FARMERS affected by the announcement of the go-ahead of the dualling of the A66 are urged to plan ahead.

Experts are warning that it is important to be proactive, even at this early stage, because planning and consultation can make a difference down the road.

Chris Edmunds, a director of Davidson & Robertson, Rural Surveyors and Consultants, based in Cockermouth, said the same anxieties would also apply to those affected by the proposed Carlisle Southern Link Road and St Cuthbert’s Garden Village.

Mr Edmunds said: “There is so much more to consider than the loss of land and upheaval at the time.

"From the outset it can be a very stressful time, with farmers and landowners concerned about protecting the landscape as well as their income and there’s often a lot of additional paperwork for subsidies, inconvenience for moving stock, disturbance and crop losses."

He added: “Expertise makes a difference when it comes to land or property acquisition - especially relating to compulsory purchase or where land has been injuriously affected. Injurious affection can often be a very subtle negotiation in terms of gaining fair compensation.

"Taking small areas of a field can have a huge impact on the operations for the farmer, this is certainly true with the Cumbria ‘pipeline’ project.”

Some of the key questions asked include: Is my property blighted?; Are my land rights affected?; Loss of income & profits; either from land, property or both; Implications for Basic Payment Scheme; Environmental or Countryside Stewardship Scheme?; Crop loss; Drainage; Fencing; Reinstatement; Compensation; Loss of trees & woodland.