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What's New

Please see our Rural Priorities Guidance Updates.

All significant new updates and additions to the online guidance are also listed below.

For older news, please see the Rural Priorities News Archive.

March 2016

Further information has been provided as to how meeting the greening commitments will affect the options contained within your Rural Priorities Rural Development contract.  Guidance can be found here.  Further information regarding the impact on 2015 annual recurrent payments will be available in due course.

August 2014 - Rural Priorities - How to Make a Capital Claim

The claim deadline for both forestry and non-forestry options has now passed (see February update below). The deadline for all claims for 2014 Capital Items will be 28 February 2015.

The guidance has been updated to show the documentation that applicants must supply with their claims. Please remember to submit all your supporting bank statements, letters from SEPA, completion, etc.

August 2014 - Rural Priorities - Capital Items Claim Form

The text in Section 3 of the form has been updated to clarify the amounts claimed against each item and the total amount claimed.

August 2014 - Rural Priorities - Claim for Outcome Plans

The guidance has been amended to note a raise in the de minimis limit. The revised limit is now capped at no more than 15,000 Euros, over a three-year rolling period from any funding source.

August 2014 - Rural Priorities - Conversion to and Maintenance of Organic Farming

Inspection and verification guidance has been updated. Confirmation from an approved organic certification body and/or your production schedule information (and certificate of registration) must now be submitted by the end of December each year.

July 2014 - Rural Priorities - Claims for Standard Cost and Actual Cost Capital Items

The claim year for capital items that are scheduled in approved contracts for 2014 will run from 1 January to 28 February 2015 for all options.

May 2014 - Rural Priorities payment statistics

Updated Rural Priorities payment statistics are now available. These show figures by Regional Priority, Options, totals by region and total payments.

May 2014 - Rural Payments Online: Advance notice of temporary downtime

Unfortunately Rural Payments Online will be unavailable between 9pm and 11pm on Monday, 12 May due to essential maintenance.

We understand this may cause disruption but this is due to essential maintenance for our identity provider (Government Gateway) and is outwith our control. We are sorry for any inconvenience caused.

For more information please sign up to our Rural Matters Facebook page.

April 2014 -Standard Cost and Actual Cost Capital Items

For audit purposes we have added an additional line into the reporting spreadsheet for Capital Claims. Applicants must state the amount they are claiming against each item and the total cost claimed. Please follow the links in the title of this article to the relevant guidance.

February 2014 - Forestry Options - Changes to Options 47, 48 and 49 (Woodland Creation, Sustainable Management of Forests, Woodland Management Grant).

For further information please refer to the FCS Briefing Notes.

February 2014 - Rural Development Contracts

Rural Development Contracts: a new interactive map search tool has been developed. This new map-based tool allows you to search your area of interest for land designations. These must be taken into account when applying for Rural Development Contracts and/or Felling licenses.

February 2014 - Variations to Rural Priorities Options

The position regarding variations has changed: (last updated February 8, 2014).

Previously, we accommodated variations for those struggling to spend their awarded funds within the expected year. We have reached the end of the programme period for Scotland Rural Development Plan (SRDP) 2007-2013, this flexibility to allow rollovers no longer exists. For this reason we will no longer accept requests to transfer spend from 2013 onwards to future years.

In recognition that this may cause some difficulties to those beneficiaries who have nearly completed their project, we are extending the deadline for 2013 claims of non-forestry capital based expenditure to the end of June 2014. This will give claimants additional opportunity to get final work and claim submission completed. There may be some projects where no work has commenced and in these cases, it is likely that these contracts will be withdrawn.

February 2014 - Standard Cost and Actual Cost Capital Items

The claim year for capital items has been extended. The claim year will now run from 1 January 2013 to 30 June 2014 for all non-forestry options only. For any forestry options on your contract the closing date remains at 28 February 2014 for budgetary reasons.

June 2013 - Regional Proposal Assessment Committee results 

New farmers in Scotland have today been handed a double boost with the news of additional funding and the creation of a starter unit. Rural Affairs Secretary Richard Lochhead announced the news during the QMS speech at the Royal Highland Show at Ingliston. A further £5.9 million is going towards 74 projects across Scotland.

May 2013

Ongoing Approval process for Regional Priority 9 applications (to manage SSSIs or Natura sites):

- Land managers wishing to apply under RP9 were asked to register interest with Scottish Natural Heritage by 17 April 2013. For anyone who missed that date but is now interested, please contact Scottish Natural Heritage as soon as possible to discuss your plans and to discuss whether it is worthwhile spending time working up an application. It may be possible to handle some applications, from those who missed the 17 April deadline, if they will have significant benefit for SSSI/Natura features and if there is enough staff time available. When it comes to processing applications, first priority will be given to those who registered interest by 17 April.

- A reminder of the 17 July deadline for submitting applications (including all maps, plans, etc) under RP9. Please contact Scottish Natural Heritage if you would like further advice at any time when preparing your application.

