Farming Turns to Wildlife
Today’s announced £42.3m spend on schemes supporting environmentally friendly farming has come as welcome news to the Scottish Wildlife Trust.
Deputy minister for the environment and rural development Allan Wilson said today funds worth more than £38m to encourage the management of farmland habitats, and over £3m of grants for organic farming, will be paid out from the Rural Stewardship Scheme and the Organic Aid Scheme.
The RSS cash will help 1,755 projects to support wildlife conservation on farms and crofts.
The money is an increase of more than £10m on previous annual spending.
‘The minister’s announcement is an important step for farming in Scotland,’ says SWT’s policy and parliamentary manager Lisa Schneidau. ‘It signals that the tide is finally turning for wildlife on Scotland’s farms – both in the number of farmers participating in schemes, and in the amount of money spent.’
But Schneidau adds that with more than 70% of Scotland’s land farmed and over £450m of tax payers money spent on farm subsidies in Scotland each year, it still represents a small proportion of the total.
‘This should be seen as a welcome start to a longer process of ‘greening’ agriculture, even more support will be needed if we are to properly restore the wildlife that has been lost through intensive methods.
‘As radical changes to the Common Agricultural Policy subsidy system are progressed, we urge the minister to make a long term commitment to use even more of this subsidy for protecting, enhancing and restoring our precious wildlife resource.’