was not uncommon 25 years ago and, apart from fluctuations with harvesting conditions, we are still looking
The AMC is the market leader in long-term fixed loans and can offer a guaranteed fixed rate for up to 30 years. AMC loans can be passed down through generations and therefore those of us farmers old enough to remember the high interest rates of the past are now giving serious consideration to long term fixed rates of up to 30 years. What must be considered very carefully is whether or
Splitting the loan into a fixed rate segment and a variable rate segment allows you to always be half right and half wrong. not there would be an opportunity during the fixed term of the loan for paying off early or whether this would incur exorbitant early redemption charges. There is no question that it is hugely tempting to fix money for 30 years at 3% or 4% when you consider past trends, but we live in interesting times – in fact they are unprecedented in the last 300 years. Perhaps low base rates are here to stay, which could make a variable rate the best deal. Fixed or variable is a very difficult choice, but there is a third option. Splitting the loan into a fixed rate segment and a variable rate segment allows you to always be half right and half wrong. “Money has never been cheaper” is a phrase I often hear quoted these days, but food in real terms has also never been cheaper. A fixed rate may be attractive, but the choice is not an easy one.
firstname.lastname@example.org 0800 389 9448
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Loss of crops may form the basis of a compensation claim.
Poppy Baggott explains the benefits of engaging an intermediary when faced with utility maintenance work.
Overhead lines not overhead costs Water, light, heat and transport are all commodities which we enjoy and often take for granted. Their continued efficiency and supply rely on a vast infrastructure of lines, pipes, poles, pylons, rails and roads across the country which, for most people, form the backdrop to everyday life. Maintenance works and upgrades are essential, and it is at this point that those involved, either by proximity or land ownership, can be confronted with daunting quantities of people and paperwork. Large areas of Scotland are currently undergoing works to replace or renew overhead power lines, and many landowners may find themselves having to liaise with contractors and subcontractors. Undoubtedly this will raise concerns about access and the resulting disturbance as well as potential crop loss on their land. It is almost impossible for ground works to be carried out without some adverse impact on the surrounding land, so appropriate measures need to be taken and agreed in advance. In most instances, utility providers will cover surveyors’ fees for handling negotiations and liaising on behalf of those involved. The following terms are indicative of a basic claim for farmland, in the case of electricity poles having to be replaced: Area of land damaged: Although infrequent, some physical impairment may occur during the works, such as damage to field drains, gates or boundary walls. Utility providers usually take reasonable steps to prevent any damage and will ordinarily rectify any caused, or make provision for the farmer to carry out the repairs with the cost being accounted for in the compensation claim. Loss of crops: This could be an arable crop or grass, either way, the loss will have a value. For example, if it was a 100% loss over the damaged area, then
the claim would be worked out on a £/acre basis, with the value dependent on the crop grown. Claimants’ time: All claimants should keep a record of the time which they spend in connection with the works. This could be in meetings with the agent and contractors, agreeing terms, viewing damage or arranging remedial works. At the conclusion of the works, a claim for time can then be submitted alongside crop loss and any other compensation resultant from damage caused as a result of the works. The above reflects the most basic heads of claim, but often the works can grow arms and legs. However, it is possible to ensure that you are adequately
In most instances, utility providers will cover surveyors’ fees for handling negotiations and liaising on behalf of those involved. compensated, while in turn working with the utility providers, who are required continually to maintain, repair and renew the infrastructures from which we all benefit. Utility companies are keen to be on good terms with landowners, so engaging an agent as the intermediary provides a bridge, keeping lines of communication open as well as helping to secure appropriate compensation. CKD Galbraith’s team of professionals has the expertise to assist with the utility provider’s approach and arrange for proper compensation to be paid – with the added benefit that the landowner does not incur any professional fees as a result.
email@example.com 01556 505346
www.ckdgalbraith.co.uk | Twitter: @CKDGRural | Rural Matters Autumn/Winter 2016 | Page 21
Challenge your expectations... Good fun and great professional training CKD Galbraith is committed to taking on ambitious, bright and articulate rural surveying graduates and supporting them in obtaining their APC – Assessment of Professional Competence – the final step to becoming a fully qualified RICS Registered surveyor. Here, two of our graduate surveyors reflect on their first year with CKD Galbraith.
