14 March 1996

Set-aside decision on Scots rules

THE Scottish Office will monitor changes to set-aside management rules being introduced this spring, but officials have no plans to alter the rules unless unexpected weed problems occur.

The changes mean that no cultivation of set-aside land is allowed until after July 15 and no cutting or spraying between May 1 and July 15 – except against scheduled weeds.

"We are satisfied the changes strike a sensible balance which will benefit wildlife, particularly ground nesting birds, while allowing farmers to control noxious, scheduled weeds on set-aside land," said a Scottish Office spokeswoman.

But Dr Keith Dawson, CSC Crop Protection, Perth, is campaigning against changes, claiming few farmers were aware of them and that they prevent sensible use of pesticides and cultivations.