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Enjoyment of Rural Landscapes

Option closed to new applications

What is this about

Improving the public's enjoyment of the countryside and maintaining the character of rural landscapes through four themes

  • creating and managing attractive viewpoints
  • screening intrusive structures, storage areas, infrastructures or other activities
  • restoring existing stone dykes and walls, built boundary features of historic significance
  • managing and enhancing single and small groups of trees to extend their life and secure their planned replacement

What will this achieve?

This Option will increase the amount of landscape features managed, maintained and enhanced for future generations to enjoy.

What you can do

There are a range of elements and associated activities available to you under this Option.

Support will be given if you want to screen intrusive structures, storage areas and infrastructure in a range of eligible locations. You can undertake a range of activities to integrate rural structures and storage areas into the landscape or to screen infrastructure, noise and lighting, including headlight glare, as follows.

You can do one or more of the following initial site clearance and establishment activities:

  • Erecting temporary fencing to demarcate works areas
  • Providing alternative temporary access where appropriate
  • Preparing ground works and drainage
  • Spraying off vegetation
  • Removing non-native invasive species when required (this must be done in conjunction with the Control of invasive non-native species Option)

You can also do one or more of the following activities for new works

  • Erecting fencing, walls and dyking
  • Planting hedging
  • Creating well shaped earth mounds graded to create gentle slopes
  • Planting trees and shrubs.

Support will be given if you want to create and manage viewpoints which maintain existing views, encourage the opening up of new views and create an attractive setting at your viewpoint we will support proposals that do this in a range of eligible viewpoint locations. The viewpoints you create and manage must be made safe and the view opened up and kept.

You can do one or more of the following initial site clearance and establishment activities to reveal your view.

  • Removal of vegetation and relocate fencing obstructing your proposed viewpoint, to provide a clear unrestricted view of the features or landscape. This can include crown lifting, limb removal and thinning of trees.
  • Removal of vegetation, trees or structures.
  • Removal of non-native invasive species

If you choose this element you must also undertake at least one of the following annual maintenance activities

  • Reduce the height of scrub and vegetation to ground level
  • Remove litter to maintain the quality of your view

Support will be given if you want to restore existing stone walls, dykes, flagstone walls and built boundary features as linear features. We will support the repair, restoration or reinstatement of existing dry stone dykes, walls and built boundary features that contribute to your local landscape character. These features can also provide an effective stock proof barrier and can contribute to the biodiversity of the area.

You can undertake this activity if your boundary feature is more than 50% intact but less than 80% intact along a side of a field, perimeter of a roundel, fank or stele. Built boundary features must be built into or near by a wall, dyke or other boundary feature. In the case of a shared boundary, this Option is only available where there is a valid neighbour agreement in place.

If you choose this element you can undertake one or more of the following activities

  • Restore and reinstate existing drystone walls , dykes and or flagstone walls as linear features which are deteriorated and or damaged.
  • Restore, reinstate and where necessary replace distinctive built boundary features such as gateposts, mounting stands, mile markers, ha-has, earthen and turf banks within Historic Gardens and designed landscapes that are deteriorated or damaged.

Support will be given if you want to establish and manage single and small groups of up to 24 trees as landscape features that fall within the eligible criteria, we will support the management, and where necessary the replacement of up to twenty four specimen and veteran trees, roadside trees, and small groups, avenues and other small woodland features which contribute to the character of your local landscape.

You can undertake one or more of the following tree surgery and maintenance activities

  • A survey of existing tree health and condition, which must be undertaken by a qualified tree surgeon, arboriculturalist or chartered forester.
  • One-off tree surgery and maintenance to fell trees, pruning limbs and crown thinning to make safe, restore, improve the health and secure the longevity of trees.
  • Annual tree maintenance to coppice and or plant to encourage the regeneration and rejuvenation of an appropriate scrub layer.
  • Erection of protective fencing to prevent damage to individual trees from livestock or vehicles.

