Defra Secretary looks to make diversifying easier after Clarkson's Farm highlights challenges

Jeremy Clarkson has faced issues with West Oxfordshire District Council for plans for diversifying the farm

Alex Black
clock • 1 min read
Defra Secretary looks to make diversifying easier after Clarkson's Farm highlights challenges

Defra Secretary Steve Barclay has said he wants to make it easier for farmers to diversify after concerns highlighted by Jeremy Clarkson in Clarkson's Farm.

Mr Clarkson's farm shop at Diddly Squat Farm has proved popular in the wake of the show.

See also: Top phrases from Jeremy Clarkson and Kaleb Cooper on Clarkson's Farm

Mr Barclay said he was in ‘very advanced discussions' with Communities Secretary Michael Gove on extending permitted development rights which would allow certain changes to take place without planning applications.

Clarkson's Farm has highlighted some of the issues farmers can face with diversifying, with Mr Clarkson at odds with West Oxfordshire District Council over plans to include a restaurant at the Cotswolds farm.

Diversification

Speaking in the Commons, Mr Barclay said: "My focus and the Farming Minster's focus is on food production and food security, and ensuring that is viable for our farmers.

See also: Clarkson's Farm extended for a fourth season

"But diversification is also an important part, so I am in very advanced discussions with [Mr Gove] on extending permitted development rights... that a certain very famous farmer has raised in terms of his frustrations in Oxfordshire.

"So I want to streamline permitted developments and make it easier for farmers to diversify, but, first and foremost, farmers want to produce food and that is my key focus."

See also: Clarkson's Farm cast support Kaleb Cooper on nationwide tour

Mr Barclay said Sustainable Farming Incentive (SFI) payments need to be accelerated so farmers are paid quickly.

He was responding to Liberal Democrat MP Helen Morgan who raised farmer concerns of having to pay money up front before recieving compensation or being able to claim money from the Government.

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