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).

Executive Summary

1. This second consultation on the Scotland Rural Development Programme (SRDP) for 2014 - 2020 builds on the proposals outlined in the stage 1 consultation held in summer 2013. It takes account of the feedback from this first consultation and extensive stakeholder engagement.

2. Rural Development is Pillar 2 of the Common Agricultural Policy. Pillar 1 is Direct Payments (DP) which provides direct support to the agricultural sector, with roughly £450 million per year currently being allocated to Scottish farmers in order to sustain their businesses. The new DP consultation will be launched in December and will set out options on the future implementation of this support.

3. It is important that the SRDP meets European objectives, along with meeting Scottish Government's National Performance Framework. Therefore, this consultation discusses the rural development strategy and the strategic context for the SRDP - including how it will align with other European Structural and Investment Funds (ESIF) under the Partnership Agreement.

4. Our priorities for the Rural Development have been identified through analysis of strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats (SWOT). The priorities include supporting business viability, protecting and improving the natural environment, addressing the impact of climate change and supporting rural communities. We will have a joint approach with other ESIF for business support, skills training, social inclusion/local development and advice.

5. A key aspect of the document is the budget for the SRDP 2014 - 2020 through which the priorities will be addressed. The SRDP budget, we are seeking to deliver is assumed to be £1.326bn. This will include European rural development funds, domestic funds and transfer of funds from DP of around 9.5% which is necessary to address the specific needs facing Scotland. This is a target only, and will be dependent on domestic budget allocations from the UK Government and final decision on the transfer of resources from DP. We need to inform the European Commission of the rate of transfer from DP into SRDP by end of December this year. Therefore, we are consulting separately in early December on the most appropriate rate to set in order to achieve our priorities for rural Scotland and ensure the agricultural sector is adequately supported.

6. This budget has allowed support for our main priorities. However, the limited funds means that support for the historic environment, quality assurance programmes, and animal welfare and management will be taken forward through other schemes/approaches such as: the Agri-Environment-Climate Scheme (historic environment); Knowledge Transfer and Innovation Fund (animal welfare); and the assessment process (quality assurance).

7. Another key aspect of the consultation is delivery - the schemes we propose to use and how they will be delivered. Below is a summary of the schemes, along with their indicative budget allocations we are proposing:

Delivered Through Rural Regional Delivery Partnership:

Less Favoured Area Support Scheme (LFASS) £459m
Support to ensure continued active farming/land management in remote and constrained rural areas to provide environmental, economic and social benefits.
Forestry Grant Scheme £252m
Support to stimulate woodland creation and encourage the sustainable management of woodlands to provide a range of economic, environmental and social benefits including climate change mitigation.
Agri-Environment-Climate Scheme £355m
Support for investments to protect and enhance the environment, and mitigate and adapt to the impact of climate change. This scheme will include organic farming and genetic resources. Also included is £15m for peatland restoration.
New Entrants Scheme £20m
A business start-up grant of up to €70,000 for qualifying new entrants.
Crofting & Small Farms Support Scheme £20m
This scheme will provide grants to crofters and small farmers to take forward improvements and deliver enhanced environmental and business benefits.
Support for Co-operative Action £10m
Support for development, animation and implementation of co-operative projects, delivered through the individual schemes.

8. For the schemes delivered by the Rural Regional Delivery Partnership (SG Rural Payments and Inspections Division, Scottish Natural Heritage, Forestry Commission Scotland) it is proposed that there is a common application process (excluding LFASS), with targeting of funds and an assessment carried out by a case officer network. There will be two levels of entry:

  • Level 1 - applications for grant up to £75,000 with continuous local approval. For forestry the threshold will remain at £750,000.
  • Level 2 - applications for grant above £75,000 which will be considered nationally by an expert panel.

9. To ensure effective use of funds, it is proposed that applicants will be limited to a single application for each scheme per year for level 1, and a single application for each scheme per year for level 2. Exceptions will apply to the management of designated sites and forestry schemes.

10. Business support outwith agriculture will be delivered through a Small Rural Business Scheme and support for the food and drink sector.

Food and Drink Support £70m
Support for the processing, marketing and co-operation for food and drink.
Small Rural Business Scheme £20m
Business development support for small rural businesses (farm diversification, social enterprises, other small rural businesses outwith the food and drink sector).


Knowledge Transfer and Innovation Fund £10m
Funding for vocational training, skills development and knowledge transfer initiatives in the form of workshops, training course, coaching, demonstration activities, benchmarking, information actions and farm visits.
Support for community based development through providing opportunities for individuals, businesses and communities to come together and support rural development in their local area.
Advice £20m
Provision of assistance to farmers, crofters, forest holders and other land managers via a dedicated advice helpline, web guidance, publications and links to case officers and operational customer service.
Broadband £9m
Support for digital in rural areas. Delivery options being explored.
Technical Assistance £15m
Including the Scottish Rural Network for supporting and promoting rural development through the sharing of ideas and best practice. SRDP implementation, evaluation and monitoring.

11. Communication and customer support will be better co-ordinated and improved through direct customer support (including an aim to increase the amount of assessment visits), revised guidance, online services and improved internal communication. An expanded Advisory Service will provide advice and assistance and the Scottish Rural Network will provide networking and best practice examples. An improved monitoring and evaluation framework will allow better information to be available to inform decisions over the impact and effectiveness of the programme.

12. Finally, the consultation considers two of the required impact assessments - the Business and Regulatory Impact Assessment and the Equalities Impact Assessment. A Strategic Environmental Assessment is also being carried out and is subject to a separate consultation which will launch shortly. Further information can found on our website at

13. Responses to the questions in consultation paper (including partial responses) are welcomed. Please respond via the online questionnaire where the questions are reproduced. The closing date for responses is 28 February 2014.


Email: Julie Brown

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