Funding for rural businesses

Agri-Environment Climate Change Scheme awards.

Nearly £50 million of funding to encourage environmentally friendly land management practices is to be released into the rural economy.

The Agri-Environment Climate Change Scheme (AECS) 2017 has awarded £47.7 million to 801 projects over the next five years to protect and enhance Scotland’s natural heritage, improve water quality, manage flood risk, and help agricultural businesses adapt to climate change.

Announcing the award, Environment Secretary Roseanna Cunningham said:

“It is vital that we continue to protect and enhance our environment, safeguard our natural heritage and continue Scotland’s leading role in addressing environmental challenges.

“I am therefore delighted to confirm the award of nearly £50 million to 761 businesses across the rural economy through the Agri-Environment Climate Change Scheme that will support a range of measures to create a greener and more prosperous environment, that protects our iconic species, habitats and improves public access.

“By promoting good land management practices that protect our environment, AECS helps agricultural businesses adapt to the challenge of climate change and I can reconfirm that  Agri-Environment, Diffuse Pollution and Organic schemes will open in January 2018, with a round for Improving Public Access expected to open in the spring.”

John Macdonald whose business will receive nearly £20,000 through the scheme to manage his croft in collaboration with his two sons’ crofts said: 

“We are pleased that our applications to the AECS scheme have been successful.  This will help us to retain our native cattle and continue to manage corncrake cover, grassland for waders and machair cropping as we have done under previous agri-environment schemes.  Our management will also benefit  the corncrake, wader and machair features of Loch Bee and South Uist Machair and Lochs designated sites.”


The scheme is delivered by the Rural Payments and Inspections Division of the Scottish Government and Scottish Natural Heritage.

Since it was launched in 2014, AECS has committed a total of £99 million to 1,417 businesses in 2015 and 2016.


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