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The Rural Stewardship Scheme (RSS) is now closed to new applicants. However, claims from existing participants are still being processed. Please see the section on Rural Priorities under the Scotland Rural Development Programme (SRDP).

The RSS, which is part of the previous Scottish Rural Development Plan, provides assistance to encourage farmers, crofters and common grazings committees in order to help them adopt environmentally friendly practices. It also encourages them to maintain and enhance particular habitats and landscape features.

All applicants were selected through a process involving a ranking system and all applicants agreed to participate in the scheme for a period of at least 5 years. In addition, they agreed to manage the relevant areas of land and adhere to the rules and conditions of the scheme. Certain general environmental requirements such as 'Standard of Good Farming Practice and General Environmental Conditions,' also apply to the farm, croft or common grazing as a whole, and not just to those areas or features that are being managed under the RSS.

The roles of agricultural staff in administering the RSS include: the appraisal of applications to join the scheme, the processing and payment of claims and on-farm inspections to check compliance with scheme conditions. The main objectives of agricultural staff are to meet the various payment and inspection deadlines.

Scheme information

Although the scheme is closed to new applicants, many of the documents relating to the scheme are still available for reference purposes. These include the scheme literature and guidance as well as a list of payment rates. The links on the left will take you to these documents.