Vickers and Barrass is a firm of Rural Chartered Surveyors offering a professional land agency service throughout the North East of England.
The business was established by Harry Vickers in 1973 and in September 2012 it was acquired by Darlington Farmers Auction Mart Limited to expand their range of services. TH Vickers Limited trading as Vickers and Barrass is now fronted and managed by Adam Barrass BSC (Honours in REALM, MRICS, FAAV) and Harry Vickers (BSC FRICS) who continues to work as a consultant.



From the 1st October 2015 changes are being made regarding the instalment of smoke and carbon monoxide alarms in rental properties. The Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm (England) Regulations 2015 states it is the landlord’s responsibility to ensure that every floor wholly or partly lived in must be fitted with a working smoke alarm and every room which contains a solid fuel burner (open fire) must be fitted with a Carbon Monoxide Alarm.

It is the landlord’s responsibility to ensure all the alarms are working effectively throughout the tenancy and on the day a new tenancy begins; this includes the fitting, repairing and checking of all prescribed alarms.


As Harvest once again comes to an end, many arable farmers are currently deciding which crops to sow for next year. The Rural Payment Agency has published the new greening rule guidance for 2016 which explains in great details the correct measures to take when planning for the 2016 Harvest.

Please follow the link to new guidance: Basic Payment Scheme England: The greening rules 2016


With the extension to the dates for the submission of the Basic Payment Scheme and Environment Stewardship claim forms earlier this year and IT issues with the Rural Payments Agency,  Natural England have issued a statement regarding the ELS/HLS payments.

Natural England have said “The European Commission have made the decision  to give all Member States extra time for farmers to submit their claims in the first year of the new CAP.  Advance payments for ES agreements were expected to be paid from October 2015 and the majority paid by November and December.  The Rural Payments Agency & Natural England are working to ensure that agri-environment payments under Environmental Stewardship agreements are made as early as possible”

As a requirement of the EU regulations payments cannot be made until cross checks with the Basic Payment Scheme data has been completed.  As a result from the extension to application dates for BPS and ES claim forms this has had a knock on effect delaying the cross checks and ultimately the payments.

Various organisations are pressing the RPA and Natural England to make payments on time this year particularly given the current commodity prices. 


We look forward to seeing new and existing clients at Wolsingham Show on Saturday 5 September 2015 where you are welcome to enjoy our hospitality on the Darlington Farmers Auction Mart and Vickers & Barrass stand, hopefully enjoying a sunny day or if not taking cover from the rain with us.


A new approach to claim on common land through the Basic Payment Scheme; this principally means the eligible area of the common is divided up amongst common land right holders who are using the common.  A farmer who currently has common land rights must demonstrate they are using the common by:

  • Using his rights to turn stock out
  • PArt of an agri-environment agreement on the common; or
  • Contributing to “ the appropriate management of the common by keeping some of it in a state suitable for grazing or cultivation by keeping it clear of any scrub that can’t be grazed, or by some other beneficial activity” (DEFRA,2015).

This should mean any unallocated land will be allocated to farmers who are deemed to be using the common land.

The Application Process

The application form should now be available from September 2015 (delayed from June 2015); and it is advised to be submitted by December 2015 to meet the deadline of the 2015 claim. A single form will need to be completed but additional information or supplement documentation may need to be gathered later, depending on what  the Rural Payment Agency require to confirm usage of any particular common. 

Hill Farmers Allowance/ Upland Transfer Payments

If a farmer with common land rights was also claiming Hill Farm Allowance (HFA)/Uplands Transitional Payment (UTP), any increase in the notional eligible area of the common will have an impact on the HFA/UTP payment received previously. These farmers therefore also need to apply for the additional HFA/UTP payments (from 2009 onwards) they should have received in previous years.


The main changes under the Countryside Stewardship is that applications are scored on their criteria; making this scheme competitive. Applicants will have to maximise the environmental priorities which are selected before by Natural England for the location of their land meaning that not all applications will be successful.


Winter cattle housing available for approximately 30 head of cattle on a bed and breakfast basis. Matfen area, Northumberland. More numbers can be accommodated in due course or as required.

All silage, straw bedding and labour provided.

Contact Adam Barrass for more information.


July marks the start of the Countryside Stewardship Scheme (CSS) application window.  Applications must be submitted by the end of September 2015 for a start date of 1 January 2016.  Detailed information regarding the scheme requirements are yet to be finalised and are subject to change.


This scheme is open to all ELS agreement holders who have agreements which expire this year, the new scheme is competitive and all applications will be scored by Natural England.  Successful applications will be informed by mid-November for a start date of 1 January 2016.  Natural England wants to address widespread environmental issues such as water pollution, improving the farmed environment for farmland birds and wild pollinators.  Wild Pollinator and Farm Wildlife Packages applied to the land need to cover between 3 – 5 % of your holding.

A list of options can be found at  You can find which options are available, payment rates, double funding issues and basic management of the prescriptions.  The new prescriptions seem more stringent than those under Environmental Stewardship.  Natural England are more focused on keeping records and producing evidence  for some of the new prescriptions and this evidence will need to be submitted with the annual claim form.

All agreement holders with Environmental Stewardship Agreements that expire up to 31 December 2015 are encouraged to apply for a Countryside Stewardship application well in advance of 30 September 2015.  Agreements expiring during 2016 will be eligible to apply when Natural England open their application window which is anticipated to be early in 2016.  Agreement holders are reminded this is a discretionary scheme with no guarantees that any application will be successful as funding remains limited.

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