RURAL landowners are being advised to remain vigilant and to consider the knock-on effects to their businesses and community amid the ongoing Coronavirus outbreak.

The Country Land and Business Authority, which represents rural landowners, said it is continuing to support members’ interests.

CLA North director Dorothy Fairburn said: “Farmers and landowners are encouraged to consider the potential impacts this outbreak can have on their operations and should have make plans for any eventuality.

“Included in this would be to think about the implications of key workers and contractors being off work, as well as impacts on their suppliers.”

A spokeswoman for the National Farmers Union added: “We are currently not aware of any issues on British farms as a result of the Coronavirus. The NFU will be following all government guidance for businesses and we will encourage our members to do the same.”

The NFU postponed its mass rally, due to take place in Westminster on Wednesday, March 25, which will have seen hundreds of farmers gather to campaign against a post-Brexit trade deal that allowed food imports to standards that would be illegal in the UK.

NFU president Minette Batters said: “In light of the current Coronavirus situation, we have taken the decision to postpone our mass rally.

“We have taken this decision now because of the continued uncertainty regarding the spread of the disease and the size and nature of this particular event.

“Our intention is to set another date for the event soon and details of this will follow when they are available. However, farmers and the public can rest assured that our campaign to ensure that our standards of food production are not undermined in future trade deals continues.”

Last week, the CLA welcomed measures set out by the Chancellor to extend the retail discount to the hospitality and leisure sector, as well abolishing business rates altogether for one year for firms with a rateable value below £51,000, providing businesses not just with the opportunity to survive the Coronavirus scare, but to plan for the future.

Dorothy Fairburn added: “It is hoped that the Chancellor will announce additional support for businesses cutting across all sectors.”

The NFU also welcomed Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s measures to support farmers from flooding.

Minette Batters added: “We are really pleased to see the increase of £5.2 billion into flood defences, particularly the £120m for the repair of damage caused by this winter’s storms.”