A change to planning law which frees up farmers and landowners to provide more camping pitches could offer a boost to struggling rural communities.
In a landmark decision laid before parliament on 5 July, the government has extended permitted development rights (PDR) from 28 days per year to 60 days across England.
The move, which comes into effect from 26 July, means farmers and landowners can now run pop-up sites for tents, campervans and motorhomes for up to 60 days per year without needing to apply for extra planning permission.
This is providing they operate no more than 50 pitches, they provide toilet and waste disposal facilities, and they notify their local authority before the season starts.
Pop-up campsites were a major part of summer in 2020 and with this year's holidays just around the corner, the development will likely be hailed by farmers and landowners.
Dan Yates, founder of Pitchup.com, hailed the move as a "gigantic shot in the arm" for rural communities in England.
It comes after an extensive government consultation on the issue, which followed a lobbying campaign to have PDR extended.
Mr Yates said: “Extending PDR has been proven to generate millions of pounds for rural communities.
“When the government first did this, between the Covid lockdowns, it doubled PDR from 28 days to 56 days per year to help rural communities recover from the pandemic.
“Our figures demonstrated this lead to an extra £25m being directly injected into the rural economy in 2021 alone, with the money being evenly distributed between campsite operators and local pubs, shops, restaurants and businesses."
To accept tents for more than 42 consecutive days, a camping licence would still be required. A caravan site licence is likely to be required to accept motorhomes or campervans.
To qualify, sites must also not be in the curtilage of a listed building, on an SSSI or scheduled monument, in a safety hazard area or in an area where military explosives are stored.
The extension, which is part of the government's levelling up agenda, has been the subject of some debate with vocal opposition from organisations such as the National Park Authority.
Mr Yates said the move couldn’t have come at a better time: "Farmers are facing huge uncertainties about how their industry will be financed in the future and what they’ll have to do to make farming businesses sustainable.
"Rural communities are often hit hardest by the cost of living crisis due lower than average wages and increases in fuel and energy costs."