AECS application window extended

river, with fields and tress
Norette Ferns

A two-week extension to the application window for the Agri-Environment Climate Scheme (AECS) has been announced by Rural Secretary Fergus Ewing.

Applications can now be submitted until midnight on Tuesday 2 May 2017.

Previously published deadlines for Slurry Storage and Improving Public Access funding remain the same.

The Agri-Environment Climate Scheme is part of the Scottish Rural Development Programme (SRDP). It promotes land management practices which protect and enhance Scotland's magnificent natural heritage, improve water quality, manage flood risk and mitigate and adapt to climate change. It also helps to improve public access and preserve historic sites.

Commenting on his decision to extend the deadline, Mr Ewing said:

"It is vital that we do all we can to mitigate the potential impact of the ongoing development of the CAP IT system. Moreover, I want to see as much funding as possible reach farmers and crofters who need it most and who can make best use of the funding in our more specialist schemes, like AECS, especially where the schemes support wider government priorities.

"I've listened to representations from stakeholders about making additional time available for the application process for this round of the Agri-Environment Climate Scheme, and have decided to extend the application deadline for applying to the Agri-Environment Climate Scheme to 2 May 2017.

"In the meantime, we are very focussed on fixing all on-going issues and are making progress at delivering new IT functionality to support future payment processes. I know that is what stakeholders and customers want, and that is what this government is striving hard to deliver. However, while there is still a lot of hard work required to achieve this, we also need the cooperation of stakeholders in keeping additional demands on the IT side to a minimum.

"As I have said before, my number one priority remains fixing the CAP payment issues and I am determined that the most farmers will receive the majority of their CAP entitlement well in advance of the end of the payment period."

A total of £350 million will be available between 2015-2020 to fund a range of activities that help to maintain and enhance our rich and varied natural environment. Since launching, 1675 AECS applications have been approved committing £101.46 million to rural businesses.

Visit the Rural Payments and Services website for more information on AECS.

For an introduction to the SRDP, watch our short animation below.