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Rural

ISSUE 8 WINTER 2019/2020

MATTERS

A taste of ancient Britain n n n

The natural approach to woodland management The past, present and future of Cardross Estate Understanding woodland insurance


WELCOME AS we step into a new season the path ahead is full of challenges. There is no room for complacency going forward and we will need to utilise our assets to greater effect. The exact circumstances of each farm or estate are different but the variety of avenues of opportunity for landowners is a source of comfort. Identifying markets and points of difference is becoming increasingly pivotal to ensure that existing resources can be used to maximise returns. And luckily inspiration is at hand as we share the stories of how this has been achieved on some of the properties we manage. At Galbraith we continue to invest in our staff and develop new services. The launch of our new WebGiS platform is an exciting progression which provides clients with exclusive access to data based on our experience in land agency over many years. This is just one of the value-added services we offer our clients to help them steer a course through the changing landscape ahead.

CONTENTS

4 How long can interest rates stay this low? Using land as an investment asset.

6 Understanding woodland insurance. Strategies for survival in a changing countryside.

8 COVER STORY: A taste of ancient Britain from a restored walled garden.

10 One man’s trash... A more natural approach to forestry.

12 Cardross Estate: Past, present and future.

14 Code chaos: Why mobile network development is at a virtual standstill. Opting to tax explained.

Ian Hope Head of Rural

Road scheme compensation.

16 Behind the scenes at a farm open day. Planning reform update. GALBRAITH is a leading independent property consultancy. Drawing on a century of experience in land and property management, the firm is progressive and dynamic, employing 240 people in offices across Scotland and Northern England. We provide a full range of property consulting services across the commercial, residential, forestry, rural and energy sectors. Galbraith provides a personal service, listening to clients and delivering advice to suit their particular opportunities and circumstances.

18 Market trends.

20 Introducing GroundMapper. Tenants’ amnesty... and moves to give tenants more protection.

22 A busy year at the shows. Big farmhouse to let? No problem.

Follow us on Twitter: @Galbraith_Group @Galbraith_Rural Like us on Facebook: www.facebook.com/GalbraithRural/ See us on Instagram: www.instagram.com/GalbraithGroup Join us on LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/company/galbraith

Rural Matters is produced by Galbraith and designed by George Gray Media & Design, St Andeux, France. © CKD Galbraith LLP.

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We aim to develop the holistic child – developing social skills, emotional intelligence, physical development and supporting creative development.


If you go down to the woods today… Richard Haggart looks at an unusual letting recently completed on behalf of Caledonian Estate for a small area of woodland on the outskirts of Bishopbriggs.

AS MUCH as small areas of woodland can provide some amenity value to local communities, they can cause considerable headaches from a management point of view. These areas of woodland, especially if located on quiet backroads, can become easy dumping grounds for fly tippers who have no concern for the woodland or the surrounding neighbourhoods. Galbraith were recently approached by Auchinairn Afterschool Club, Bishopbriggs, which was looking for a site suitable for the creation of an outdoor forest school. Many after-school clubs now offer a daily or weekly forest school, where children are taken to the woods and encouraged to experience the outdoors and play in, as well as with, the natural materials present. Gwen Mclaren from the school explained: “As a forest school we follow the ethos and principle of the Scandinavian approach to child development. We aim to develop the holistic child – developing social skills, emotional intelligence, physical development and supporting creative development. These are areas of child development which are often overlooked but important for long-term health and wellbeing and crucial in today’s fast-paced society.” Having identified a suitable site, we worked with our client’s solicitor and the after-school club to ensure a suitable agreement was put in place. Following this, the estate undertook some clearance work before the club moved in. Further work was undertaken by the club to provide a safe environment for the children. Rich Oliver of Caledonian Estate commented: “As an estate we are delighted to have assisted the local after-school club in securing a new home. It was a real team effort with a neighbouring farmer creating a bus parking area. The erection of signage has helped to create an area of woodland that the community can be proud of which helps kids get out into the wild.” Gwen added: “In co-operation with the landlord and neighbouring farmers, we have turned a small area of neglected woodland into an environment where children can get outdoors and learn skills that will stay with them for life. We have four qualified forest school leaders who encourage risk-taking in a supported environment. “We are so pleased to have been given the opportunity to relocate to our new site and cannot thank Caledonian Estate and Galbraith enough for the opportunity to support children in the best way possible.”

richard.haggart@galbraithgroup.com 01786 434635

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Crystal ball gazing Forecasting interest rate movements is never easy, but Robert Taylor predicts that current low levels will be with us for a long time to come. FOR almost 10 years the Bank of England base rate has remained below 1% with minor small adjustments during that time. Senior economists had begun making predictions in 2011/12 that the rate would rise steadily but surely to 2% and above by 2015. This never materialised and, despite those predictions, the expectation within the money markets was that it would still rise but take a little bit longer. We are almost into the third decade of the new century and the money markets are suggesting that base rates are likely to remain low for some considerable time. Why were the economists’ predictions so wrong? There has been an unprecedented spell of economic uncertainty and within the UK much of this is being blamed on the issues relating to Brexit. But is that the true underlying reason? It certainly won’t have helped matters,

It will be hugely tempting to lock in an exceptionally low rate guaranteed not to change.

and current economic forecasts for the UK economy show shrinking output; there is even talk of another recession. So how long will interest rates remain at these historically low levels? When I visit farms throughout the country and provide funding through the Agricultural Mortgage Corporation, I am often asked about fixing money long term. AMC can provide fixed rate loans for up to 30 years both on a repayment (annuity) basis and/or interest only. Farmers of a certain vintage recall Bank of England base rates as high as 17% in the early 1980s and when money fell back to single figures some farmers fixed rates long-term at levels that now seem exceptionally high, such as 9%. In times of recession banks tend to get nervous themselves and often raise margins on new loans, and any loans which are due for renewal even within a term could be increased. Banks are required to have a certain amount of capital behind them when providing loans and they can only do so by raising margins. Should the country dip back into recession then the likelihood is that the cost of borrowing money will increase. The problem the Treasury has is that there is now very little wiggle room to help the economy. The Deputy Governor of the Bank

of England for Financial Stability, Sir Jon Cunliffe, said in September 2018: “The current yield curve sees the bank rate rising slowly over three years and levelling off at under 2% for the next 30 years.” He went on to say: “The average policy loosening cycle in the UK pre 2008 was around 2%. If that remained the case, we would have less room for manoeuvre in the face of a sharp downturn, particularly if that happened in the near future.” It now looks as though Sir Jon’s prediction will be wrong – base rate is more likely to go down than up before the end of the year. The Governors made a very strong stance at the last quarter by holding the base rate at 0.75% but the money markets are, I would suggest, predicting a downturn with long-term fixed rate pricing at rock-bottom. So is it now time to fix long-term if your business can afford it? Farmers always have to think long-term and farm as if they will live forever. With AMC offering up to 30 years fixed money it will be hugely tempting to lock in an exceptionally low rate guaranteed not to change and without any breaks or renewals for the long term. The risk is that, should the borrower have to repay the loan early, there could be significant breakage costs even if the rate is exceptionally low. On the plus side, fixing long-term allows a business to budget for the future. So all the predictions in the past 10 years that the Bank of England would raise interest rates were incorrect. But will we ever see this change in the future? Looking at the Bank of Japan base rate suggests the answer could be no. Japan had one of the world’s most evolved and fast-growing economies towards the end of the last century, yet, following a significant economic downturn their central bank base rate dropped below 1% and has not risen for more than 30 years. What does this tell us about where our own economy is going? I don't know, but one sure thing is that there is no point in asking economists because they don’t know either. We live in interesting times but, as sure as the sun rises and sets daily, we will always need food production and the demand for land will continue to remain strong indefinitely. Following the crash of 2008 the investments changed quickly from stocks and shares to gold and land which are usually seen as safe havens. Should the economy fall into recession in the near future is this likely to push up the value of land? I doubt if land can rise much further and still be economically viable if servicing 50% debt on it, but I predict we will not see a fall in land prices as the increasing population across the world will always need to be fed. robert.taylor@galbraithgroup.com 07585 901847

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Releasing the value of a landholding Gareth Taylor explains how landowners can use their assets to benefit from higher yield investments.

