The Department of Food, the Environment and Rural Affairs (Defra) has recently announced the creation of 11 new Food Enterprise Zones (FEZ) where simpler planning rules and less red tape will make life easier for food producers.
Under the scheme, Local Enterprise Partnerships will work with their local planning authorities to ensure that simpler planning rules are introduced for food and farming businesses. Zones have been announced in Somerset, the South Downs, Cornwall, Cumbria, Worcestershire, Leicestershire, Cheshire, and West Sussex, with a further three in Lincolnshire. There is also the potential for the scheme to roll out more widely in the future.
According to Environment Secretary Liz Truss, the zones will unleash the entrepreneurial spirit of the countryside and food producers by freeing up food and farming businesses, making it simpler for them to grow.
She added that they will also attract new businesses and will benefit their local communities through the creation of new jobs as well as provide an opportunity to develop new local produce; thereby boosting economies, particularly in the domestic food and farming sectors.
The aim of the zones is to ensure that communities are able to grow their businesses while allowing them to protect the countryside. Furthermore, they will give power to local people, so that they can decide what kind of businesses should be allowed and where they should be located.
A Government statement said that grants of up to £50,000 will be available to set up FEZs. Based around Local Development Orders, and in line with local priorities, they will make the planning process simpler and easier for food and farming businesses that want to expand.
At Milsted Langdon, we have over 90 years’ experience of working with farmers and the agricultural industry. For further information on Milsted Langdon’s services to agricultural and rural businesses, please contact us.