Question reference: S6W-20419
- Asked by: Willie Rennie, MSP for North East Fife, Scottish Liberal Democrats
- Date lodged: 10 August 2023
Current status: Answered by Mairi Gougeon on 30 August 2023
To ask the Scottish Government whether it will provide a breakdown for each financial year that the Agri-Environment and Climate Scheme has been in operation of how many applications to the scheme have been (a) received and (b) rejected, and, in relation to any rejected applications, what the annual cost (i) to NatureScot of processing and (ii) incurred by applicants of making these applications was.
Applications are categorised as ‘Rejected’, ‘Unsuccessful’ or ‘Successful’. ‘Rejected’ applications are those that were ineligible due to failing the initial eligibility checks. As such, these applications do not progress on to be fully assessed. ‘Unsuccessful’ applications will have passed the initial eligibility checks and will have been fully assessed but failed to achieve the scoring threshold for approval.
Since 2015, 7,429 applications have been received to the Agri-Environment Climate Scheme (AECS) to date, of which 897 were rejected and 792 have been unsuccessful. A breakdown of these figures for each year since the scheme has been in operation is set out in the following table:
No. Applications Received
*The 2020 AECS Round consisted of a one-year extension of management Options ending in 2020, and therefore no new applications were invited.
**At this time, only Slurry Store applications have been fully assessed and awarded. The remaining applications from the 2023 Round are currently being assessed.
NatureScot do not record staff time spent on processing AECS applications, which could vary greatly depending on the complexity of each case assessed by them.
The Scottish Government does not hold data on the total costs incurred by applicants of submitting an application to the scheme. However, financial assistance is available towards the following assessments and plans:
- Farm Environment Assessment claims can range from £200-600 depending on the hectarage covered
- Moorland Management Plans claims can range from £100-600 based on the area covered by the Plan
- Lowland Bog Plan claimants can receive £300 for land that is 10 hectares or greater.