New Greening Rules to Affect Scottish Farmers

NFU Scotland has been in discussion with Scottish Government officials about positive changes to EU Greening rules announced late last week in Brussels.  

The agreed text and EU Commission guidance say that these will come into force at the end of the year but with official publication not expected until well into 2018, there are legal questions about applying the new rules in advance of their official publication.  

Also missing is some essential detail on how some of the changes will be applied.

The main changes impact on exemptions from Greening for some and a change to the weighting factors for two Ecological Focus Area (EFA) options.

These new changes are on top of the positive ones already included in the Scottish Government’s guidance documents for 2018, such as the ability to do some drainage work during the EFA Fallow period and the new EFA Hedges option.  

Farmers who are not yet familiar with the detail of the changes are urged to read the Scottish Government’s Greening Booklet for 2018 before the new Scheme year begins.

NFU Scotland Vice President Gary Mitchell said: “There have been a number of technical changes to the Greening rules - all of which are positive.  

“These changes will still deliver on all the environmental and biodiversity requirements set by Greening but give farmers some much needed flexibility.”

Notes to Editors

  • After prolonged negotiation between the EU Parliament, Council and Commission, a text of the ‘omnibus’ regulation, which amends several EU regulations, was agreed last week.
  • A change to the wording of the exemption that applies to farmers with more than 75 percent of their land in grass, herbaceous forage, leguminous crops or fallow may exempt some Scottish farmers from the Crop Diversification and EFA.  Analysis done by the Scottish Government suggests that this will affect only a small number of farmers.
  • A new 1.5 times EFA weighting factor is being introduced for “land lying fallow for melliferous plants” (pollen and nectar rich species).  Detailed rules on when these would have to be planted and on their management, have not been published.
  • The weighting factor for EFA Nitrogen Fixing Crops is to be increased from 0.7 to 1.0, making it the same as for EFA Fallow.


Contact Bob Carruth on 0131 472 4006

Author: Bob Carruth

Date Published:

News Article No.: 192/17

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