Rural economy and the environment
Key achievements over last five years
Investment has been a key driver of the Scottish Government's efforts to grow the rural economy. Over the period, there have been significant investments within the sector.
Flooding is one of the greatest climate risks in Scotland. In 2016, Scottish Ministers and COSLA agreed a 10-year funding plan to support delivery of actions, including 40 prioritised flood protection schemes and works, set out in the Flood Risk Management Strategies published by the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) in December 2015. The agreement guarantees that until 2026, the level of flooding capital grant in the local government settlement is set at a minimum of £42 million per annum.
Progress in 2020-21
During 2020 the Smithton and Culloden Flood Protection Scheme was completed which will protect some 120 properties from the risk of flooding. Construction work also started on the Hawick Flood Protection scheme and the Upper Garnock Flood Protection Scheme and when completed they will reduce the risk of flooding to some further 1300 properties. The schemes receive 80% funding from the Scottish Government through the general capital grant.
Activity going forward
Peatland - Up to 2022-23, capital investment of £100 million in our natural assets is being provided as part of the Scottish Government's 10-year £250 million commitment to restore 20,000 ha annually, and 250,000 ha by 2030.
Agricultural support programme - Up to 2025-26, agricultural support funding of up to £220 million is being provided to support legacy payments under EC schemes, a new round of the Agri-Environment Climate Scheme (AECS 2021) as well as funding for low-carbon activities and agricultural support which is being developed following recommendations from farmer-led groups during 2021. Through the CAP Simplification and Improvement project (Common Agricultural Policy), improvements are being to existing schemes under the stability and simplicity agenda over the period 2021-24. This project also takes into account the climate emergency and wider environmental stability.
National Islands Plan - £30 million has been allocated to the National Islands Plan (NIP). In order to ensure that this £30 million capital allocation provides best value for island communities whilst supporting them in their economic recovery, the framework for the Islands Programme will be underpinned by the principles of place-based community wealth building, whilst ensuring it promotes a fair, integrated, green and inclusive approach to island policy. The NIP will be spread over two programme themes of 'Transformation' and 'Wellbeing', which will encompass four key project streams.
In the period 2021-22 to 2025-26, we will continue to invest in protecting our homes and businesses from flooding, make investments to support our transition to a Circular Economy, and invest in growing and conserving our natural assets. As part of our green recovery, we will invest an additional £150 million in flood risk management (complimenting the £42 million provided annually to Councils), and almost £12 million in coastal change adaptation to help us adapt to the threat of sea level rises and protect our assets. As part of supporting our transition towards a circular economy, we will invest up to £75 million to improve local authority recycling collection infrastructure, accelerate of the landfill gas capture and improve waste data through electronic waste tracking.
We are investing £58 million in the Edinburgh Biomes initiative at the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh to transform the garden's estate and to improve carbon management and environmental public engagement.
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