Rural funding

Contrary to Andrew Arbuckle's assertion about the Scottish Rural Development Programme (Comment, 26 April), public agencies are specifically excluded from receiving any SRDP funding.

In fact, 14 million of Scottish Natural Heritage's (SNH) budget has been transferred into SRDP over the six years of the programme. The SRDP is now the principal source of funding to help those in the private and voluntary sectors who manage protected areas.

SNH, the Scottish Government Rural Payment and Inspections Directorate and Forestry Commission Scotland have joint responsibility to deliver the programme. We accommodate this additional work with our existing staffing levels and by re-prioritising accordingly.

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To help potential applicants we provide advice on what the priorities of the programme are. Applications are assessed against these priorities and the other applications that are competing for the limited funds.

The Regional Proposal Assessment Committees, located throughout Scotland, make recommendations for approval. They include representatives from a range of public bodies including government and local authorities. The Cabinet secretary gives final approval. It is in everyone's interest that we receive applications that deliver the most public benefit for the taxpayer. In any one funding round, applications which reach a quality threshold will be funded.


Scottish Natural Heritage

Great Glen House