Environmental scheme awards £30m

More than 600 rural businesses involved in projects designed to protect the environment and mitigate the impact of climate change will share £30 million from the latest round of the Agri-Environment Climate Scheme (AECS) 2021, the Scottish Government has announced.

An extension to the funding of the scheme, which promotes land management practices designed to protect and enhance Scotland’s natural heritage, improve water quality, manage flood risk, improve public access and mitigate and adapt to climate change until 2024 was confirmed by Rural Affairs Secretary Mairi Gougeon in October last year.

Applications for the next round will open on 24 January and farmers and crofters will be able to apply for support for conversion to and maintenance of organic land, alongside a suite of other measures aimed at promoting low carbon farming and protecting the environment.

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“AECS has provided almost 3000 applicants with around £244m since it launched,” said Gougeon. “This funding for the sector has helped us restore and enhance nature through increased biodiversity, improved soils and contributions to mitigating climate change at the same time as providing high quality, locally produced food.”

She said that the AECS continued to play an important role in meeting environmental targets and supporting ambitions to double the amount of land under organic management – and revealed that the 2021 AECS application round increased the area under conversion or maintenance support to 86,577ha.



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