FARMLAND has always been seen as a safe investment – there is only a certain amount of it and no-one, in Britain at least, is making any more of it. However, despite proven long-term capital appreciation, the majority of rural landowners don’t hold it as an income-producing investment asset; they own it as a way of life or for the enjoyment it brings, for farming, sport, and often because their families have lived there and shaped the land for generations. Whatever the reason for ownership, it does not mean this underlying asset can’t be working for them in different ways. It is not a new concept, but many owneroccupiers are diversifying their interests into alternative higher yield investments while retaining ownership, and this can be achieved through the release of capital and sourcing finance. Bank of England base rates remain low and agricultural finance is as competitive as ever, while at the same time there is greater interest from traditional institutional investors seeking long-term, low-risk investments to match pension liabilities. At conservative levels, capital released at low interest rates can be re-deployed into higher yielding projects. These could be on the owned land – perhaps a wind turbine investment – or further afield, such as a commercial property investment (retail, offices or industrial), but this has to come with a health warning of taking properly considered advice on appropriate exposure, structuring and asset management. At present, lenders appear to be happy to secure against land, provided a solid business case can be put forward. In addition to providing valuations to owners and occupiers, Galbraith sit on the valuation panels for most major lenders (in addition to having dedicated AMC agents). Our commercial team offers a full spectrum of services including investment identification and acquisition, portfolio advice, asset management, building surveying and property management. The current commercial market is polarised. Prime secure long income investments are attracting strong pricing resulting in yields of between 4.5% and 6.5%. For more experienced investors with a greater risk profile returns of 8% to 10% can be obtained from secondary property or other assets with shorter income streams where asset management is required. gareth.taylor@galbraithgroup.com 0131 240 6962

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Understanding specialist woodland insurance Damage to woodland can be costly. Louise Alexander explains what insurance is available.

ALMOST all landowners will have their woodlands included on their public liability insurance to protect against claims from members of the public using these areas. However, there are also specific ‘woodland’ insurance policies available from a small number of specialist providers. So what can be covered through these policies and how can you tailor them to get maximum benefits without paying over the odds? Two main types of cover are available: fire and windblow.

Fire cover Fire cover will pay out for damage caused to trees by wildfires or arson. It will not cover any damage caused by a ‘controlled’ fire on the policy holder’s land becoming an ‘uncontrolled’ fire. However, a neighbour’s muirburn which gets onto the policyholder’s property would be covered. Fire is generally a more significant risk to young trees which can become completely engulfed and are more likely to die, whereas mature trees can survive quick moving fires and are more likely to be left with at least part of the crown alive. Fires can also have an impact on infrastructure such as deer fences, which needs to be considered when calculating the insured value. Some policies will also pay for firefighting costs, including helicopters, if they are deemed necessary by the fire officer in charge. Fire cover is generally relatively inexpensive, however it can Page 6 | Rural Matters | Winter 2019/2020 | galbraithgroup.com

also be targeted by only covering the most “at risk” woodlands. These would generally be: • young plantations, • woodlands in and around towns, particularly where there is a history of incidents of arson, • woodlands immediately adjacent to muirburn hills.

Windblow cover Damage caused by wind is called windblow. Windblow insurance is designed to protect landowners from the loss of income caused by large scale windblow events. There is usually a minimum claim value so these policies are only really designed for significant windblow areas, not individual trees or small pockets. With modern harvesting machinery, windblown timber can be harvested and brought out to sale but it may still lose value in a variety of ways: • the working costs of windblow are higher than normal, • windblow timber can be split and twisted so it may be downgraded from log quality to chip quality, • windblown timber may be premature so there is a loss of the additional value and weight it would have added if it had grown to commercial maturity. Most windblow policies are now designed so that the policyholder retains the value of the windblow timber when it is sold. The insurance payment is therefore a top-up which is designed to compensate for the value lost as outlined


Finding a way through a landscape of uncertainty Tom Warde-Aldam explores strategies for survival in a fast-changing world. COMMENTATORS from all sides are predicting fundamental change in the rural sector, and landowners frequently ask us what they should be doing in the current landscape of uncertainty. So can the status quo survive the current range of issues we all face? Clearly not entirely. There is no room for complacency, but economic momentum continues, arguably masking many immediate concerns.

Windblown timber can still be harvestable, but it may lose value.

Most of the current uncertainty arises from the ongoing Brexit morass, but other wider questions highlight fundamental changes in attitudes, particularly towards environmental concerns. Extreme weather events help to emphasise questions about sustainability and how to achieve a zero-carbon economy. These issues in turn provide a platform for more focused attacks on existing business assumptions. Witness the current growing antipathy to red meat and animal products generally. Social media has helped to accelerate the growth of a multiplicity of singleissue pressure groups.

discredited. In the face of widespread concern, Government ministers promise “full support” for what may be beleaguered sectors of the agricultural industry, but as yet, there is no detail on this, nor confidence that it can be delivered quickly and efficiently. There must also be an underlying concern that agriculture may simply be a minor pawn in a much bigger trade war. How should we be reacting to all of these threats? As ever, there is no magic wand. Everyone’s circumstances are unique. Those in the best position to survive and prosper will have a clear grasp of their current circumstances and will be able to anticipate problems and react quicker and more positively. Where there is adversity there will inevitably be opportunity. Landowners need to be prepared to embrace positive and radical thinking. For the time being, they will still own the same resources, but these may need to be deployed into different markets.

above. It may also pay something towards getting aerial photos of damaged areas and the management time spent in responding to windblow. Young trees are generally not covered for windblow until they are 21 years old as they are not a significant risk. Some insurance providers also set an upper limit of 50 years old, however this can exclude commercial pine and fir plantations which are operating on longer rotations. It is worth checking with the insurer in advance to make sure that they cover an appropriate age range. Growing conditions can have a significant impact on the risk of windblow. Woodlands at higher elevations and on waterlogged soils are more likely to to be impacted. For inaccessible woodlands at high risk of windblow, it is worth factoring in the difficulty of re-establishing these woodlands when calculating an appropriate insurance value. To get the best out of these policies it is important to tailor the insurance cover to the specific risks in each woodland. As these risks change through time it is important to review your insurance carefully each year. An up-to-date stock map is also vital to ensure that you can clearly identify any areas where you need to claim.

louise.alexander@galbraithgroup.com 01463 245 381

Good land agents still retain the breadth of knowledge which is key to nimble and creative thinking.

