Rural Payments to organisations managing/owning Hopetoun Estate: EIR release

Information request and response under the Environmental Information (Scotland) Regulations 2004.

Information requested

Information about the Hopetoun Estate:

  1. The details of all Rural Payments to all the organisations that were or are managing/owning this land over the last six years.
  2. Which organisation(s) received what payments.
  3. A breakdown of these payments and what they were for.
  4. If there were any payments for heather restoration, herbicide spraying or muirburn, if applicable, depending on the type of land this estate covers.

As the information you have requested is 'environmental information' for the purposes of the Environmental Information (Scotland) Regulations 2004 (EIRs), we are required to deal with your request under those Regulations. We are applying the exemption at section 39(2) of the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002 (FOISA), so that we do not also have to deal with your request under FOISA.

This exemption is subject to the 'public interest test'. Therefore, taking account of all the circumstances of this case, we have considered if the public interest in disclosing the information outweighs the public interest in applying the exemption. We have found that, on balance, the public interest lies in favour of upholding the exemption, because there is no public interest in dealing with the same request under two different regimes. This is essentially a technical point and has no material effect on the outcome of your request.


I have now completed my search and identified 3 businesses. The Hopetoun Discretionary Trust 1985, Trinlaymire Farming Partnership and Aithrie Limited. None of which received payment for heather restoration, herbicide spraying or muirburn.

As I advised in my letter of 17 March, we receive Single Application Forms (SAFs) per business and not per Estate, although our SAF process advises applicants to declare all land on their SAF, including seasonal or land let out, some may choose not to submit a claim. Therefore, as you were not able to
provide a boundary map of the specific areas, or a list of the businesses you are interested in, I am afraid we cannot definitively confirm that these are the only businesses managing/owning this land. We are only responsible for information that we hold, and I am afraid we are unable to approach the Estate on your behalf.

The answers to your other questions are set out in the attached spreadsheet, which includes the:

  • Basic Payment Scheme (BPS) and the Greening element of that. However, please note for BPS if a businesses claim is greater than that of the land on the Estate, because their entitlements are not linked to a specific area of land (they are assigned to BPS payment regions), it is also not possible to set out the specific amounts paid against specific land parcels. Therefore although we can provide you with a payment amount, not all of the money can be attributed to the Hopetoun Estate land.
  • Convergence Payments, and also those paid in respect of Loans from the National Basic Payment Support Scheme (NBPSS).
  • Agri Environment Climate Scheme (AECS).

Please also note during my search colleagues who deal with Food Processing, Marketing and Cooperation (FPMC) confirmed that the detail of all awards made under that scheme are already publicly available. They have no way of checking if applicants were managing/owning land on the Estate as they do not hold that information. They provide the names of beneficiaries, the amount awarded and a project description, all of which can be found on the relevant page of the Rural Payment and Services site.

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Please quote the FOI reference
Central Enquiry Unit
Phone: 0300 244 4000

The Scottish Government
St Andrews House
Regent Road

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