Advice offered on future proofing North East farms through renewable energy

H&H Land and Property is joining forces with number of organisations for event in County Durham

Victoria Lancaster
Victoria Lancaster

A team of experts will be coming together to offer advice to North East farmers on securing the future of their enterprises through the right renewable energy options.

The Future Proofing for Farmers event will be held on October 16 at the Eden Arms Hotel in Rushyford, County Durham, and will cover everything from how to select energy sources to tax, legal obligations and the impact of such choices on the next generation.

Leading proceedings will be led by H&H Land and Property’s Head of Renewables, Victoria Lancaster, who will be joined by specialists from Barclays, accountants Armstrong Watson and Tilly, Bailey and Irvine (TBI) solicitors, offering a root and branch examination of alternative energy generation.

Ms Lancaster said: “We’ve organised this event to explore the various options open to farmers when they are considering renewable energy, whether that is solar, wind, biomass or anaerobic digestion.

“We’ve found that many farmers would benefit from examining the repercussions of their choices further down the line. Today’s renewable project is likely to be part of your farming business for the next 20 or 30 years.

“That’s why we are focusing on future proofing your farm, to make sure the option of your choice isn’t just right for you now, but is something that will be suitable and add value to your business in the years to come.”

Modern succession planning needs to take any energy generation options into account, whether farmers install their own systems to generate power for use on site, export electricity to the National Grid, or earn an income from companies siting equipment on their land.

Keith Johnson, a tax director at the Carlisle-based accountants Armstrong Watson, will also be discussing how renewable systems will affect a farm’s tax liabilities.

“Renewable options, whether you are looking at large-scale projects such as turbines, or commercial biomass boilers or solar panels, will all have an impact on your tax liabilities, and you need to be aware of the implications before you sign up,” he said.

“I will also be looking at the inheritance tax and capital gains tax issues that people need to be aware of, whether they have installed a renewable energy system or are considering doing so.”

Ian Cowan and Andrew Beattie of TBI Solicitors, based in Hartlepool, meanwhile, will focus on some of the important legal factors farmers should consider if they sign up with power generation firms or opt to invest in their own systems.

Often, agreements will contain some form of hidden exclusivity that could prevent any further development on the holding or neighbouring holdings. Thus, missing out on legal advice or support could have serious implications.

The event will also hear from Barclays Bank agricultural area manager John Pinches, who will discuss the finance options available for on-farm renewable energy projects, and H&H Land and Property’s Head of Planning, Tom Woof, who will look at the opportunities offered by changes to the planning system that make it easier to convert agricultural buildings into houses.

Future Proofing for Farmers, which begins at 7pm, is free to attend and a complementary pie and pea supper will be provided after the seminar.

To reserve a place, call 01228 406 260.

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