Bowie raises the pressure on Lochhead over ‘greening’ plans

Scottish rural affairs secretary Richard Lochhead
Scottish rural affairs secretary Richard Lochhead
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The message that gold-plated greening requirements have left Scottish agriculture at a competitive disadvantage was hammered home to Scottish rural affairs secretary Richard Lochhead last week.

And yesterday NFU Scotland said that it had written to the cabinet secretary to keep up the pressure on him to revisit environmental aspects of the new support scheme which the union claims are “over and above” what is required by Brussels.

NFU Scotland president, Allan Bowie said: “Decisive action by the cabinet secretary on these greening matters is needed if Scottish Government claims over its commitment to simplification of rules are to be seen as something more than just lip service.”

He said that the union had provided a long list of greening concerns to Scottish Government in spring of this year to feed into the European discussions led by Commissioner Hogan on greening and simplification – but said that, so far, there had been little or no feedback.

Bowie said that the letter reminded Lochhead that, while producers should be informed of what relaxations were being sought, there was still much which could be done to simplify greening in Scotland without any changes being needed in Europe:.

“Frustration and anger within our membership around greening continue to build,” he said.

“That is why the cabinet secretary’s offer to revisit the matter is so important and we now need action to deliver change rather than just words.”