Coastline farmers gain 3,000 acres

Farmers on the Lincolnshire and Norfolk coasts have 3,000 acres of land more than they did 50 years ago.

The Ordnance Survey has just completed remapping The Wash and found additional acres have attached to the coastline over the 30-50 years since the last surveys were done.

Solicitor Simeon Disley, partner at Roythornes, first flagged up the issue when registering ownership of the land for a number of landowners in the area. After finding maps were out of date, he contacted the Ordnance Survey.

However, farmers needed to supply evidence to the Ordnance Survey to make a case for having the land resurveyed.

“One example was Bryan Bowles of Wrangle, who told me that in the Queen’s Silver Jubilee year he had put a stake into the Outmarsh at the then boundary with the sea and every year since then on average the Outmarsh had increased in height by one inch, producing additional land,” said Mr Disley.

The Ordnance Survey then reviewed the evidence supplied by Roythornes and agreed to the two-year process of re-mapping the coastline of The Wash.

Land agent and consultant Brown & Co then analysed the new maps and estimated about 3,000 acres had been gained.

For farmers in Lincolnshire and Norfolk, the extra land could bring a boost to their business.

“For some people this will be a significant land area and could be useful to a business in a number of ways,” said Mark Wheeler from Brown & Co.

“It is likely the additional land will have some value should it be sold; could be eligible for single payment or inclusion within an environmental scheme, subject to certain conditions being met. Land might also be available to assist in offsetting the impact of proposed new greening measures under CAP reform.”

While this is good news for farmers who have gained land, farmers in other areas have lost it.

“The new survey has evidenced that Mother Nature has redistributed existing land from other areas such as the Yorkshire coast down to The Wash rather than the creation of new land,” said Mr Disley.

“Yorkshire farmers are well-known for their generosity, so I’m sure they will not begrudge their Lincolnshire and Norfolk counterparts a few acres,” he added.

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