Farmers diversifying into pop-up camping warned of potential risks

More farmers are now set to take advantage of the commercial opportunities pop-up camping brings
More farmers are now set to take advantage of the commercial opportunities pop-up camping brings

The season for pop-up camping has more than doubled, offering farmers a lifeline for diversification plans, but experts have warned of potential risks.

Prior to last month, there was a 28-day limit on operating temporary sites for glamping, campervans and motorhomes.

However, in a landmark decision announced last month, the government extended permitted development rights (PDR) from 28 days per year to 60 days across England.

But with more farmers now set to take advantage of the commercial opportunities, a rural insurance broker is urging them to be aware of the risks.

William Nicholl, of Lycetts, said glamping would inevitably involve members of the public setting foot on farmland.

Health and safety risk assessments, along with measures and procedures to ensure a safe environment, were therefore essential.

He said: "Public liability is also a must, and insurers may request site inspections to ensure quality standards and requirements are being met.

“Furthermore, a longer glamping season may see farmers taking on staff, so Employers’ Liability cover must be in place.”

With drier conditions forecast for the end of summer, Mr Nicholl said fire risk was also a serious consideration for those offering barbecues and fire pits as part of the glamping experience.

The new regulations, which apply to England only, are conditional on there being no more than 50 pitches, and having toilets and waste disposal systems in place.

Farmers who already operate pop-up camping sites are not required to seek extra planning permission, but they must notify councils of the opening dates in advance.

Mr Nicholl said that as the ‘cost-of-business’ crisis continued, farmers and landowners were increasingly turning to diversification as a way of boosting revenue.

“Extending glamping opportunities could help them recoup some of the losses caused by cancellations during the bad weather of July," he said.

“However, a failure to protect against the risks can have devastating financial consequences.

“It is therefore important to seek advice from experts who are experienced in the field.”