The Scottish Government will open a new round of the Agri-Environment Climate Scheme (AECS) in late January. The AECS will focus on designated sites, organics, management supporting farmland waders, corn buntings and corncrakes, slurry stores and improving public access for activities such as walking and cycling. The announcement was welcomed by environmentalists and farmers’ unions who had been pressing for the scheme that “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”, according to the Scottish Government. According to Rural Secretary Fergus Ewing, this AECS round has been restricted because of a £170 million shortfall in UK Government funding in the 2021-22 to 2024-25 period. The £170m figure was disputed by UK Government minister for Scotland David Duguid, who said last month Scotland’s farmers would have far greater security in the coming year than they would have had inside the EU.
Scottish agri-environment scheme to reopen in 2021, The Press and Journal, 2020-12-25