Seemingly secure markets are now threatened by changes not only to international tariffs, but also by more fundamental market shifts. What do these industries need to do? They must be proactive and modify their marketing pitch, and hopefully they will, but any pushback will not happen overnight. A three-year preoccupation with Europe has caused a major backlog in Government policy. In England we have outline proposals for BPS (Basic Payment Scheme) subsidy change, but no apparent progress on its ELMS (Environmental Land Management System) replacement. There have been consultations on tax “simplification” and tenancy reform, all of which could undermine fundamental givens. In the background to this, the current agri-environment scheme process and general payment regime has become widely

Tradition may not be the best byword. Poor agricultural land may need to be turned into woodland. Expensive sporting lodges, if devoid of quarry, may need to attract a new clientele more interested in other outdoor pursuits and entertainment. To survive and prosper, we will all need to develop creative solutions. The land agency profession is in the best position to support and advise landowners on the way forward. Advice from other professionals is valuable, but experience suggests that the legal and accountancy professions may have become too specialist and risk-averse to be able to see the wider picture and to lead the level of change which will be required in the next few years. Good land agents still retain the breadth of knowledge which is key to nimble and creative thinking.

tom.warde-aldam@galbraithgroup.com 01434 405960

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THE restoration of the historic Dalmeny Estate walled garden has resulted in the birth of an award-winning new vermouth. Wermod Dry Great British Vermouth, the creation of Lady Jane Kaplan and her husband Michael, has already won national and international awards and is served in some of the UK’s leading bars. It was as the Rosebery Estates began the restoration of the historic one-hectare Dalmeny walled garden that the potential to make use of its natural produce became apparent. At the same time, the activities of the estates were under a process of review and diversification in which Lady Jane, daughter of the Earl of Rosebery, was closely involved. She has just finished overseeing the conversion of Barnbougle Castle into the first of several exclusive-use venues. Lady Jane takes up the story: “The walled garden is more than 200 years old and was very hightech for its time – it had an integral gravity-fed watering system, coal-heated flues within the walls and fabric sails to protect the plants from frost. The garden produced food and flowers for the household and exotic fruits, especially pineapple, were very much in demand in that period. "Last year we brought in Mangalitza pigs to clear weeds and eat the windfall apples. Flowers, fruit and pork from the walled garden are now being used at Rosebery Estate venues – although not yet pineapples! “The restoration might take eight years to complete, but herbs were already thriving in the walled garden, alongside the established fruit trees and flowers. This setting was the inspiration for our vermouth. While these botanicals could be used in making a gin, we felt that other estates

A ‘manly spirit’ from a historic walled garden James Bowie talks to the creators of an award-winning vermouth made in Scotland – and learns about the drink’s surprisingly British origins.

Vermouth was enjoyed in England and Scotland long before it became synonymous with the Alpine regions of Italy and France.

in Scotland were already producing gin and we wanted to do something different, making use of the wonderful resources we have here.” Her husband, Michael, is a writer and historian and his love of research proved of great benefit in creating the new drink. “The tradition of vermouth is actually thoroughly British: it is an ancient drink,” he said. “The word wermod, from which vermouth derived, is AngloSaxon and means ‘manly spirit’ or ‘courage’. The alcohol was used originally to preserve the herbs – medicinal herbs were of huge importance – but then vermouth came to be drunk for pleasure, as it should be! “Vermouth was enjoyed in England and Scotland long before it became synonymous with the Alpine regions of Italy and France. In fact, we have richer, more varied soil here, perfect for the multitude of herbs that go into fine foods and spirits.” The herbs are picked by hand and then laid out on trays to be dried slowly in temperature-

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Michael Kaplan with a bottle of Wermod on the Dalmeny Estate, and, below, Lady Jane in the recently restored Barnbougle Castle.

controlled conditions so that the delicate aromas are not lost. After drying, each herb is coldinfused in wine and spirit in glass vessels; the infusions are then filtered and blended for bottling. There is no mechanical stirring and no heat is applied, as this could destroy fresh flavours and produce a tannic after-taste. A blend of 24 herbs goes into each bottle of vermouth, with an emphasis on the harmonious mix of flavours which gives the drink its complexity – grassy, fresh, floral, bitter, warm and earthy. No sugar is added; the sweetness comes from plants such as the familiar weed sticky willie or cleavers. The herbs are grown on the estate and the wine used as the base comes from England. Jane and Michael carry out every aspect of the herb growing, production, bottling and sales process themselves, creating 600 bottles in each batch. The couple also designed the branding for the bottle, based on the crest of the Rosebery family: a lion holding a primrose. Primrose is the family name of the Earls of Rosebery and primroses are one of the herbs in Wermod Dry. Michael continued: “To qualify as a vermouth, a drink must be wine-based, must have wormwood as a key ingredient and must be fortified to between 15 and 21 per cent alcohol. It was

great fun during the months when we were perfecting the recipe, as we had to have regular tasting sessions!” As implausible as it sounds, the very first batch produced on the estate won a Gold prize at the World Vermouth Awards. Since then Wermod Dry has also won a Great Taste award from the Guild of Fine Food. As well as being served in Rosebery venues, it is now stocked in the bar of The Savoy Hotel in London and about 40 fine dining restaurants and bars and sold direct via premium off-licences. It is a very versatile drink which can be enjoyed on its own as an aperitif, or as a spritz, a cocktail ingredient or in place of wine when cooking. The couple’s aim was to create something that was distinctive, true to the origins of vermouth, and could offer a commercial opportunity for the estate. We can safely say they have been successful on all fronts. Congratulations – we raise a glass to you!

james.bowie@galbraithgroup.com 01786 434605

For more information about Wormod, visit www.great-british-vermouth.com

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One man's trash is another's treasure Charlotte Maclean explains how a potentially expensive problem for an urban-fringe estate has been turned to advantage.

THERE are many postives for an estate with a rural but urbanfringe location. There are also potentially alarming negatives for the landowner – though nothing that can’t be put right with the help of an experienced land agent. Such is the case for Caledonian Estate, north of Glasgow, which stretches from the outskirts of Kirkintilloch in the east to Milngavie in the west, and Bishopbriggs in the south to Lennoxtown in the north. When Galbraith was appointed to take over the estate management one of the potentially high-risk attributes identified was an old landfill site next to one of the estate farms. It had been operated by a company which had gone out of business. They had taken in more material than their landfill

The process took many years to get through all the layers of consents and negotiations.

licence allowed, which meant they were in contravention of both their planning consent and SEPA licencing. SEPA were putting pressure on the estate to have the site reinstated to an acceptable condition, which came with an eyewatering price tag. As a more palatable alternative to the estate undertaking the restoration themselves, Galbraith worked closely with a local construction firm to secure a new planning consent, SEPA licence, and agreed lease terms. This meant that the firm could operate the site, recycle much of the old material which had been deposited there, bring in other material from their construction sites elsewhere, and cap off and restore the landfill site afterwards. The complexity of the issue meant this process took many years to get

through all the necessary layers of consents and lease negotiations, but ultimately the site became operational once more in late 2017. Caledonian Estate appointed a specialist landfill engineer to monitor the operation and ensure that the specialised terms of the SEPA licence and planning consent were being adhered to. Through the feedback from these inspections, the estate is confident that the site is now being very well run, and that at the end of the lease they will be given back a properly landscaped site, which can safely be grazed by livestock. This is great news for all stakeholders. First, the estate has escaped a potentially astronomical bill to restore the site itself and, through Galbraith’s advice, will achieve restoration of the site at minimal cost. Second, through the lease, the construction firm has acquired material deposited on site by the previous operators, which can be broken up and recycled for use as base material on their other construction sites. By operating the site itself, it has a lower-cost alternative for disposal of waste material from its other sites, compared to expensive disposal via a third-party landfill site. Third, local residents will no longer have to look out over the eyesore of the un-capped site holding large quantities of waste rubble, but will instead ultimately look out over a well-landscaped vista of rolling grassland. Finally, the wider environment and local wildlife will ultimately benefit from the site being cleaned up and properly capped. The moral of the story? Using managing agents who can come up with unconventional solutions, and have the patience to persevere through difficult circumstances to achieve an optimal solution can pay dividends in the long run.