Rural graduate based at CKD Galbraith’s Edinburgh office
By the end of my first week at CKD Galbraith, it was clear that there would be no such thing as a normal day. From training courses on our in-house Geographic Information System to preparing a briefing note on Land Reform; to valuing the development potential of a crumbling steading on the edge of Edinburgh and negotiating graveyard space in Perthshire – my new job would be anything but boring! The usual corporate hierarchy is non-existent when it comes to knowledge-sharing at CKD Galbraith. You are not expected to know everything and when faced with a new scenario, an experienced partner is always happy to speak to you and provide you with plenty of guidance. Regular meetings with other departments in the office and the rural team across Scotland build relationships with colleagues, giving you a valuable network of professionals across all property-related disciplines. If there is a particular area of work you are interested in, CKD Galbraith will try to facilitate your involvement, knowing that it will benefit both you and the company. I read Marine Biology at undergraduate level, so I was keen to be involved in the aquaculture work undertaken by the firm and have since had the opportunity to attend and participate in meetings with some of the largest aquaculture companies in Scotland. The APC can be overwhelming but this is where a structured programme and a good supervisor come into their own. Colleagues
are willing to put aside the time to help you, and being able to draw on this resource and knowledge is a great asset when preparing for assessments. Having grown up in London, I had my first flavour of Scottish topography (and weather) at undergraduate level. So when I decided on a career as a rural surveyor, despite having no rural ties or Scottish roots, Scotland was my first choice. Although there are some differences in legislation, I relished getting to grips with everevolving Scots law, and having an understanding of both legal systems can only be an advantage. Unlike many firms that specialise in a particular genre of client, such as institutions or utilities firms, CKD Galbraith is not restrictively sector specific. It did not take me long to realise that CKD Galbraith is a widely respected firm well-known for the quality of service it provides. That is a testament to the people who work here, how we do business and the ethos the firm endeavours to create, which makes for a pleasant environment to work and learn in.
Rural graduate based at CKD Galbraith Perth
At University the questions I always asked potential employers were about what sort of clients they had and the work that graduates were likely to do. I did not want to be pigeonholed early in my career by specialising too quickly. Instead I was looking to work somewhere I could gain a wide variety of experience. Since joining CKD Galbraith I have worked across a really broad range of rural industry. Breadth and depth of knowledge must be
The great outdoors beckons for the CKD Galbraith teams at the Scone Game Fair tug-of-war, the Great Glen Challenge, Katie Gibson in the Lanrick
Page 22 | Rural Matters Autumn/Winter 2016 | www.ckdgalbraith.co.uk | Twitter: @CKDGRural
demonstrated as you work towards the APC and I am encouraged by my supervisor and counsellor to identify and seek out opportunities throughout CKD Galbraith to further my abilities and awareness. People across the company – from forestry to commercial and sales to sporting – have been very approachable and willing to involve me in projects that help me to develop my skills.
Will Frazer kayaking as part of the CKD Galbraith team in the Great Glen Challenge.
On many occasions I have had the responsibility of seeing a project through from start to finish. One client wanted to become a Wildlife Estates Scotland member which meant ensuring the game handling and wildlife practices were fully in line with current regulations. I produced a report for the client setting out the different options and costs and giving my own recommendation of a way forward, which was ultimately agreed to, and I oversaw the improvement project. To be given this degree of ownership of a project and the responsibility to see it through to its conclusion has been very satisfying. There are fun activities to be part of as well. CKD Galbraith enters teams into several physical challenges, including the RSABI’s Great Glen Challenge. I love the outdoors and a physical challenge, so the chance to get involved, to support a great cause and to bond with colleagues from other offices was too good to refuse. CKD Galbraith also took part in a Tug of War competition at the Scone Game Fair and beat three other firms of land agents to be named number one in Scotland! My first year at CKD Galbraith has been a roller coaster ride. One day I’ll be conducting an extremely challenging valuation of a commercial property and the next I’ll be up a glen inspecting a herd of Blackface ewes. The nature of the work means it can feel like you are never in the office and I have seen much more of the country than I ever had before. For more information on CKD Galbraith’s graduate recruitment and work experience programmes visit www.ckdgalbraith.co.uk/recruitment.
Challenge and Peter Scott Aiton at the Buccleuch Challenge.
www.ckdgalbraith.co.uk | Twitter: @CKDGRural | Rural Matters Autumn/Winter 2016 | Page 23
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