Rural Affairs And The Environment
Investment in Scotland's Rural Affairs and Environment portfolio is intended to create a more successful country with opportunities for all of Scotland to flourish through increasing sustainable economic growth.
- Since October 2011 in excess of £210 million has been invested through the Scotland Rural Development Programme ( SRDP) as capital grants for Rural Priorities, Land Managers Options, Crofting Counties Agricultural Grants and Food Processing, Cooperation and Marketing.
- The Scottish Agricultural College ( SAC) moved in September 2011 into a state of the art campus in Ayr costing £70 million, which will be shared with the University of the West of Scotland.
- The Scottish Government is undertaking a significant programme of work to re-engineer the business and IT processes which underpin the delivery of rural payments and inspections and to deliver the Common Agricultural Policy Reform, being implemented in 2015. This long-term programme of activities will deliver improvements to the services customers receive and comply with EU requirements in order to maintain our level of funding from EU.
- The changes will make it easier for customers to apply for subsides and grants, offers the ability to view map information online and hold customers information and communications in one place that they can access when they want. The first phase of the new system was made available to customers in early January 2015. Around £57 million of capital expenditure has been incurred to date. Development work will continue for the next few years.
- The new system will process around £3.9 billion worth of payments (Direct Payments and SRDP) over the 6 years of the new Common Agricultural Policy ( CAP).
- As part of our efforts to support rural communities we are also putting in place new IT processes to ensure user-friendly and optimal delivery of funding opportunities under the EU's LEADER programme, thereby enhancing local areas by providing easier access to potential resource for grass roots organisations.
- We are directly supporting a variety of capital investment projects within food and drink businesses across Scotland via the Food Processing Marketing and Cooperation grant scheme, where over £70 million of investment is envisaged between 2014 and 2020.
- To drive the transition towards a low carbon, resilient circular economy, we set our priorities for action in our circular economy strategy Making Things Last published in February 2016, which focuses on key areas including energy infrastructure, construction and buildings, remanufacturing and food and drink. Support for a more circular economy will be augmented by the announcement of over £70 million of funding by the First Minister, including £30 million of EU Structural Funds, by the First Minister in February alongside Scotland's Manufacturing Action Plan.
- £1.5 million shovel ready funding was awarded in July 2012 to fund the planning and costing stages for the Royal Botanic Garden, Edinburgh planned project to redevelop the display and research glass houses and education facilities in the Edinburgh garden over a future phased construction programme. To date, no further capital funding has been allocated to progress this project.
- The local authority capital settlement includes £42 million identified as being available for flood protection schemes. Funding is allocated to individual schemes, which meet the eligibility criteria, by the agreement of Scottish Ministers and Convention of Scottish Local Authorities leaders group. After the last round of applications received in January 2014, all of the available funding until 2015-16 was allocated. New arrangements for distributing the money available for flood protection within the local authority settlement will apply from the 2016/17 spending review and will support the delivery of the priorities set out in the Flood Risk Management Strategies published in December 2015.