Policy 20: Agricultural and land-based rural business diversification

What are we trying to achieve?

Farming is an essential part of the Lake District and we seek to ensure it has a future. We will support agricultural and land-based rural businesses to help sustain the rural economy, and maintain the character of the landscape and environment by supporting diversification.

What is the issue?

The average income from farming enterprises is low (average net farm income in 2013 was £9,594) in comparison to other industries. And the income from farming is unpredictable, easily affected by currency exchange rates, and supply and demand factors. Diversification of agricultural businesses can help to sustain existing businesses by providing more predictable revenue streams, however, diversification generally requires significant investment and commitment to a long payback period.

Our suggested approach

We will seek to continue to support diversification proposals– we will expand support to cover farming businesses, privately managed estates, and forestry businesses.

Different types of diversification proposals will be supported – in addition to our continued support for reuse of existing buildings and renewable energy proposals we will also support proposals involving new buildings and structures.

We will enable privately managed estates and forestry enterprises to diversify where they deliver public benefits.

Policy 20: Agricultural and land-based rural business diversification

We want diversification proposals for agricultural and land based rural businesses to help sustain the rural economy, and maintain the character of the landscape and environment.

Agricultural businesses

To achieve this we will support proposals that demonstrate sustainable practices and outcomes, and where they:

  • sustain the long term operation of the farm business; and
  • do not compromise the working of the farm business; and
  • are located within or well related to existing building groups; or
  • are a small-scale renewable or low carbon energy scheme.

In order for diversification schemes to benefit the farm business we will seek to tie proposals to the business, and we do not support the piecemeal stripping of assets.

Privately managed estates

Diversification proposals on privately managed estates will be supported where a proposal demonstrates sustainable practices and outcomes, and is in accordance with an up to date endorsed Estate Masterplan that delivers and secures multiple wider public benefits such as employment and enterprise opportunities, sustainable access, social and cultural facilities, environmental enhancements, and improvements to land management.

Forestry

Small-scale diversification proposals for forestry businesses will be supported where a proposal demonstrates sustainable practices and outcomes, sustains the long term operation of the business and secures multiple wider public and environmental benefits.

Have your say!

Consultation closed on 29th June. Thank you to all of those who took part. Please keep an eye on our Local Plan homepage for announcements and feedback on the consultation

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