Scottish environmental scheme application window open

Scottish farmers have nine weeks left to apply for funding under the relaunched Agri-Environment Climate Scheme (AECS).

The scheme gives cash for land management practices that improve water quality and preserve habitats, and separately also offers larger amounts of funding for capital items.

These include payments for slurry storage and pesticide-handling facilities as well as pond creation, rhododendron control and measures designed to prevent flooding.

See also: Handy guide to key cross-compliance dates 2019

Agricultural consultant Martin Rennie, who works for Galbraith, said: “Farmers should not feel daunted, as there are several relatively straightforward measures they can take which would meet the objectives of the scheme.

“The AECS offers annual management income for five years plus one-off capital grants for items such as hedge planting, stock fencing and hard standings.”

The deadline for applications is 12 April 2019 for single farm businesses, but there is a later deadline of 31 May for collaborative applications from multiple farmers.

Most applications will require the completion of a Farm Environment Assessment, which will identify all the environment management options available, and funding is also available for this to be completed by the farmer or a third party.

Full scheme guidance can be found on the Scottish government website.