You can also do one or more of the following activities to establish or replace a tree or trees:

  • Planting standard or semi-standard trees to replace unsafe older trees.
  • Maintaining new trees.
  • Protecting new trees from livestock and wildlife with tree guards and fencing.

You can also do one or more of the following activities to establish or replace shrub species.

  • Planting shrubs
  • Maintaining new shrubs
  • Protecting new shrubs from livestock and wildlife with tree guards and fencing.

Who can apply

This Option is available to all rural land managers, community groups and non-profit organisations.

Eligibility criteria

Items funded under this Option cannot be supported for the same management purposes through other Options in the Scotland Rural Development Programme including:

  • The planting of shelter belts, provision of walls as part of the Crofting Counties Agricultural Grants Scheme measure
  • Improving the economic value of forests
  • Management of genetically appropriate tree stock for seed production
  • Access creation for sustainable forest management.
  • Support for the conversion to and maintenance of organic farming
  • Management of lowland raised bogs
  • Creation and management of water margins and enhanced riparian buffer areas
  • Management of linear features
  • Management of ancient wood pasture
  • Management of scrub and tall herb communities
  • Woodland creation
  • Sustainable management of forests and woodlands
  • Woodland improvement grants
  • Woods in and around towns challenge fund
  • Forestry for people challenge fund
  • Provision of leisure, recreation, sporting, catering and other rural community services and facilities
  • Active management to improve the condition of vernacular rural buildings, archaeological or historic sites and historic landscapes

The features you propose to enhance under this Option must meet at least one of the priorities for that element and the relevant technical specification.

Any features within Historic Gardens and Designed Landscapes are limited to items identified by Historic Scotland as being of significant historical value.

Priority locations for screening intrusive structures, storage areas and infrastructure under this Option must be at least one of the following:

  • Visible from accessible viewpoints, public roads and access routes and within 500 metres of features and structures of historic interest
  • Within National Scenic Areas (NSAs), National Parks, Regional Parks or areas near to and easily accessible from communities

  • Next to path networks, close to well used access areas, in areas where there is demand for increased access provision. If you choose this priority you must provide evidence of a need supported by either access authority audits or your Local Access Forum.

With your application for funding for this element you must submit a 1:10 000 map indentifying the location of your proposal and photographs of the area to be screened.

Priority locations to create and manage viewpoints under Option must be accessible to the general public and be located in at least one of the following:

  • Within National Scenic Areas (NSAs). Viewpoints within NSAs that also provide a view towards a Natura 2000 site will be further prioritised.
  • Views from public roads, accessible historic features and other landmarks, access routes and designation points within National Parks, Regional Parks, Inventory Gardens and Designed Landscapes.
  • Areas near to and accessible from communities.

With your application for funding for this element you must submit a 1:10 000 map indentifying the location of the proposed viewpoint and any capital items associated with the viewpoint, identifying the location of views from public roads, accessible historic features, access routes and elevated viewpoints. You must also submit photographs of the proposed site of the viewpoint and the view from that site with your application.

Priority locations to restore existing stone walls, dykes, flagstone walls and built boundary features as linear features under this Option, must be at least one of the following:

  • Visible from public roads or paths
  • For items within Historic Gardens and Designed Landscapes the garden, estate or house must be open to the public for at least six months of the year

Dykes funded under this Option must be between 50 and 80% complete and continuous along one field length.

With your application for funding for this element you must submit a 1:10 000 map to identify the location and extent of your feature, this must be accompanied by photographs of your feature. In addition you will need prior written permission from Historic Scotland for any work to sites within the Inventory of Garden and Designed Landscaped and in the curtlilage of listed building or on a scheduled ancient monument.

Priority will be given to manage and establish single and small groups of up to 24 trees as landscape features where the tree/trees must be visually prominent; and or accessible to the public; and or of cultural, biodiversity historic or landscape interest.

In all cases your tree/trees must be either:

  • Visually prominent
  • Accessible to the public
  • Of cultural, biodiversity, historic or of landscape interest.

