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Introduction

Flytrap pictureEnvironmentally Sensitive Areas

The Environmentally Sensitive Areas Schemes (ESAs) were first introduced in 1987 and all ESAs closed to new applications on 31 December 2000. The ESA Scheme was introduced in Scotland to help conserve specially designated areas of the countryside where the landscape, wildlife or historic interest is of particular importance and where these environmental features can be affected by farming operations. ESAs were designated under powers given to the Secretary of State in the Agriculture Act 1986. In addition Parliament approved individual Statutory Instruments which set out the terms and conditions for each designated area. There are 10 ESAs currently operating in Scotland.

The ESA provides assistance to farmers, crofters and common grazings committees within designated areas who have undertaken to adopt environmentally friendly practices and to maintain and enhance particular habitats and landscape features. In addition, they have agreed to manage the relevant areas of land and carry out the relevant capital works in line with the rules and conditions of the Scheme. Certain standard prescriptions also apply to the farm, croft or common grazing as a whole, in order to protect the land brought into the scheme from damaging farming or crofting practices, and not just to those areas or features that are being positively managed under the ESA.

A number of features, similar to those in the ESA schemes, have now been incorporated into the Scotland Rural Development Programme (SRDP) 2007-2013 under the heading of Rural Priorities.

Please contact your local SGRPID Area Office for further details.