charlotte.maclean@galbraithgroup.com 01786 434603

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Closer to approach Willie Beattie looks at the pros and cons of continuous cover forestry. CONTINUOUS cover forestry (CCF) is based on the principle of using ‘close to nature’ methods of forestry. Ideally, this means thinning woodlands and/or very small felling sites and encouraging natural regeneration to secure the next generation of trees. These methods are commonly used on the continent and they are becoming increasingly popular here in Scotland. The silvicultural benefits of CCF are well documented. It naturally encourages diversification of species and ages within a woodland which increases its resilience to climate change, pests and diseases. The small scale of the interventions also protects the soils and reduces the impact of operations on local communities and wildlife. CCF management can also produce very high quality timber as it is usually grown on a longer rotation than standard commercial rotations. However, the economic benefits of CCF management are less clearly understood. The increase in the quality of timber is hard to quantify and is offset to some extent by the increase in the rotation length. There are clear cost savings in terms of not having to carry out restocking but there are also higher costs in terms of increased deer control;


nature: A different to woodland management possible cleaning or non-commercial thinnings of young crops; and increased road infrastructure requirements. In practice, adopting CCF is a completely different management strategy which results in a totally different pattern of income and expenditure. As more estates have been applying CCF principles over a good number of years, we are starting to build a better understanding of the long term financial model of CCF management. The traditional clear fell and restock methods produce high peaks of income when clear felling is carried out followed within five years by high peaks of expenditure as the woodland is restocked. In contrast, CCF management tends to produce a more continual flow of income. The income from interventions is generally smaller but more frequent and the expenditure is also more consistent. We have found that CCF management can be a very good fit for estates looking to create a longer term low-level income stream from their woodlands. There are a number of barriers to making CCF a realistic option for management: • There needs to be sufficient scale of woodland to ensure that thinning can be carried out regularly without overcutting the woodland i.e. it needs to be sustainable. • There needs to be sufficient access, or initial capital to improve access, such that timber lorries can frequently access all parts of the woodland.

• Ideally there should at least be some woodland which has the potential to produce high quality timber so that good prices can be achieved for mature crops. • Woodlands must be sufficiently stable so thinning does not cause the risk of wind blow – generally this means slightly sheltered woodlands and avoiding woodlands on waterlogged soils. • The sites should not be too fertile. Highly fertile sites are more difficult to manage for natural regeneration as the weed completion is more intense. • The deer pressure also needs to be low enough so that seedlings can mature to pole stage trees without significant damage. Advanced regeneration (i.e. the young trees already regenerating on a site) are the best indication that this is feasible.

CCF management can be a very good fit for estates looking to create a longer term low-level income stream.

CCF management continues to grow in popularity in Scotland. Although it is not suitable everywhere, as more and more foresters have experimented with it, it seems to be appropriate in more situations than initially thought. Estate owners in particular might be attracted to the idea of a long term income from forestry rather than the highs and lows of clear felling. CCF management is certainly an option that should be considered by all woodland owners.

willie.beattie@galbraithgroup.com 01463 245 388

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Cardross Estate – covering 4,500 acres between the Lowlands and the Highlands – occupies a commanding position above the River Forth with spectacular views in all directions. Cardross is a blend of tenanted farms, grazing lets, holiday cottages, commercial and residential property lets, a tenanted shoot, commercial forestry, and a thriving events business. Alastair Orr Ewing tells Rural Matters how the estate sees its past, present and future.

Cardross: Taking the long-term view Rural Matters: Cardross is involved in a number of different ongoing activities. How do you manage the various elements of the estate? Alastair Orr Ewing: Our first priority is to uphold and enhance the reputation of Cardross. We have excellent relationships with our tenants and the local community and these ties are incredibly important to us. My parents and I especially appreciate that whilst Cardross is a responsibility, we are very lucky to have such an amazing place to enjoy. It is very important to find ways of sustainably and viably opening up Cardross for the enjoyment of others too. In common with any rural business we have to balance the need to generate an income on a day-to-day basis while ensuring that we manage our exposure to risk, preserve the long-term value of our main assets and build good opportunities for the future. Our starting point is to look at what we have on the estate already and to consider how we can make each element better – more efficient, more productive, more sustainable, more relevant to customers and suppliers. Each element of our operation impacts to a greater or lesser extent on the other activities and we need to always be mindful of the whole. For example, if we expanded our events operation significantly it may potentially have a detrimental effect on the farmland, so we would always take a view based on the long-term benefits for all aspects of the business. RM: Do you think things have changed significantly since the days when your father was running the estate? AOE: The process of diversification began at least 20 years ago. My parents introduced the holiday cottages which are becoming an increasingly important part of our business and they have also run a B&B business out of the main house for 15 years. Over the last three years I have focused more consistently on diversification and with the help of Galbraith have identified where there

are new opportunities and where we can fine-tune our existing operations. One example of this is that Galbraith has helped us review our let agricultural land and as a result we have used different methods of letting and managing the land, something we are continuing to review. Diversification includes not just exploring new avenues of opportunity but also taking a more entrepreneurial view of existing businesses. RM: Do you think the current political and economic climate is more challenging for landowners in Scotland than was the case for previous generations? AOE: Economically, I think every generation has its challenges. It’s a case of making the best plan you can for the particular obstacles and opportunities you face. Politically it could be said to be challenging on a national level but on a local level we try to work closely with the local authority and public sector organisations. In terms of the way we interact with our tenants, it’s not the landlord-tenant relationship of bygone times; we are providing a service to paying customers and we seek to ensure they are satisfied with that service. Over and above that principal, we are aware that with happy tenants a thriving community is created, who then support Cardross as a whole. RM: Cardross is committed to conservation and wildlife. How do you see that fitting with the other activities of the estate? AOE: Flander’s Moss, the largest lowland raised bog in Europe and internationally important as a habitat for specialist plants and animals, is on part of the estate. It is open to visitors as a National Nature Reserve and managed by Scottish National Heritage. Perhaps because of the importance of Flander’s Moss, we have always been committed to conservation as a family. Many of our activities are either of themselves environmentally friendly or promote local businesses which are committed to a low carbon footprint.

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I don’t see a dichotomy between environmental activities and incomegeneration. The fact is that there are commercial opportunities from the increasing public interest in sustainable products and services. We hosted the first Scottish Wild Food Festival earlier this year. This brought together artisan food and drink producers from across Scotland and included workshops and talks on healthy living, plus educational wildlife walks. We already work closely with local food and drink producers and include their products in our welcome hampers for guests at the cottages. There has been a resurgence of interest in high-quality food and drink in Scotland recently, which is a great boon to tourism. Two of our tenants have created new rural businesses – one has created a cosy shepherd’s hut for short breaks and another is converting a barn into a space which can host workshops and retreats, with hands-on demonstrations of activities practiced for hundreds of years on Scottish smallholdings, including bread making, fabric dyeing, fermentation, and goat and cow milking. We were pleased to support them as they develop their own business ventures. RM: Cardross has been the venue for


Alastair Orr Ewing, left, says his priority is to uphold the reputation of Cardross Estate, which includes the largest lowland raised bog in Europe, Flander’s Moss, far right.

the Doune the Rabbit Hole festival for seven years now, attended by 6,000 people in 2019. How have you facilitated the event? AOE: The relationship with the music festival organiser is very good – my preference is to collaborate with potential customers and be flexible. I see it as a long-term partnership offering mutual benefit. While we cannot sustain a financial loss for several consecutive years, we can be flexible in the beginning and take a long-term view. This has really paid off in terms of the music festival which was quite low-key at the beginning but has gone from strength to strength. This year the headline acts included The Wailers and Sister Sledge and a huge programme of events for all ages runs alongside the music – everything from yoga to theatre, political debates, DJing workshops and fire performers. The region benefits from the festival because all the hotels and B&Bs in the local area are completely booked up and it is a good opportunity for local performers and providers of food and drink. The local taxi companies are also kept busy. In 2019, the festival’s economic impact assessment is expected to demonstrate almost £1.5 million local economic impact, and £2 million of Scottish

national impact from the event, pushing a huge £4 million total economic impact across the UK, which is astounding. The Guardian named Doune the Rabbit Hole as one of the top 10 family-friendly festivals in the whole of the UK in 2019, which was very pleasing. RM: The estate is an absolutely beautiful setting for a wedding with glorious parkland and amazing views, have you explored this as an opportunity? AOE: We have dipped our toe into this sphere of activity but we have deliberately moved quite slowly. For the happy couple, it’s the most important day of their life, so it’s important to get it right. Most of our demand came from those looking for a wedding for 40-50 people. We have now created a beautiful reception space, The Byre, to suit that size of party and the first wedding there was in September 2019. It’s a beautiful and very private location so that our neighbours will not be disturbed. Guests can stay overnight in the holiday cottages. We also offer larger events in a marquee on the lawn and the marriage ceremonies themselves can be held in the main house. Our first larger wedding will be held outside the house in May 2020. RM: What does the future hold for Cardross? AOE: In the immediate future, there will

