Union Frustrated at Delay in Climate Scheme Contracts

NFU Scotland has written to the Scottish Government to highlight their disappointment that 2019 Agri-Environment Climate Scheme (AECS) contracts are still not in place, hindering the progress of applicants in implementing biodiversity and climate change mitigation measures.

The funding available is vital in enabling farmers and crofters to fully play their part as stewards of a significant majority of Scotland’s environmental interests – including very precious species and habitats.

NFU Scotland President Andrew McCornick said, “Whilst we appreciate that the delay in issuing these contracts has been unavoidable due to the uncertainty of available budget, we are concerned that these contracts are not in place with successful applicants still waiting on an authority to start work letter. The lengthy and difficult application process for AECS, combined with these delays, only further discourages potential applicants from considering these schemes.

“NFU Scotland is also concerned that at this point in time there are no schemes open to new applicants offering support in implementing mitigation measures for climate change, protecting and enhancing biodiversity, improving water quality or managing flood risks, as the 2020 AECS scheme is only available to those whose AECS contracts ends this year. Scotland’s farmers and crofters play a vital role in delivering a wide range of environmental benefits and public goods but must be supported in reaching these objectives.

NFU Scotland Environmental Regulations Policy Manager Jenny Brunton said “NFU Scotland is disappointed that 2019 AECS contracts are not in place with successful applicants still waiting on an authority to start work letter.

“The delay in commencement of works, in conjunction with the ongoing period of challenging weather, must be taken into consideration when applicants are unable to meet prescriptive calendar dates or requests for variations to their contracts.” ENDS

Contact Douglas Ross on 0131 472 4059

Author: Douglas Ross

Date Published:

News Article No.: 16/20

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