Clarity on greening
Equivalence measures to be introduced in 2016.
Basic greening measures will apply in Scotland next year, Rural Affairs Secretary Richard Lochhead has announced.
Greening is a new environmental element of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) which comes into effect on January 1, 2015, and accounts for almost a third of direct farm funding.
To give farmers certainty about what they are required to do next year, Mr Lochhead has agreed with industry to proceed with Europe’s default greening measures in 2015. This is because, just days before a crucial EU deadline, Europe has not approved the Scottish Governments’ proposals for alternative measures which better suit Scottish circumstances.
Mr Lochhead said:
“I made clear in my CAP announcement last month that whilst we had identified some positive measures for Scotland under the greening equivalence provisions, the timing of their introduction was dependent on a European approval process – a process which six weeks later is not in place.
“That means we do not have confirmation that our proposed equivalence measures – fertiliser plans and an alternative to the three crop rule – will be accepted by the EU. This is crucial if we are to avoid disallowance further down the line.
“With the EU’s legal deadline just days away and farmers and crofters across Scotland planning for next year’s operations, I have agreed with industry to proceed with Europe’s basic greening measures in 2015. We remain committed to the equivalence measures and will in due course seek European approval to implement them from 2016 onwards.
“My officials are now focused on working with stakeholders as we firm up the detail of main CAP decisions that we need to formally notify to Europe next week.
“This includes the new coupled support scheme for sheep, where Scotland will be using the UK’s flexibility on coupled support. The UK Government’s consultation on our proposals has now closed, which will allow us to finalise the details over the coming days.
“Clearly, the European timetable – including, for example, detailed implementing rules not being adopted until very late, and the eleventh hour agreement that Scotland could use the UK’s flexibility on coupled support – has been very challenging all round.
“I recognise how important it is that farmers and crofters in Scotland know sooner rather than later about changes to their CAP payments and we will get as much detail out as we can out as soon as we can.”
The Scottish Government has to notify Europe of our main decisions on direct payments by Friday August 1, 2014.
The new rural development programme (SRDP) has already been formally submitted to the EU Commission for approval.
The Cabinet Secretary announced details of how the new CAP will be implemented in Scotland to the Scottish Parliament on June 11, 2014: http://news.scotland.gov.uk/News/Supporting-rural-Scotland-d82.aspx