be some filming taking place on the estate for a TV series, and more events – we are hosting a Canicross event, which is a combination of cross country running and dog walking, which certainly sounds fun! We are also looking to start our own food festival event called Taste of the Trossachs in the near future to highlight the firstclass food and drink available in the area from local producers, restaurants and farms. We will be introducing our new Glamping Pods for visitors from next year. We are running that business as a joint venture with a third party who are providing the pods and will profit share with them, reducing our exposure to risk. Currently we have a high level of demand for our holiday lets between April and September. The aim is to increase our occupancy throughout the year. In the longer term we hope to continue to work closely with our customers, suppliers and the local community as a vibrant rural business. Galbraith has worked with Cardross since 2014 with James Bowie acting as the estate factor. Cardross has drawn on additional Galbraith services including GIS mapping, forestry, planning and building surveying.

galbraithgroup.com | Rural Matters | Winter 2019/2020 | Page 13


Code chaos continues Mike Reid finds there has been little progress in getting the Electronic Communications Code to work.

THE Digital Economy Act 2017 introduced a new Electronic Communications Code to make it easier for network operators to install and maintain apparatus, such as radio masts, on public and private land. Almost two years later you would expect some clarity on how the code would work in practice as well as new agreements being put in place to progress the Government’s objectives of better mobile connectivity, but the reverse has been the case. Deployment of new sites and lease renewals have almost completely stalled. The code introduced new provisions and it will take time for all parties to adjust to these changes. One of the most controversial aspects of the new code has been the revised assessment of the rent, now called site payment. Whereas previously this was a market rent it is now assessed on the combination of a consideration and compensation payment.

Site payments Operators are assessing the site payment based on the underlying value of the land by taking an equivalent rental return from a whole farm and then apportioning a pro rata payment to the – relatively small – site area required. There have been no definitive Tribunal cases to give clarity on the correct level of any site payment but the Upper Tribunal case of CTIL v Compton Beauchamp Estates made comments on the assessment of a green field site payment. The Tribunal confirmed that it was unconvinced by the operator’s pro rata site payment assessment, commenting that “this exercise inevitably results in a tiny sum when converted to a leasehold annual figure”. However, this is still the approach we are seeing from many operators before they offer an additional small uplift to try to obtain an agreement. It is these site payment offers that are causing the most resistance and resentment from landowners to new sites.

Lease terms Landowners are being approached by operators requesting new leases and lease renewals. These approaches for a consensual agreement can appear quite aggressive with the operator often threatening the use of code powers if agreement cannot be reached. The terms proposed by the operators often give them more rights than are granted by the code and limit their liabilities while confirming their proposals are in line with the code. Whereas the parties cannot contract out of the code and while additional rights can be granted, some approaches make these additional rights look like standard provisions of the code rather than being of additional benefit to the operator.

Negotiated settlements In practice, it is possible to achieve a negotiated code agreement which grants the operator the powers they need but also significantly protects the landowner’s position. However, negotiations stall over the site payment that is being offered, which in most cases is seen as being well below

Page 14 | Rural Matters | Winter 2019/2020 | galbraithgroup.com

the figure that the landowner considers reasonable for the rights to be granted.

Redevelopment Due to the level of site payment offered, landowners often now look to resist having a telecommunication mast on their land whereas previously they generally welcomed them for the additional income and coverage they provided. Landowners can bring a code agreement to an end if they intend to redevelop all or part of the land to which the code agreement relates or any neighbouring land and couldn’t reasonably do so unless the code agreement comes to an end. The Upper Tribunal case of EE Limited and Hutchison 3G UK Limited v The Trustees of the Meyrick Estate Management Trust considered this issue where the Meyrick Estate was proposing to erect its own mast for estate broadband coverage and proposed the operators should share the mast. The Tribunal found that the Meyrick Estate’s plans were conceived in order to defeat the operators’ claims for code rights being implemented rather than having a viable development scheme.


Opting to tax: applications for rural properties Annie Lane reports on a farm steading sale that avoided VAT.

WE WOULD always recommend seeking advice from a chartered accountant but we thought it might be helpful to share a recent experience involving a little-known tax rule. Our instruction involved the sale of a farm steading owned by our client. The steading sat on the edge of our client’s estate, so the building was not deemed to be an integral part of the estate and therefore disposal would not have a detrimental effect on the estate as a whole. The building comprised a stone-built steading under a slate roof next to the public road and on the periphery of a local town. It had been used for farming in the past but was not suitable for modern agricultural purposes and no longer used as part of the farm. Along with the rest of the farm the building had been opted to tax. Put simply, opting to tax land and buildings has the effect of being able to reclaim

VAT on costs, but equally VAT is chargeable on rent and sales. There were two key points in disposing of the steading: 1. The subjects comprised a building intended for conversion to a dwelling, as opposed to a plot of land, 2. The purchaser was intending to occupy the building as their own residence. As a result, the purchaser, via their solicitor, was able to complete an HMRC “certificate to disapply option to tax” which they provided to the seller with the result that VAT was not chargeable on the sale of the building. The offer had been submitted inclusive of VAT, and it would have been reduced by 20% if VAT had been applicable, so the effect of the certificate was that the full value of the offer was achieved by our client, maximising the capital released for various works and improvements to other properties on the estate.

annie.lane@galbraithgroup.com 01738 456067

The road to compensation Therefore, for a landlord to terminate a code agreement in this way, the development plans must be genuine and not linked to the application for code powers by the operator or be an attempt to frustrate the implementation of code powers.

Professional fees The reasonable professional fees incurred by a landowner for progressing a code agreement should be payable by the telecoms operators so anyone affected by a new code approach or lease renewal should obtain professional advice on the terms and implications of any agreement.

Cracking the code Whereas we expect further Tribunal cases later this year, the key to cracking the code is an appropriate level of site payment. Once this has been agreed the market will start to move again, bringing increased connectivity to the UK. But compromise will be required from both sides in order to find a way forward. mike.reid@galbraithgroup.com 01334 659 984

Landowners affected by major road schemes should seek professional advice, says Richard Haggart. A NUMBER of ambitious infrastructure projects are currently being undertaken across the UK. These include upgrading the A9 between Perth and Inverness to dual carriageway – due to be completed by 2025 – the dualling of the A96 between Aberdeen and Inverness and major upgrades to the A69, a trans-Pennine route in the North of England. These schemes will bring many benefits for road users, communities and businesses, but they will also cause major disruption and long-term problems for those in their path. As a firm we have many years experience of offering advice to property owners affected by such schemes, and we are acting for a number of owners and occupiers impacted by the A9 and A96 schemes. We have successfully negotiated compensation claims with the highway authority for ground investigations and land-take valuations as part of the compulsory purchase order (CPO) process.

Landowners and occupiers can obtain advice on crop loss and access arrangements at the relevant highway authority’s expense. Over and above the negotiations with the highway authority (Transport Scotland, north of the Border) there may also be opportunities for landowners and occupiers of land neighbouring the CPO area to benefit from agreements with the successful contractor for a variety of uses such as temporary compounds, topsoil stores, turning circles, mineral extraction for aggregates and creation of temporary sites for workforce accommodation. Rents for temporary sites can be very attractive, but provision must be made for items such as reinstatement at the end of the agreement. Galbraith has experience in negotiation with a variety of contractors and third parties on a wide range of additional land uses and access rights. Our Geographic Information System (GIS), provides us with a database of shortterm land rental agreements and temporary compound rates, giving us a strong negotiating position with third parties.

richard.haggart@galbraithgroup.com 01786 434635

galbraithgroup.com | Rural Matters | Winter 2019/2020 | Page 15


All the fun of the farm open day But there’s a lot of hard work behind the scenes, as Charlotte Maclean explains.

