Over 800 projects in Scotland are to benefit from funding from the Agri-Environment Climate Scheme to encourage environmentally-friendly land management practices.

AECS 2017 has awarded £47.7 million to 801 projects over the next five years to protect and enhance Scotland’s natural heritage, improve water quality, manage flood risk, and help agricultural businesses adapt to climate change.

Announcing the award, Environment Secretary Roseanna Cunningham said:

Local Government Minister Kevin Stewart has set out new legislation aimed to simplify and improve the planning system in Scotland.

The Planning (Scotland) Bill was introduced on 4 December and will create a new structure with clearer development plans, earlier engagement with communities, streamlined procedures and smarter resourcing.

Mr Stewart said:

Kirsty Crichton from the Scottish Rural Network reports from the recent Through A Rural Lens event held in Belfast.

Delegates from across the UK and Ireland attended the Through A Rural Lens: Rural Development and Networking Conference at the Clayton Hotel in Belfast, Northern Ireland on 14 and 15 November 2017.

Scotland was well represented by a range of organisations, as well as panel member Professor Sarah Skerratt from Scotland’s Rural College (SRUC).

The Annual Implementation Report (AIR) of the Scottish Rural Development Programme (SRDP) has been published.

Covering the first three years of the 2014-2020 Programme, the full report and Summary for Citizens can be viewed on the Scottish Government website.

Scottish Land & Estates are running a Land Managers’ Training Day on Wednesday 18 October at Perth Racecourse for those actively involved in Scottish land management.

The day will consist of presentations in the morning, a buffet lunch, workshops in the afternoon, and an ‘ask the experts’ panel session before close. 

The second stage of a project to restore peat bogs on Luss Estates in Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park has been completed.

The joint project between the National Park Authority and Luss Estates to tackle climate change saw six weeks of work carried out over an area of 80 hectares on Beinn Dubh and Mid Hill, above Glen Luss.

AECS and Pains on the Croft - Getting to Grips with Agri-Environment Schemes

Are you trying to get to grips with AECS, or wondering how managing your land differently could impact production?

This event will look at ‘win-win’ situations, where agri-environmental management can benefit both wildlife and production.

You will also spend time exploring some of the practicalities and challenges associated with applying for and managing land under an Agri-Environment Climate Scheme (AECS).

Free of charge to farmers, crofters and land managers.

A recently launched initiative is encouraging people to Adopt a Path in Scotland's National Parks.

The Adopt a Path initiative has been launched by The Mountains and The People Project and enables those passionate about Scotland's mountains to become custodians of their favourite routes.

Funding is available to land owners, managers, farmers, crofters and estates to help protect Scotland's peatlands.

Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) has already received more than £4 million of applications to the Peatland Action Fund and wants further applications before the closing date at the end of October.

For Peat's Sake - Managing Peatlands and Upland Grazing

Peatlands – friend or foe? This interactive meeting will focus on the current and future role that peatlands play within our hill farms.

Currently a valuable carbon sink, flood water store, wildlife habitat and clean water filter, will peatlands prove to be a future ‘cash cow’ for hill farms?

How can you, as farmers, increase the value of peatlands by restoration and, most importantly, how is this funded?