Farmers urged to get planning applications in now to avoid fee hike

A rise in planning fees scheduled to take place later this year could have a big impact on farms’ growth plans, according to the NFU.

The NFU is calling on members of the farming community to get their planning applications into their local authorities before the autumn to save thousands on planning fees.

Planning fees were originally meant to increase by 20 per cent in July, but this change has now been delayed by a couple of months giving farmers a longer window to submit applications.

Planning fees for agricultural buildings are based on the floor space and can range from £80 to £250,000, so an increase in costs could have a considerable effect on the viability of farmers’ future project.

The government hopes the additional money from the increased fees, when they are finally introduced, can be used to fund planning departments, while a number of local authorities have suggested they will use the money to recruit new staff to improve the efficiency of departments.

The NFU agree that it would be useful if farm applications are then determined more efficiently, but they are lobbying as excessive fees could put farmers off from applying for permissions, thus limiting their growth.

The Union added: “The Government is suggesting the additional money can be used to fund planning departments and it will consult on increasing fees further for local planning authorities who can show they are reforming their service and committing to performance improvements.

“Simpler planning rules benefit farmers and reduce local authority workloads so they don’t need to charge more.”