Scots subsidies to double
By Allan Wright
SCOTLAND is to have a single agri-environment scheme from the end of next year, with a budget almost double the existing projects
Scottish farm minister Lord Sewel said the single scheme would combine environmentally-sensitive area (ESA) grants with those becoming available later this year under the countryside premium scheme (CPS).
The budget for the first year will be £15.7m, which is almost double the £6.2m being spent this year on ESAs and the £2.5m budget for the first year of the CPS.
Lord Sewel said there had been over 900 applications for CPS aid, which had surpassed Scottish Office officials expectations.
There are 1405 farmers and crofters in ESA schemes, which have been operating in Scotland for 12 years. But Lord Sewel regarded the level of uptake as disappointing and he accepted the scheme was restricted in appeal.
“By merging the two schemes we hope to have the best of both worlds, and create a single system that offers a menu of environmental options from which a farmer can choose those most suitable to his own conditions,” he said.