March 2013

The Rural Priorities guidance for Grazed Grassland for Chough has been amended. The page is available via our Guidance Updates menu.

February 2013

Ongoing approval of agri-environment and forestry projects.

- Rural Priorities applications can be submitted during 2013 for agri-environment and forestry projects eligible for the ongoing approval process. If applications are approved, contracts must be accepted and confirmed by 31 December 2013.

- Land managers interested in the designated sites ongoing approval process should register their interest with SNH by April 17, 2013. Applications must be submitted by 17 July 2013 and committed by 31 August 2013, along with all supporting documentation.

- Extending expiring contracts, or part of contracts, addressing the management of designated sites (SSSI, SAC or SPA) or the management of iconic species * will be considered for high priority projects which meet value for money criteria. Further information on this will be provided in due course.

* iconic species include hen harrier, chough, corn bunting, corncrake, capercaillie, black grouse, red squirrel, farmland waders and seed-eating birds.

- Land managers interested in forestry grants should contact Forestry Commission Scotland.
 

December 2012

Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs and the Environment Richard Lochhead has announced that a further Rural Priorities funding round will take place in June 2013. The Regional Proposal Assessment Committees (RPACs) will consider applications for Axis 1 (restructuring, development and innovation) and Axis 3 (rural enterprise) projects. Proposals will only be considered from those applicants who meet the criteria to qualify for the Young Farmers' Interest Rate Relief option.

Access the timetable for the June 2013 assessment round.

Details of the options available under Axis 1 and 3.

Further information about the June 2013 funding round.

September Regional Proposal Assessment Committee (RPAC) - Case Studies

Examples of case studies from around Scotland.

Results of the September 2012 Regional Proposal Assessment Committee

Results of the September Regional Proposal Assessment Committee (RPAC).

October 2012

There have been changes made to the approval of Rural Priorities forestry grants from 1st October 2012. This is necessary to avoid an overspend of the forestry grants budget in 2012, 2013 and 2014. The SRDP web pages are being updated accordingly and, on each forestry option page, there is a link to the Forestry Commission Scotland briefing for further information.

Results of the June 2012 Regional Proposal Assessment Committee

 The results of the June 2012 RPAC are now available here. A regional breakdown of the 2012 Rural Priorities case studies is provided, along with archived case studies from 2009-2011.

July 2012

Updates to guidance for July are:

June 2012

Improvements have been made to the Rural Priorities Case Document Storage System. This will allow applicants/agents and staff to better manage the Case Documents list through the introduction of a Search and Sort facility for documents that have been uploaded into the system.

  • On accessing the Case Document screen the ability to 'search' is hidden. To open the search facility select the 'Show Search' button on the Case Documents screen.

  • The search facility works like an advanced find. The criteria that can be searched on is set by the system and is selected through a dropdown list. It is possible to refine the search by adding more than one search criteria.

  • To sort the document list by ascending/descending order, click on the up/down arrow beside the column heading that you want the list to be sorted by.

  • The online SOI guidance for Online Proposals and the Internal User guidance for Processing Cases in Front Office will be updated in due course.

June 2012

Guidance changes for June are as follows:

19/20 May 2012

Our Elgin Area Office has now relocated within the town. The new address is:

AFRC - RPID
Alexander Fleming House
8 Southfield Drive
Elgin
IV30 6GR
Tel: 0300 020 1288
Fax: 01463 723189
Email: SGRPID.Elgin@scotland.gsi.gov.uk

The new address reflects our recent Directorate name change to Agriculture, Food and Rural Communities (AFRC). We remain within this Directorate as the Rural Payments and Inspections Division (RPID).

18 May 2012

Forestry Commission Scotland has announced changes to Rural Priorities grant funding that aim to boost more planting of productive forests. The Farmland Premium associated with the Native Woodland planting option is limited to 50 ha per application. The Central Scotland Mixed Woodland Option will be limited, in certain locations, to a maximum area between 20 and 45 ha. FCS encourages productive forestry that will yield a future timber harvest capable of sustaining and expanding Scotland's forestry industry. 

1 May 2012

May changes are as follows:

Please refer to the Guidance Updates table for a comprehensive list of amendments.

17 April 2012

Important changes have been made relating to the timing of 2012 applications for Regional Priorities (9) designated sites.

16 April 2012

Update on continuity between programmes

We aim to ensure continuity between the end of the current SRDP and the start of the new programme. There are a number of factors we are working to clarify as soon we can, to minimise any disruption to rural businesses and land managers.

  • There is a funding round taking place in June 2012 (for Axes 1 and 3 applications) and September 2012 (for Axis 2 applications). We will also continue to use the Ongoing Approval process for forestry and Regional Priority 9 designated site applications which meet the required criteria.

 

  • Awards for Axis 1 applications will be capped at £100,000. Full details are available in the key facts section.

