YORKSHIRE farmers and landowners along the route of the Tour de France this summer have been urged to consider how it might affect them.

Those with land in agri-environment schemes, countryside stewardship agreements, or sites of special scientific interests, may need to apply for special derogations.

The Country Land and Business Association (CLA) has worked closely with Natural England to help farmers and landowners prepare for the event when it comes to Yorkshire for the first two stages of the race in July. But, so far, only a handful of farmers have contacted Natural England, causing fears that many are still not fully aware of the extent to which they could be affected by the world’s biggest bike race Dorothy Fairburn, CLA North regional director, said: “These derogations will allow members to set up temporary facilities such as campsites, car parks and toilets but, more importantly, they will also allow changes to land management regimes, such as grass-cutting dates, to allow more flexibility.

“Farmers with fields close to the route and a cutting date soon after the event, for example, should consider applying for a derogation if they are concerned about spectators trampling on the field, leaving them unable to cut at the agreed time.

“We have been surprised by how few farmers have taken advantage of this and are concerned there is still a general lack of awareness about how much disruption and also potential for new business the event will create.”

On July 5, the event will pass through many parts of the Dales as it works its way from Leeds to Harrogate in a large circular route via Hawes, Muker, Reeth, Leyburn, Middleham and Ripon. The second day will start in York and finish in Sheffield, via Keighley and Huddersfield.

Farmers and landowners are urged to contact their local Natural England adviser who will discuss proposals on a site by site basis with a view to helping all reasonable requests where possible.

However, it said: “Advisers will need to make these arrangements and they cannot promise to respond to all requests, particularly for site visits, immediately, so please be patient.”

Natural England has produced a factsheet for farmers and landowners in stewardship schemes explaining how to apply for derogations.

The CLA has it available at cla.org.uk/transfers/north/ TDFfactsheet.pdf or by calling 01748-907070.