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Scotland Rural Development Programme


Rural Development Contracts - Rural Priorities

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What are rural development contracts - rural priorities?

Rural Development Contracts - Rural Priorities is an integrated funding mechanism which will deliver targeted environmental, social and economic benefits. It will contribute to delivery of the Scottish Government's strategic objectives through Regional Priorities, agreed with stakeholders for each of the 11 SRDPregions. It is a competitive mechanism to ensure that contracts are awarded for the proposals which are best able to deliver these priorities.

RDC - Rural Priorities are part of the Scotland Rural Development Programme ( SRDP). Its key outcomes are to contribute to:

  • improved business viability and competitiveness
  • improved water quality
  • adaptation to, and mitigation of, climate change
  • protection and enhancement of biodiversity and landscapes
  • sustainable rural communities.

The regional priorities will be identified and agreed with local stakeholders through Regional Proposal Assessment Committees ( RPACs). These priorities will take account of local conditions and existing regional strategies.

Regional priorities will be delivered through 'packages' of options tailored to achieving specific outcomes. Guidance will be provided on the options most likely to deliver these outcomes and individual proposals will be assessed on their potential contribution to these regional priorities.

Who can apply?

Individuals, businesses and properly constituted groups can apply. Additional eligibility criteria may also apply for specific individual options.

When and how do I apply?

  • You will need to have a 'Business Reference Number which can be arranged through SGRPID, FCS and SNH Area Offices. These office locations are listed on the Scottish Government website www.scotland.gov.uk/srdp
  • Applications will be dealt with in two stages:
  • You will first be required to prepare a brief Statement of Intent (SoI). Feedback will then be provided on the viability of the SoI so that you can judge whether or not to develop it into a full Proposal for the second stage.
  • The SoI and Proposal forms will be available on-line through the Scottish Government website.
  • Guidance can be found on the Scottish Government website and from Case Officers located in SGRPID, FCS and SNH Area Offices.

Do any restrictions apply?


  • Although there is no financial ceiling for Rural Priorities applications some individual options do have limits set within the Rural Development Regulation (for example the maximum amount of funding available under the new entrants option is £25,000).
  • Approved Proposals must adhere to European legislative requirements.

Where can I go for assistance or guidance?

You can seek advice from Case Officers who will be available within SGRPID, FCS and SNH Area Offices.

What information do I need to supply with my proposal?

  • You will be expected to submit outcome plans which will be a mandatory part of the application process. Any approval for funding of specialist input to the development of these plans will be given at the Statement of Intent stage.
  • You should be able to indicate how essential consents/approvals will be obtained.

What will happen to my proposals once I have submitted them?

A Case Officer will review your proposal before it is presented to the RPAC. Proposals will then be considered by the RPAC to assess their contribution to the Regional Priorities agreed for that area. Proposals can be submitted at any time to be considered at the next appropriate RPAC meeting. We envisage that RPACs will meet three times a year.

Once I am participating in 'rural priorities' what general conditions will apply?

  • If you undertake any land-based measures, including forestry management measures, under Rural Development Contracts 'Rural Priorities'. Your holding will be subject to Cross Compliance and Good Agricultural and Environmental Conditions ( GAEC).
  • Claims for recurrent annual payouts must be made annually by 15 May and will be subject to verification including on-site inspections.

What will happen if I fail to meet these conditions?

If you do not meet the requirements of Cross Compliance, your payments through Rural Development Contracts and other schemes within the SRDP may be subject to the reductions and penalties set out in the guidance notes for Cross Compliance.

Where can I find more details?

Web-based detailed guidance (explanatory notes and technical and specialist guidance) will be provided on the Scottish Government website www.scotland.gov.uk/srdp