WHEN our marketing manager forwarded a circular asking whether anyone had a client who might be interested in hosting an Open Farm Sunday event, I had just come from a meeting with Caledonian Estate, where I’d been asked for “blue sky thinking” to help promote the estate within the local community. Taking part seemed like a no-brainer; after all, how hard can it be to host an open farm event? That was back in 2017 and since then we have facilitated the Estate’s hosting of two successful events, the most recent in 2019. Both have been harder to organise than we initially expected, but they have been hugely rewarding in terms of the benefit to our client in opening up their business to the public and in educating local people about farming and life on a rural estate.

What was very apparent on the day was the exemplary relationship the estate enjoys with its tenants and neighbours.

For both events, we helped our client to put together their entertainment licence, which included traffic management plans, arranging suitable toilet and hand-washing facilities on site, appropriate signage, suitably qualified caterers and so on. On both occasions, the client has given a budget to work towards and a steer on how they see the day unfolding and Galbraith have led on putting this vision into practice, with help from many others. We have also been the main liaison point between the various parties who have kindly brought along livestock, machinery, information and activities on the day, and have headed up the health and safety responsibility and ensured important aspects such as costs and insurance are taken into account. Caledonian’s home farm, Easter Cadder, is an ideal venue in many respects. It is 15 minutes from Glasgow, it has ample flat car parking, a completely concreted yard for disabled/pushchair access, and multiple empty grain stores for cover out of the rain. Its main drawback for this type of event is that the estate is primarily an arable enterprise, so on most days of the year there is little to see. This means that in order to host an open farm event, everything must be brought in.

and fun demonstrations to showcase the huge variety of valuable work the estate undertakes within the local community: • Some of the agricultural tenants set up pens of cattle and sheep, gave talks on dairy and beef farming and hosted a sheep shearing demonstration. • The grain merchants came along to provide information on arable cropping. • Local farmers provided vintage and modern tractors to show the comparison in size. • The estate shooting syndicate organised a gundog demonstration, which was very well received by local children, many of whom were previously unaware of the concept of a working dog, as opposed to a pet. • The local Riding for the Disabled group, which rents grazing from the estate, hosted pony rides for the children, which also allowed them to raise funds for their charity. • The police and fire brigade came along to help educate children on rural crime issues and fire safety, and the chance to have a ride in the fire engine and take a selfie in a police hat was an added bonus! • The tree surgeons the estate uses organised a chainsawing and tree climbing demo, with children climbing up some of the trees next to the farm using ropes and harnesses. • The estate has recently signed a lease with a local forest school (see page 3) which occupies an otherwise unused area of woodland for children’s outdoor activities, and they organised various activities for the children such as using flints to make fire and decorating T-shirts using flower dyes. What was very apparent on the day was the exemplary relationship the estate enjoys with its tenants and neighbours. This is something which Galbraith works hard to sustain through our management. The estate’s farm contractors, the Wilson family, form an integral part of Caledonian’s management team and played a key part in the event’s success. The Wilsons have been a key part in the estate’s farming decision making process for more than 10 years. Along with the estate’s agronomy advisors, they bring technical knowledge and on-the-ground experience to the management team, which is highly valued. Rich Oliver of Caledonian Estate, said: “We were thrilled to host another successful LEAF Open Farm Sunday on Easter Cadder farm. There are many individuals, organisations and groups involved in the day-to-day running of the estate, and this was very apparent to all the visitors at the event. Their hard work and commitment is the reason the land remains so well utilised, and this, in turn, benefits the local economy and community.”

We therefore worked closely with the estate maintenance team and agricultural contractors to co-ordinate a variety of interesting, educational Page 16 | Rural Matters | Winter 2019/2020 | galbraithgroup.com

charlotte.maclean@galbraithgroup.com 01786 434603


Update on planning reform Jay Skinner looks at the key changes in the Planning (Scotland) Act.

INFORMED by the findings of an independent review panel and widespread consultation, the Planning (Scotland) Bill was introduced to the Scottish Parliament in December 2017. Hundreds of amendments were debated during a three-stage review process, which culminated in the Bill receiving Royal Assent and the Planning (Scotland) Act 2019 being placed on the statute book at the end of July. Some of the key changes it contains are: • extended lifespan of Local Development Plans from five to 10 years, • inclusion of the National Planning Framework in the ‘development plan’, • replacement of Strategic Development Plans with Regional Spatial Strategies, although they will carry less weight and will not be part of the ‘development plan’, • option for community bodies to prepare their own Local Place Plans, which will be a ‘material consideration’ in planning matters, • regulation of short-term holiday lets (to combat the ‘Airbnb effect’), including the introduction of defined control zones. Other proposed amendments that were debated but not taken forward into the Act included third party rights of appeal, stricter restrictions on development in the Green Belt, a requirement to obtain formal planning permission (not prior approval) for private access tracks etc. The Act is only the first step in the reform of the planning system in Scotland. It makes some significant changes, and transitional arrangements are required. The details of how the new provisions will work in practice will be contained within secondary legislation and guidance. This process will however take some time and require collaboration across all sectors with an interest in the planning system. Scotland’s Chief Planner has estimated that it will take a further two years for the new system to be up and running. The Galbraith planning team will continue to monitor the situation and ensure that our clients are fully briefed as matters progress. If you would like to discuss any of the forthcoming changes, or any other planningrelated matters, do not hesitate to get in touch.

jay.skinner@galbraithgroup.com 0131 240 6960

galbraithgroup.com | Rural Matters | Winter 2019/2020 | Page 17


Keeping up with market trends

Wheat prices, shown in the graph below, are behind those of 2018, and the picture is similar for barley (feed and malting). Malting barley prices for 2019 are under increasing pressure because a no-deal Brexit could halt exports to the EU, according to a report in Farmers Weekly. Oilseed rape is experiencing an increase in demand, thanks in part to a reduced planting area in the UK compared with last year, although the unsettled weather has left many crops stranded with the heavy rain experienced through August.

190 180 170 Price (£/tonne

As ever, farmers face uncertainty over market prices, the weather and many other factors that affect their business. Brexit has not made things easier, and forward planning has become almost impossible. Here Martin Rennie looks at year on year trends in asset pricing. Market fluctuations have led several Galbraith clients to look for other income streams to reduce risk to their business. For example, some have entered environmental schemes to add annual management income but also benefit from capital grants for fencing, hard standings and gateways. Others are looking at holiday lets, renewable projects and other diversification opportunities. The farm consultancy sector of Galbraith is expanding and we are busy with management work, subsidy advice and undertaking whole farm reviews. If your farming business requires any assistance or is looking to identify an opportunity, please don’t hesitate to contact your local office.

