What’s in store for farmers and landowners in 2018?

There are always changes in rules and regulations each year for farmers and landowners.

Among the changes we will see this year is the new Electronic Communications Code, introduced in the Digital Economy Act 2017, which is set to come into force in early 2018.

Many farmers and landowners across the country pulled out of telecoms agreements because of the concerns over the tightening of the communications legislation.

The code will affect all telecoms agreements, including BT wayleaves, and gives operators wider powers.

We will also see the new farming rules for water coming in in April and all farmers in England will need to follow them.

The rules will:

  • promote good practice in managing fertilisers and manures
  • encourage land managers to take reasonable precautions to prevent diffuse pollution from runoff or soil erosion
  • require soil tests at least every 5 years

The Government have said they will work with farming industry partners and through existing advice channels to ensure everyone has the opportunity to understand the rules – and we will be advising affected clients throughout the year.

Soil testing will be introduced in a phased way so that testing undertaken during the four years before the rules come into effect can be taken into account.

A summary of the new rules is available here:


And we will also see the four new Countryside Stewardship offers introduced to farmers and land managers from the New Year – aiming to boost biodiversity and help protect and enhance farmland and the countryside.

Significant improvements have been made to the scheme to make it simpler and easier for farmers and land managers to apply.

Scheme handbooks with more detail on how to apply and the best options for different farms are expected to be published soon, to coincide with the application window opening, and we will advise clients on these options as well.