Northumberland farmers with pop-up campsites urged to 'tread carefully'

An agricultural expert is warning North East farmers keen to cash-in on the temporary campsite trend that they may be putting their businesses in jeopardy as they face a ‘risk minefield’.

Wednesday, 4th August 2021, 10:33 am

The number of farms offering pop-up campsites has soared this summer, boosted by a change to government planning policy and rising demand for staycations.

New regulations allowing farmers in England to operate a campsite without planning permission up to 56 days – double the usual 28-day limit – was extended to the end of 2021, in an attempt to bolster farmers’ income and encourage domestic holidays.

Matt McWhirter, of rural insurance broker Lycetts, said that although the exemptions are welcome relief to farmers, as they grapple with subsidy withdrawals and Covid-19 impacts, the same relaxation to the rules does not apply to insurance.

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Pop-up campsites are becoming more common in Northumberland after changes to planning rules.

He warned that farmers may be unwittingly contravening insurance requirements or unknowingly have gaps in their cover.

Matt said: “It is understandable that farmers and landowners want to take advantage of the opportunity to generate additional revenue, particularly at a time when the industry is feeling the economic squeeze and demand for camping is high.

“But although requirements are not having to be met from a planning perspective, this is not the case for insurance cover. Insurers may have strict conditions on such things as hygiene facilities, health and safety assessments, fire risk assessments and site access.

“Farmers may not be aware that they need to inform their insurer of their intentions before they set up camp, as they could be in breach of their farm insurance policy. They need to tread carefully as they face a risk minefield.”

Matt McWhirter, of rural insurance broker Lycetts.

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