Scottish farmers reminded of climate scheme deadline

The scheme promotes land management practices which protect Scotland's natural heritage
The scheme promotes land management practices which protect Scotland's natural heritage

Scottish farmers and crofters are being reminded that they have until 30 June to apply for this year's round of the Agri-Environment Climate Scheme (AECS).

Following concerted efforts by Scottish farming bodies to highlight the dangers of a gap in agri-environment support, a limited AECS round opened earlier this year.

It focuses on designated sites, organics, management supporting farmland waders, corn buntings and corncrakes, slurry stores and improving public access.

Those applying have been encouraged by Scottish government to ensure that applications are endorsed by the relevant project officer to support their claims for waders and corn bunting.

NFU Scotland continues to urge the government to provide clarity on future agri-environment management to 'secure the confidence' of farmers as they deliver on biodiversity outcomes whilst producing sustainable food.

The union's vice president Andrew Connon said: “The AECS is vital in supporting Scottish farmers and crofters to tackle the twin crises of climate change and biodiversity loss.

“AECS supports Scottish farmers to deliver essential environmental benefits including peatland management, protecting vulnerable species, and providing habitats for pollinators on farm.

“The scheme has huge buy in from the sector – evidenced by the participation of more than 3000 farms, crofts and estates – but this support is at risk unless future schemes run on a fully funded basis."

He added: “NFU Scotland encourages the new Scottish government to make decisions on the future schemes a priority and provide a clear commitment on future agri-environment support.”

This year's restricted AECS round closes for applications on Wednesday 30 June 2021.