  • All existing Axis 3 options remain open, with no cap other than state aid restrictions where applicable.

  • There has been no decision taken yet on whether there will be any further funding rounds next year. Any decision on that will be made after this year's funding rounds at which point we will be able to assess what, if any, budget is left.

  • While there is still expenditure available to be committed on individual RP Options, for example forestry, we will continue to accept and process proposals throughout 2012 and 2013.

  • It will also be clearer later in the year whether there will be transitional arrangements between the current and next programme which would allow us to commit capital spend in 2014 and beyond.

1 April 2012

April changes:

  • Application forms have been updated to reflect the merger of the Rural Priorities (RP1) form with the Single Application Form (SAF). Question seven in the SAF now covers the annual recurrent options.

 

 

 

  • SRDP invoicing requirements in relation to Actual Cost claims have been amended. All claims in respect of Actual Costs must be supported by fully receipted original invoices.

1 March 2012

Updates have been made to a number of Rural Priorities guidance pages from today. Details are provided below. Further detail will become available in due course on the Guidance Updates page.

  • The Rural Development Contracts - Rural Priorities (RDC-RP) annual recurrent claim form (RPI) is due to be discontinued and replaced with question seven on the IACS(2) - Single Application Form (SAF). This will take effect from 15 March 2012. Please read the guidance on claiming RDC-RP annual recurrent options in the IACS(Ia) 2012. We recommend, if you have access to the internet, that you complete and submit your SAF and LMO(2) at www.ruralpaymentsonline.com. Our online payment system is easy to use - simply pre-register online if using it for the first time. For more information please contact the Rural Payments Online Helpdesk on 0845 601 7597.

 

 

  • The Guidance for Staff relating to the Rural Priorities Outcome Plan, checklist, and workflow, has been amended to reflect current invoicing and receipting process.

 

  • < >State Aid Guidance for Staff has been amended to reflect a review of restrictions and de minimis regulation.
    1 February 2012
  •  February changes are as follows:

    • The Forestry Outcome Plan has been amended to read more clearly to a forestry-specific audience.

    • Grant Rates for Axis 3 Options have been updated to reflect the Information and Awareness details stated in the related Guidance updated on 16 June 2011.

    • The Guidance on Grazed Grassland for Chough has been amended with clarification on the maximum stocking density of 1 LA/ha.

    • The Management of Hedgerows Option has been updated to include the new vole guard capital item requirement.

    • The Extended Hedges Option has been amended to reflect the addition of the new vole guard capital item and the replacement of a broken hyperlink.

    • Woodland Creation - Central Scotland Mixed Woodland is now updated to introduce eligibility to allow up to 50% conifers in specific circumstances.

    • The Supporting Biodiversity Package is now available under Regional Priority 9 (which relates to management which will benefit the special features on Scotland's nationally important nature sites) in all RPAC regions.

    • The Vernacular Buildings Package has been amended with two updates. These cover 1: Clarification of eligible building types to exclude certain types of structure, and 2: Clarification of rules relating to the use of this option in conjunction with other Rural Priorities options.

    30 December 2011

    Changes to the Rural Priorities Assessment Process

    Following the recent announcement about changes to the assessment (scoring) process, we have now updated the Proposal Assessment pages of the website with the new guidance, which applies to all cases submitted after 16 November 2011.

    19 December 2011

    A new Axis 3 Option has been implemented - Upland Habitat Management Plans will assist in maintaining and enhancing the condition of special features on upland sites designated as Sites of Special Scientific Interest, Special Protection Areas or Special Areas for Conservation (SSSIs, SPAs or SACs).

    16 December 2011

    An upgrade of our case document storage system is to be carried out from Wednesday 4 until Friday 6 January 2012 inclusive. Although you will be able to work on your SoI/Proposal in Front Office you will not be able to upload or view documents during this time, nor will the system produce a record of the case details report that generates when a proposal is committed. You therefore should not commit Proposals while this upgrade is taking place.

    We apologise for any inconvenience.

    5 December 2011

    Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs and the Environment Richard Lochhead has formally announced the results of the September 2011 Rural Priorities funding round.

    A News Release is available here.

    Case Studies of successful projects are available here.

    Individual case results can be accessed on the results page.

    1 December 2011

    Changes have been made to a number of Rural Priorities guidance pages from today. Details are provided below. Further detail is available on the Guidance Updates page.

    16 November 2011

    Axis 1 and 3 applications to be considered in June 2012

    Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs and the Environment Richard Lochhead has announced that a further Rural Priorities funding round will take place in June 2012. The Regional Proposal Assessment Committees (RPACs) will consider applications for Axis 1 (restructuring, development and innovation) and 3 (rural enterprise and rural communities) projects.

    Important information about the June 2012 funding round and important changes is available here.

    You can access the timetable for this assessment round here.

    A News Release is available here.

    Full details of the options available under Axis 1 and 3 are available here.

     [u1]New guidance link