The UK’s pop-up camping season has witnessed a significant extension, doubling its duration. This change, while providing farmers with a lucrative opportunity for diversification, also brings forth a set of challenges and risks that need careful consideration.
Previously, the limit for operating temporary sites for glamping, campervans, and motorhomes was set at 28 days. However, a recent change in the law in July has extended this period, allowing for a 60-day operation, thereby offering commercial opportunities for farmers.
William Nicholl of Lycetts, a renowned rural insurance broker, has emphasized the importance of comprehensive health and safety risk assessments. With the extension, the need for public liability insurance becomes paramount to ensure a safe environment for the public.
If farmers decide to hire staff for the longer glamping seasons, Nicholl also points out the necessity of Employers’ Liability cover. This ensures that both the farmers and their employees are safeguarded against unforeseen circumstances, according to a report by The Northern Farmer.
The extended season, while beneficial, also poses certain risks. With forecasts predicting drier conditions, there’s an increased fire risk associated with barbecues and fire pits, which campers and site operators should be wary of.
The new regulations, which are applicable only in England, have set a cap on the number of pitches at 50. Additionally, these regulations mandate the presence of essential facilities like toilets and waste disposal systems on the sites.
For farmers already operating pop-up camping sites, the good news is that they don’t need to seek additional planning permission. However, they are required to inform councils about their opening dates well in advance.
Nicholl believed that diversification, such as extending glamping opportunities, can be a way for farmers to recover losses. These losses might arise from cancellations due to unfavorable weather conditions. However, he firmly stresses the importance of seeking expert advice to navigate and mitigate potential risks.
The UK government’s decision to extend the camping season aims to bolster the tourism sector, which has been grappling with the repercussions of the COVID-19 pandemic. This move is expected to provide a much-needed boost to the industry.
However, with opportunities come responsibilities. Campers are urged to be respectful and adhere to guidelines, ensuring they minimize their impact on the environment. While welcoming the extension, the Camping and Caravanning Club underscores the essence of responsible camping.