NFUS pushes for end to '˜gold-plating' of CAP rules

With plans already being made for next year's cropping, NFU Scotland has urged the Scottish Government to strip out 'gold-plating' from the CAP greening rules, thus removing the competitive disadvantage faced by Scottish farmers.

Detailed records are needed for permanent grassland. Picture: Kimberley Powell
Detailed records are needed for permanent grassland. Picture: Kimberley Powell

The union confirmed the move had nothing to do with the recent Brexit vote but aims to deliver a CAP support package that worked in the interests of Scottish agriculture.

It reaffirms a previous call to remove a significant number of Scotland-only greening rules that place growers north of the Border at a competitive disadvantage.

Livestock producers are also dealing with “gold-plating” of regulations, with nutrient recording requirements on permanent grassland that go above and beyond European rules.

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In order to qualify for the greening element of their support payments, Scottish farmers must maintain a record of their intended applications of inorganic nitrogen fertiliser and lime on their fields of permanent grass.

In his letter to the government, union president Allan Bowie described that regulation as “no more than another compliance trip wire with no positive environmental outcome”.

He said the requirement applied to those already carrying out full soil testing and recommended nutrient management plans, plus those adhering to the stringent requirements of Scotland’s Nitrate Vulnerable Zones Action Plan.

Bowie added: “Given the uncertainty that lies ahead, Scotland’s farmers and crofters deserve to get the best deal from greening measures and Scottish Government must use this opportunity to strip out all of its own gold-plating.”