CROPS

160 150 140

Bread milling wheat

130

Feed & other barley

120

Feed & other wheat

110 8 8 8 8 8 9 9 9 9 9 9 201 201 201 201 201 201 201 201 201 201 201 Oct Jan Jun Apr Feb Sep Ma r Dec Nov Aug May

9 9 201 201 Jul Aug

SHEEP The Lairg sheep sale took place on the 13th of August where the 9,644 wedder lambs sold averaged £52.07 (+£0.96 on 2018), however ewe lambs were some way off 2018 prices with the 3,474 ewe lambs selling for an average of £59.51 (-£17.03 on 2018) (United Auctions, 2019). Scottish sheep meat exports to the EU accounted for 97% of Scottish sheep meat exports by value in 2018, highlighting the significance of a no deal Brexit for the Scottish sheep industry (Press and Journal, 2019). The current deadweight price for lambs as at 27 July 2019 was 340.6p/kg whereas in the previous year it was 380.4p/kg. On a 19.5kg lamb this equates to a drop of £7.76 (10.5% drop).

martin.rennie@galbraithgroup.com 01738 451111

Page 18 | Rural Matters | Winter 2019/2020 | galbraithgroup.com

Scottish lamb (deadweight) p/kg 600 550 500 450 400 350 300 Jan

Feb 2017

Mar

Apr 2018

May Jun 2019

Jul

Aug

Sep

Oct Nov Source: AHD


v Dec B 2019c

BEEF As the graph shows there has been a significant drop in steer prices which mirrors that of the Scottish beef market as a whole. This is partly attributable to a reduction in demand for primary cuts of beef, higher carcase weights increasing production and an increase in Irish cattle slaughtering. On the 27th July 2019 the deadweight steer price was 340.6 p/kg which is down 36 p/kg compared to the previous year. The store steer price however is up on the previous year with stores 12-18 months averaging £869/hd on the 3rd August which is up £43/hd on the previous year.

Scottish steers (deadweight) p/kg 395 385 375 365 355 345 335 325 Jan

Feb 2017

Mar

Apr 2018

May Jun 2019

Jul

Aug

Sep

Oct Nov Dec Source: AHDB 2019c

MILK The UK average farm-gate milk price for June 2019 was 28.09p/litre, which is up 3.3% on the previous year. As a result of the better weather conditions in the spring, production is up by 2.9% on last year across the UK (AHDB, 2019). With global consumption growing faster than supply UK dairy farms are well placed to make the most of this opportunity (AHDB, 2019d).

Average price excluding bonus (p/litre)

Jun 19

May 19

% difference

Jun 18

% difference 18-19

GB 5-year rolling average

27.23

27.30

–0.2

27.91

–2.4

GB ‘all milk’

28.43

28.09

1.2

27.11

4.8

GB excluding aligned

27.78

27.52

0.9

26.66

4.2

UK ‘all milk’

28.09

27.84

0.9

27.18

3.3

NI ‘all milk’

26.43

26.59

–0.6

27.52

–4.0

Source: Defra, RESAS, DAERA

galbraithgroup.com | Rural Matters | Winter 2019/2020 | Page 19


Tenants’ amnesty: The countdown has started Claire Wilson and James Bowie offer a timely reminder of an approaching deadline.

THE deadline for submitting a tenants’ amnesty claim, as set out in the Land Reform (Scotland) Act 2016, is fast approaching. Tenants now have less than a year to take advantage of this opportunity before the deadline of June 13, 2020. Initial interest was limited, but recent efforts by the Scottish Government and industry bodies to increase awareness of this opportunity have proved successful. Company-wide, Galbraith has witnessed a significant uptake in applications over the past six months and has been representing both tenants and landlords to prepare and review agreements. It is important that both tenants and landlords take measures to ensure agreements are accurate and include all the necessary information to avoid any

ambiguity should the agreement be required at the end of the tenancy. From experience of working for both landlords and tenants, we have noticed the importance of ensuring the items listed are eligible for the amnesty. Improvements that are included in Part 1 of Schedule 5 do not qualify for inclusion. For instance, the creation of garden grounds is a Part 1 improvement and therefore should not be included in this amnesty process. Although time consuming, it is important to review and consider historic files and correspondence which relate to the lease or improvements. This should be done prior to submitting the improvement schedule to your landlord or when reviewing a schedule received from your tenant. It is particularly important to review the repairing and renewing obligations of the lease and any Post-Lease Agreement, as this might affect whether something can be classed as an improvement. Similarly, should there be any write-off

Page 20 | Rural Matters | Winter 2019/2020 | galbraithgroup.com

agreements, objections to improvements from the landlord, rent reductions as contribution to improvements or insurance payments, it is imperative to ensure this detail is included in the Amnesty Agreement as again it can affect whether something can be considered as a tenant’s improvement or will affect the value of the improvement should the schedule be used at waygo. Each amnesty submission is nuanced and can take time, so it is important to start the process early. Although it is the responsibility of the tenant to submit the initial schedule it must then be agreed by both the landlord and tenant as per the Scottish Land Commission code of practice.

james.bowie@galbraithgroup.com 01786 434605

claire.wilson@galbraithgroup.com 01556 505 009


GroundMapper: A cartographer’s dream Annie Lane explains the benefits of Galbraith’s new system.

GALBRAITH has recently invested in re-developing its WebGIS system. The new GroundMapper system brings numerous improvements over the old WebGIS system and provides us with easy access to a wealth of information including comparative sales data, environmental designations and land ownership. The new system is being rolled out across the company and will keep Galbraith at the forefront of spatial data visualisation and manipulation for the wide variety of services we offer. Our meticulous data recording over the years has all been fed into the new system, so we – and consequently our clients – benefit from the rich, varied data resource it provides. The main benefits of the new system are: • Remote access to particular data sets can be provided to clients. • A zoom-able and pan-able map that is easy to navigate. • A range of frequently updated public domain geographic datasets (SNH designations, Hutton soils data, etc). These are managed and maintained

• • •

independently and updated frequently. Galbraith-specific ‘operational’ datasets that contain data found nowhere else on the internet. The most obvious of these is our dataset of sold farms commonly used for market comparison and our indicative landownership layer. The ability to overlay multiple datasets geographically to visualise constraints and information for a specific area. Attachment capability allowing us to upload ancillary documents to particular geographic features, for instance sales particulars and a detailed analysis spreadsheet for a sold property. Drawing, printing and measuring tools Much more flexibility over the structure of existing data layers. A fully auditable system, automatically recording the user and time of activity. Independent hosting so the provider is responsible for stability, back-ups, security and so forth.

annie.lane@galbraithgroup.com 01738 456067

Section 21: What if the law is changed? Matthew Williamson looks at proposals to extend protection for tenants.

EARLIER this year, the UK Government put forward “the biggest change to the private rental sector for a generation” in England. It is proposing changes that will prevent private landlords evicting tenants from their homes at short notice and without good reason. At present, a private landlord is able to serve a Section 21 notice after the initial fixed term has come to an end. This enables the landlord to recover possession for no stated reason. A Section 21 eviction, sometimes known as a “no-fault” eviction, can be useful for landlords if, for example, there is a change of circumstances and the house is needed for an employee or family member, or in the event that a tenant is deemed unsuitable, such as when the tenant has misused the property.

The consultation is ongoing, but if the Government moves ahead with this proposal landlords will only be able to rely on grounds contained within Schedule 2 of the Housing Act 1988 such as rental arrears, damage to the property, a breach of the tenancy agreement or the landlord requires the property to either live in it themselves or sell. At present, eviction notices which rely on these grounds can involve a protracted procedure through the courts, but the Government proposes to ensure that “the court processes will be expedited so landlords are able to swiftly and smoothly regain their property”. Scotland had similar legislation changes back in December 2017 which saw the creation of the “private residential tenancy”. This is an open-ended tenancy and will last until a tenant wishes to leave the let property or a landlord uses one of 18 grounds for eviction including rental arrears, anti-social behaviour, or the

landlord intends to renovate the property. The changes do not seem to have had a detrimental impact on residential lettings but the importance of robust referencing and professional lettings management, which Galbraith can provide, is now paramount. If the proposed changes come into force in England, landlords will need to ask themselves about their future needs when an opportunity to re-let a property arises: Will they need the property back in the future for an employee or relative? Are they prepared to let it on an open-ended tenancy? Galbraith can provide advice to landlords across the UK on such issues and also provide a full lettings service including a tenant finding service, referencing and property management service.

matthew.williamson@galbraithgroup.com 01670 789621

galbraithgroup.com | Rural Matters | Winter 2019/2020 | Page 21


PROMOTIONAL FEATURE

Protection when it matters most If you want peace of mind that you and your family would cope financially following a death or serious illness, now is the time to consider life and critical illness insurance. The insurance industry paid out a record £5 billion in protection claims in 2017 — that’s nearly £14 million every day providing financial help to families following an injury, illness or bereavement. Roshani Hewa, assistant director, head of health and protection at the Association of British Insurers, said: “A serious injury or illness can be traumatic, but with insurers paying out on more than 97% of claims, consumers can rest assured that they’ll have the support they need if the worst happens.”

