New Rural Funding Opportunity
Recently announced by the Scottish Government, the Scottish Rural Development Programme (SRDP) has funding amounting to £1.6 billion available over the period 2007 to 2013.
Described as having strong emphasis on delivering outcomes which benefit the Scottish people and to help make Scotland greener, wealthier, fairer, healthier and smarter, it is going to be open to farmers, foresters, estates, rural businesses and communities, with three stated key outcomes:-
1. Business viability and competitiveness
2. Environmental improvements
3. Creation of thriving rural communities.
Funding will be allocated on a national rather than regional basis although for the purposes of administration, Scotland has been split into eleven regions, based on Local Authority boundaries, with each region setting its own priorities to deliver national outcomes. Funding will be delivered to successful applicants via eight different schemes including-
LFASS (Less Favoured Area Support Scheme), LEADER Programme,
Rural Development Contracts (Land Management Options), and (Rural Priorities),
CCAGS (Crofting Counties Agricultural Grant Schemes), Forestry Challenge Funds and Skills Development Schemes.
Applications will be made online only and applicants will be asked to submit a Statement of Intent (SOI) which effectively is a precursor to a proposal. A Case Officer will be allocated, who will then give the applicant feedback on the SOI indicating via a system of ‘traffic lights’ as to whether they should proceed any further.
If given a green or amber light, applicants will then prepare and submit a proposal (again online) based on their SOI which, if deemed competent, will be scored by the Case Officer and if successful, cash will be allocated. It is understood that as part of the assessment process, the same Case Officer that dealt with the SOI will also deal with the proposal and that the case officer has 28 days to consult with RPAC (Regional Proposal Assessment Committees) members.
Importantly, funding may be available to assist with specialist agent’s fees provided that the Case Officer has suggested that specialist advice should be sought and we understand that there is no ceiling on the amount that an applicant can apply for in terms of the SRDP.
The scheme will go live for Statements of Intent on the 7th April with applications being possible from the 19th May. Detailed information and backgound to the scheme can be found on the Scottish Government website http://www.scotland.gov.uk/Topics/Rural/SRDP.
Our Rural team would be happy to talk to you to discuss the programme further. Get in touch with Dougal Lindsay in our Inverness office for more information.