Financial aid is to be offered to farmers north of the border in order to better equip them with dealing with nitrates regulations, the Scottish Government has announced today.
The measures are included in proposals submitted to the European Union as part of a £1.6bn Rural Development Programme projected to inject record investment into the Scottish rural community.
Nitrate regulation measures include:
• Grants of up to 40% for new or expanded slurry storage
• Support to improve slurry management and utilisation
• An industry and government ‘transition group’ to help farmers improve water quality
• A commitment that, if scientific evidence changes, a case will be made to the Commission.
Commenting on the announcement, cabinet secretary for rural affairs Richard Lochhead said: “The SRDP will bring a record £1.6bn investment to rural communities over the next seven years.”
And within this programme it has been necessary to include measures to protect the environment, including the implementation of Nitrates Action Plan.
“I fully appreciate that new requirements on slurry storage will be challenging for the farmers affected, but the Commission has made it clear that there is absolutely no room for negotiation.”
Mr Lochhead went on to add that he would be implementing a revised Nitrates Action Programme in 2008, with the hope of securing enough time for land managers to prepare for implementation.