Sue and Martin’s story When Sue Ansell became critically ill, it was a tough time for the whole family. Husband Martin, pensions expert at NFU Mutual, explains why having protection cover was vital. “Around 25 years ago, Sue and I were moving to another house, so we increased our mortgage to £72,000. We were asked if we would like to protect ourselves, not just in the event of dying, but also in the event of a critical illness. We thought it unlikely that both of us would ever have a critical illness at the same time so we decided to do half, £36,000 as this would cover half of the mortgage should anything happen. “Sometime later, Sue began to feel unwell. She would lose the ability to speak or understand people — just for a minute or two. We had it investigated, and the hospital told us it was a tumour in the brain, and it would kill her unless we allowed the doctors to operate. At the time, you’re facing the uncertainty of the tumour, the operation, the children — the last thing you want, on top of all that, is to have financial worries.

Another busy year on the show circuit The Galbraith events calendar is busier than ever, says Robyn Mitchell.

“Luckily, the critical illness cover did exactly what it said on the tin. It gave us a lump sum that allowed us to rely on one income rather than the two. The pressure of the mortgage was eased and it took away such a great part of the worries we faced.

NORMALLY as we go to print with the winter edition of Rural Matters we are nearing the end of our show and event season. This year, however, we find ourselves with a calendar that is full all year round so we still have many more events to come. We have had a very busy and successful 2019 so far, having already attended well over 35 shows and events from the Royal Highland Show and The Game and Wildlife Conservation Trust Scottish Game Fair to Moy Highland Field Sports Fair, Fife Show and Stewartry Show.  Our busiest show of the season is the Royal Highland, and this year was another roaring success. We met many new and existing clients, strengthening

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Children’s charities can make ideal rural tenants, says Charlotte Maclean.

Our Agents are appointed representatives of The National Farmers Union Mutual Insurance Society Limited (No. 111982). Registered in England. Registered Office: Tiddington Road, Stratford upon Avon, Warwickshire, CV37 7BJ. Authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority. A member of the Association of British Insurers. For security and training purposes, telephone calls may be recorded and monitored.

Page 22 | Rural Matters | Winter 2019/2020 | galbraithgroup.com

THE thought of a large farmhouse coming back in-hand can fill some landowners with dread. Ever increasing legislation surrounding residential tenancies means the cost of bringing them up to modern letting standards can be high, particularly if they have been occupied by long-term tenants. The introduction of Private Residential Tenancies in Scotland last year, effectively giving tenants security of tenure, is a further deterrent to many residential landlords. For many of our clients in the central


Showtime! From left: Players from Edinburgh Ruby and their community team joined Galbraith at the Royal Highland Show; staff at the Galbraith bridge at the Royal Highland Show; and David Corrie presenting a prize at the Galbraith Stirling Bull Sales.

our relationships and hopefully building some new ones. As sponsors of Edinburgh Rugby, we were once again to be joined by players on our marquee and this led to appearances from Jack Stanley, David Cherry, Lewis Carmichael and Murray McCallum. The Edinburgh Rugby Community Team was also on hand to pull in the crowds with reaction tests and a sled-pull challenge. These games were extremely popular with clients, visitors and staff alike, with competition extending to United Auctions staff members and even Police Scotland joined in to try to top the leader board.  As well as being a very successful business networking event, this year’s Royal Highland Show also provided a convivial atmosphere for colleagues from our recently merged offices in Northern England to meet, mingle and get to know our clients and staff members. Another successful event was The Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust Scottish Game Fair. This year the fair was important for us not only for client interaction but also because it gave us a large platform to celebrate the re-

belt of Scotland, we have been branching out from purely residential leases for such properties and letting them on semi-commercial leases to children’s care charities. This is a good news story all round. This type of lease presents an opportunity for a strong and secure income stream to the landowner while supporting a charity helping local children. Under a purely residential tenancy, the landlord must undertake all renovation work on a speculative basis with no guarantee of a good long-term tenant on completion, but under a care-home lease, the specification of the property can be agreed up front with the charity, in the knowledge that there will be a tenant in place on a strong rent for five to 10 years. Rental levels achieved are often higher than those under a purely residential tenancy, due to the difficulty for charities of finding suitable properties

launch of our travel experience company, Ossian. We were also lucky enough to welcome Keith Brockie to our stand to launch his new book about wildlife on Glenquaich Estate, Glen of the Lapwing, and to showcase his phenomenal paintings from the Perthshire estate. Galbraith has grown this year and so has our event offering. Our recent merger with Land Factor has allowed us to broaden our market and expand into events south of the border. So far this year we have attended a number of shows in England such as Northumberland County Show, the Penrith Show and the Glendale Show and we won’t be stopping there. Agricultural shows are not the only events that we have attended as a firm. We like to have a well-rounded schedule so we attend a range of seminars and conferences such as the SLE Spring Conference in Edinburgh and more active events like the Chariots of Fire Beach Race and the Belsay Horse Trials. As well as attending events Galbraith are not shy when it comes to hosting our own. Once again we successfully hosted our annual seminar in Ayr at the start of the year on the topic of rural

on a long-term basis and the perceived risk of damage to the property. Under a well-structured lease the charity is responsible for ensuring these concerns are addressed, and both parties know who is responsible for each aspect of repairs and maintenance. The charities look for rural properties large enough to accommodate three children and at least one carer overnight, so large farmhouses are ideal. The house benefits from being well heated and maintained by the charity, which can be a concern when letting such houses under residential leases due to the relatively high running costs. The landlord is not absolved of all maintenance responsibility, but the charities often undertake some general maintenance work through their inhouse teams. In contrast to a residential lease, there is no concern over potential void periods in winter, when security and burst pipes can be a concern.

house building and we are very much looking forward to our upcoming seminar with NFU Mutual on the subject of protecting your assets. We also celebrated the success of our Elgin office by throwing a 10th birthday party for clients and staff. The show season may be coming to an end but we certainly are not slowing down. We still have the Northern Farming Conference and Agriscot to look forward to as well as another round of Galbraith Stirling Bull sales in October, where we are proud to continue as sole sponsor, as well as a number of events in London before the end of the year. It has been an exciting year for Galbraith and we owe the success of these events to the enthusiasm and energy of our staff members who volunteer each day. We are already planning and looking forward to a packed 2020 show season. Keep an eye on the events page of our website, where you will find a full list of all our events.

robyn.mitchell@galbraithgroup.com 01292 268181

One of our clients which operates such leases is Caledonian Estate, near Glasgow. It has one tenancy to a care charity which has been in place for more than 10 years and is negotiating with another charity over substantial renovation of a former farmhouse, which will be let to house three children for 10 years. Caledonian Estate’s Rich Oliver said: “We are delighted that through our tenancy to the care charities, we are in a position to offer these young people somewhere they can call home. The cost of the renovations required to the house are substantial, and as a business, it is reassuring to know that we have a secure long-term tenancy agreed before committing such expenditure.”

charlotte.maclean@galbraithgroup.com 01738 451600

galbraithgroup.com | Rural Matters | Winter 2019/2020 | Page 23


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PLUS: Farewell to FiT | Keeping the lights on after Brexit | A major boost for offshore wind | Better broadband in the Borders | Benefits of anaerobic digestion

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Rural Matters Winter 2019  

News and views on the Rural Industry in Galbraith Rural Matters Winter 2019

Rural Matters Winter 2019  

News and views on the Rural Industry in Galbraith Rural Matters Winter 2019