This report is an analysis of stakeholder responses to proposals set out in the second consultation on the Scottish Rural Development Programme (SRDP). The SRDP is a programme of economic, environmental and social measures designed to develop rural Scotland. It is of interest to many rural stakeholders with 947 responding (including a campaign response of 607). This second consultation set out proposals for the new SRDP (2014-2020), including proposals on budgets, schemes, delivery mechanisms and communications. It also discussed data for the purpose of monitoring and evaluating the programme and includes equalities and business regulatory impact assessments. The consultation built on the proposals outlined in the Stage 1 consultation held in Summer 2013.
The analysis has been reported in a 20 page Summary report and a detailed question by question analysis (Appendix 1). Many questions were quantitative in nature and required only a tick box response with no opportunity for respondents to enter free text. However, respondents used boxes assigned to other questions to make a range of comments. In addition open text questions asked for comments if respondents were dissatisfied with the proposals or wished to make additional proposals. The consultation did not specifically ask respondents to provide support for the proposals as set out, however, respondents often took the opportunity to make comments whether satisfied, dissatisfied or neutral.
Satisfaction levels were mixed across all the proposals with stakeholders providing significant commentary on proposals most pertinent to their sector. The highest level of dissatisfaction was with the balance of the budget with interests generally arguing for more money for their sector and less for others. Specific dissatisfaction was voiced around the agri-environment proposals where there was a campaign view that not enough funding had been directed towards agri-environmental issues. There was also dissatisfaction with agri-environment proposals with the main issues raised relating to the budget being too constrained and that insufficient detail had been provided around options and targeting. There was also mixed views over whether the crofting scheme should be expanded to include small farms. Higher levels of support were identified for proposals around knowledge transfer and innovation, co-operation and support for farmers operating in constrained areas.