An ill wind is blowing through the renewables industry as business rates are set to rise

As from 1st April 2017, farmers will be feeling the heat as those that own and operate small scale wind turbines will be subject to some significant rises in business rates.

Rural affairs specialists at Bruton Knowles are urging farmers to check the charges they will face before they take effect in April 2017. The changes apply to England and Wales, while Scotland has its own rules with business rates relief available in some instances.

Robert Smith of Bruton Knowles said farmers could check the draft rateable values on line and believes many farmers are likely to see their business rates for their wind turbine increase significantly.

The Valuation Office Agency which is responsible for setting rateable values throughout the country now take into account the feed-in tariff incentives that were not available at the previous revaluation.

This is clearly going to have a major impact on the farming sector. There has been a huge deployment of turbines since the government feed-in tariff incentive was implemented providing a valuable diversified source of income for struggling farmers.

Farmers now have until March 31 to check their rating online and, if necessary, to challenge that rating. As always, obtaining the right advice could help farmers make sense of these complex changes.

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