Farmers, crofters and other land managers are being encouraged to take advantage of a new streamlined approval process for applications to the Rural Priorities scheme, part of the Scotland Rural Development Programme (SRDP).
Richard Lochhead, Cabinet Secretary for Environment and Rural Affairs, announced the changes in March and they came into effect in May. Projects worth up to £50,000 can benefit from the process.
Applicants can use the existing online application system but don’t have to wait for the next funding round for it to be considered for approval, as this is done on an ongoing basis.
Ron Macdonald, head of policy and advice at Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH), said the system is aimed particularly at those with designated nature sites in unfavourable condition, or who have existing schemes due to come to an end.
He added: “We hope this new streamlined approval process will encourage more farmers, crofters and other land managers to apply for support to improve the condition of nature sites on their land. It should make the process more straightforward, enabling land managers to get a decision on their funding application sooner. This in turn will speed up Scotland's progress towards the target of having 95 per cent of our protected areas in favourable condition.”
Anyone considering a Rural Priorities application for managing their designated nature conservation site is asked to get in touch with their local SNH office.