Your tree/trees must also be at least one of the following

  • Subject to a Tree Preservation Order, or located within a Conservation Area, or listed in the Inventory of Historic Garden and Designed Landscapes
  • Agreed by Historic Scotland to be of inventory standard
  • Within a National Scenic Area or National Park
  • Within an area that is
  • near to and accessible from communities
  • along roadsides
  • located where public access is encouraged

With your application for funding for this element you must submit a 1:10 000 map indentifying the location and trees proposed for management and or replacement. You must also include written consent from your local authority if any of the trees identified in your application lie within a Conservation Area or are subject to a Tree Preservation Order.

In your application you must also confirm if any of the trees you propose to manage already receive existing protection or management. Where this is the case you must demonstrate how your application goes further than the current level of protection and/or management.

Dead or dying trees are valuable habitats and must be kept in place unless they are a danger to the public.

Where you propose to renew, rebuild or restore a fence or a dyke that forms the boundary between your land and that of your neighbour, the payment will be in proportion to your level of responsibility; that is, if you and your neighbour are equally responsible for maintaining a dyke or maintaining a fence, you will be entitled to payment on half of the area of dyke or on half the length of fence respectively. You may still claim full payment for any associated items such as gates, marking to reduce bird collision or rabbit netting.

If you have shared responsibility for the fence or dyke, a Shared Boundary Agreement form must be completed and submitted with your application. Please note that you will be responsible for ensuring that the capital works are completed to the required specification and are fit for purpose.

Any item funded under this option must not be adopted in areas where they will comprise biodiversity objectives or be used to fulfil conditions for a planning consent or permitted development rights.

What costs could be supported

This is a five year commitment. Items funded under this option must be maintained for 5 years following the end of the year in which the funding was given. We will pay up to 75% of the actual costs for capital items in arrears based on receipted invoices with a ceiling limit of up to £5,500 per beneficiary. At least two quotes must be submitted.

To ensure value for money we require you to provide 2 competitive quotes for any capital items applied for which are based on actual cost. If, however, you are seeking grant support towards something so specialised it is only available through 1 source then we would accept 1 quote. Please see the guidance on quotes and estimates for more information.

Inspections/verifications

Evidence

The evidence you provide must include detailed invoices, a copy of your map, photographs and any other documentation

Technical Guidance

See further guidance for:

When preparing your application there are a number of issues you may wish to consider.

If your proposal is going to affect a Scheduled Ancient Monument (SAM), a Historic Garden, or Designed Landscape you must seek advice from Historic Scotland.

All works must be undertaken in a manner consistent with the relevant Health and Safety Executive guidance.

In your application you may wish to demonstrate that you have liaised with your local access authority or local authority about your application if your proposal relates to items next to a path, public road or could be considered to cause road or public safety issues.

Useful website links

Historic Scotland's website

Scottish Natural Heritage's website

Scottish Environmental Protection Agency's website

Forestry Commission Scotland's website

The Code of Practice for herbicide spraying

Health & Safety Executive guidance can be found on their website

Information on the application of pesticides by hand-held equipment can be found on the Health & Safety Executive website

For the approved range of Glyphosphate based herbicides. Search for Products by specifying Approval features PSD Databases Home. The more details you enter on this page the more refined your search will be. If you need the full list of products type 'Glyphosate' in the space next to the Active header and press return.

A list of chartered foresters can be found on the Institute of Chartered Foresters website

Suitably qualified persons for tree felling are those that are competent chain saw users and have qualifications recognised by the Institute of Foresters and the Health & Safety Executive. Suitably qualified persons for ecology are usually individuals registered with the Institute of Ecology and Environmental Management. In addition you may also find other suitably qualified individuals in either the Phone Book or the Yellow Pages under Environmental Consultant.

Members of the Dry Stone Walling Association members can be found on their website www.dswa.org.uk

Local VisitScotland Network Office

Scotways website