Scotland Rural Development Programme (SRDP) 2014-2020 Stage 2: Final Proposals

Stage 2 document setting out the final proposals for the new rural development programme period (2014-2020).

Section 11: Support for Co-Operative Action


245. The proposal for a separate fund to support co-operative action was supported by 68% of respondents to the stage 1 consultation as it was felt that it would help to encourage and facilitate such projects. It can potentially deliver significant benefits for Scotland's natural assets in particular (although all areas can benefit from collaborative/co-operative approaches, and relevant schemes will address this within their overall approach).

246. Improved customer guidance and more effective targeting should help achieve greater co-operation to some extent. However, facilitation and co-ordination of projects is needed to increase co-operative action and therefore deliver wider outcomes.

Legal basis

247. Article 36 of the RDR.


248. The SRUC report "Modernising Scottish Agriculture" recommended greater collaboration in order to secure improvements across priority areas for agriculture and the environment. Through collaboration, ecosystem or landscape scale projects can be enabled more effectively which can help more successful delivery across a range of outcomes. For example a project that covers all of a priority catchment area in order to secure improvements in water quality, flood-risk and biodiversity, or reduces habitat fragmentation.

249. Co-operative projects can go ahead in the current programme, but we need to make this easier if we are going to see an increase in this approach. Given the limited budget available we believe it is important to promote, encourage and facilitate this type of working, given the benefits we have seen from the current programme when co-operative projects were taken forward.

250. An example of a successful co-operative approach is the Eddleston Water Project led by the Tweed Forum which received LEADER funding. This project co-ordinated a number of partners to develop a restoration strategy to both restore natural habitats and help reduce the risk of flooding to Eddleston and Peebles. This required changes to land management practices by seven different landowners and the Forum continues to work closely with landowners and the local community.

251. The project itself consisted of taking a river which was deliberately straightened 200 years ago, and reintroducing meanders in a couple of places to slow the flow in the event of heavy rainfall. In addition, the surrounding land is to be planted with native woodland designed to flood if necessary to save the town of Peebles downstream. This shows what can be done when the right package of funding, facilitation and motivation is in place. However, it was no easy task taking a project forward involving so many different interests and we must look to smooth this process for the future programme. We believe this can be done by allowing funding not just for the works themselves, but also for the task of facilitating the agreement and animating the project.

Fund scope

252. Applications can be made under this scheme for individuals or organisations to take forward the development, animation and implementation of co-operative land based projects that secure improvements for the climate, environment and agriculture. This can either be through project officers bringing together a group of farmers and land managers under the banner of a single project, or for organisations themselves with permission of landowner/farmer, to take forward a project that straddles several farms/areas of land. The regulations set the fundamental rule of collaboration/co-operation as being two entities being involved in the project. This must be the case in any application for support under this measure.

253. The costs which this fund would cover are:

  • Studies/plans of the area concerned - all costs covered.
  • Running costs of the co-operation (e.g. salary and support costs of project coordinator) - all costs covered.
  • Animation of the identified area in order to take forward a project (e.g. recruitment of participants and networking between them) - all costs covered.
  • Direct costs of implementing project - costs will be covered up to the maximum amounts allowed by the regulations.

254. Project coordinators/facilitators will play a key role in the success of any project, from inception to delivery. It is they who will be responsible for supporting the various actors involved. They will ensure: all involved fully understand what they are signing up to; plans are developed to timescales and requirements; any necessary advice is identified and secured; all appropriate partners are identified and secured; and the provision of administration support for the application process and implementation and on-going management of project.

255. To ensure consistent support is provided to the applicant we will ensure there is a single point of contact for a co-operative project, and that the project will be considered in its entirety so a single decision can be given to all applicants.

256. In addition to the specific elements that will be eligible for support through this fund, the assessment process will be designed to recognise the importance of projects at a landscape/ecosystem scale. Therefore co-operation will be weighted accordingly in the assessment.

Budget allocation

257. A small allocation of £10 million has been set aside for the facilitation element of co-operative action. The costs of the project itself will be covered from within the budget of the priority issue addressed. For example, if the project is for achievement of agri-environment obligations the Agri-Environment-Climate Scheme budget will be used. This will ensure we can monitor the budget spend per priority, while at the same time ensuring that the merits of this type of working are promoted clearly to potential applicants rather than have the approach buried within different schemes.

Links with other activity

258. The co-operative action will be targeted on specific areas where the evidence shows action is required in order to meet national and local targets. Using the evidence gathered as part of the targeting approach, SRDP delivery partners will identify the priority themes for this fund (such as water quality improvement in priority catchment areas; particular types and areas for habitat creation; removal of invasive non-native species). Delivery partners will then work together to help promote the initiatives we would like to see taken forward under this fund.

259. The benefits arising from co-operation action will also be reported on through the Scottish Rural Network and other communication channels, in order to raise awareness of the types of benefits to be gained from this form of working.

Question 22

How would you rate your broad satisfaction with the proposals for co-operation? Please tick the appropriate box in the online questionnaire.

Very satisfied
Quite satisfied
Neither satisfied nor dissatisfied
Quite dissatisfied
Very dissatisfied

If you are dissatisfied please briefly outline your reasons (in the space given in the online questionnaire).


Email: Julie Brown

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