Europe’s default greening measures will apply in Scotland next year because time has run out for alternative equivalence measures to be approved.
Scottish Rural Affairs secretary Richard Lochhead put an end to months of uncertainty when he announced that Scotland’s preferred equivalence measures – which include fertilizer plans and an alternative to the three-crop rule – would not be available next year.
However he said the Scottish government remained committed to equivalence measures that are better suited to Scottish circumstances and pledged to seek European approval to implement them from 2016 onwards.
See also: CAP measures at a glance
Greening comes into effect on 1 January 2015 and accounts for almost a third of direct farm funding.
Mr Lochhead said; “I made it clear in my CAP announcement last month that while we had identified some positive measures for Scotland under the greening equivalence process, the timing of their introduction was dependent on a European approval process – a process which six weeks later is not in place.
“My officials are now focused on working with stakeholders as we firm up the detail of main CAP decisions that we need to formally notify to Europe next week.”
NFU Scotland president Nigel Miller said that securing the right equivalence measures would have been precious to Scottish growers, but conceded that with harvest well under way in many areas, clarity on what would apply in 2015 was vital.
“Farmers can accept that being locked into basic greening measures for one season if that gives us sufficient time to secure pragmatic equivalence measures for 2016 that better fit with Scotland’s farming, climate and the markets that drive current production in Scotland.”
The need for more CAP implementation detail now switches to Ecological Focus Areas. A Scottish government spokeswoman said an announcement might be forthcoming next week.