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Extended Hedges

Option closed to new applications

Introduction

This Option supports the creation of hedges that are wider and taller than normal, with adjacent undisturbed grass margins.

What this will achieve

This Option will support a diverse range of plants as well as habitats for insects, birds and small mammals.

The Biodiversity Action Plan (BAP) species that may benefit include Grey Partridge, Song Thrush, Bullfinch, Linnet, Tree Sparrow, Brown Hare and Common Pipistrelle Bat and Soprano Pipistrelle Bat.

What you can do

Requirements

  • Exclude all livestock and do not cultivate within a strip extending to at least 3m from the centre line of the hedge
  • You must extend your hedge during the first year of the beginning of your undertaking and maintain and manage your extended hedge for at least 5 years
  • Leave the grass in the strip uncut unless you have the prior written agreement of Scottish Ministers
  • Cut your hedge between 1 December and 1 March. After you have cut your hedge, it must not be cut again for at least 3 years
  • You should only use native trees and shrubs in hedge gaps. a list of native hedgerow species is available on the SNH website.  However you may plant Beech and Sycamore where these are appropriate and traditionally used in your local hedges. You should use plants from your local area wherever possible
  • Where only one side of your hedgerow is being managed under this Option, for example a roadside hedge, the other side must be cut no more than once a year and between 1 December and the end of February
  • Do not apply fertiliser, slurry or farmyard manure to the site
  • Do not apply pesticides to the managed area except with the prior written agreement of Scottish Ministers for activities such as spot treatment of scheduled weeds (i.e. creeping, spear or field thistle, curled or broadleaved dock and common ragwort) or non-native invasive species (i.e. Giant hogweed, Himalayan balsam, Rhododendron ponticum or Japanese knotweed). Where land is located in wet areas and adjacent to water sources SEPA must also be consulted prior to treatment
  • You can only new hedge planting or gapping up carried out during the first 18 months of the development of a newly planted hedge under the Planting or re-planting of hedge capital option. The cost of coppicing, laying and any later planting is included in the management payment for this option and therefore cannot be claimed under the hedge planting, coppicing or laying capital items.
Who can apply

All land managers are eligible to apply for this Option.

Eligibility criteria

A strip of arable land or improved grassland situated alongside an existing or newly created hedge is eligible for this Option.

If you are planting a new hedge, you must have completed the planting work before 15 May in order to claim the first year's annual recurrent payment for extended hedge management on the Single Application Form (SAF) in that year. If you complete the hedge planting after the 15 May, the earliest you can submit your first claim for the annual recurrent extended hedge management payment will be on the SAF in the following year.

Please see the guidance on claims for more information.

Land receiving payments for similar management under other agri-environment schemes is not eligible under this Option.

Please see the Definitions of Land Types page for more details.

What costs could be supported

For a comprehensive list of Capital Items click here. Any cost claimed must be fully justified. The following are examples of what may be claimed for:

When completing your Proposal, you can select the appropriate capital item(s) from the dropdown list of standard cost capital items for this Option.

In addition to these capital items, financial support of up to 100% of eligible actual costs is available in respect of the following:

  • Renewable energy powered pumps for water troughs

Please note that this capital item will not appear in the dropdown list of Standard Cost capital items for this Option and will need to be entered manually in the box for Actual Cost capital items. Only costs for the types of capital works listed above should be entered in the Actual Cost capital items box for this Option. Any other costs entered cannot be considered for funding.

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.

Rate of support

This is a 5 year commitment. We will pay at the end of each year.

Cut once in 3 years: £0.53 per metre per year. This payment rate applies to the total length of extended hedge. Where one side of a hedge is extended, apply this payment rate to the total length of the hedge. Where both sides of the hedge are extended, the payment rate applies to each side of the hedge (twice the length of the hedge).

Inspections/verification

The inspector will check the requirements (as detailed above under 'what you can do') of the Option are being met, by a visual assessment on the day of inspection.

Beneficiaries must comply with the requirements of cross compliance and the minimum requirements for fertiliser and plant protection products. You must also comply with the requirements to avoid damaging any features of historic or archaeological interest, and follow Scottish Ministers' guidance for the protection of such areas or features (detailed in links below).

The following is a brief overview of the inspection procedures, for a full explanation please see links below:

Inspectors will check:

  • Native plants have been used for planting and/or 'gapping up' hedges
  • Cutting is between 1 December and 1 March no more than once every 3 years
  • No livestock or cultivations within at least 3 m from centre line of hedge
  • Grass within strip has not been cut without prior written agreement of Scottish Ministers
  • Visual check to ensure no fertiliser/ FYM/Slurry has been applied to the site
  • Pesticide records to ensure pesticides have not been applied to the site without prior written approval from Scottish Ministers.
  • Claimed capital items have been completed to approved amounts and scheme standards

List of links to relevant technical guidance