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Funding farming to help tackle climate change

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By Fiona Reid
Farming
Funding farming to help tackle climate change

FARMERS in the region can now apply to the next round of the Agri-Environment Climate Scheme (AECS) for funding to support work which helps climate change.

Activities that can get funding including helping agricultural businesses convert to organic farming practices; the creation and maintenance of habitats for specific species such as corncrakes, corn buntings and waders; improving habitat variety; creating/restoring hedgerows; and controlling invasive non-native species. In addition, over £4 million will also be made available to fund slurry storage and irrigation lagoons in order to improve water quality in rural areas.

Farmers and land managers can now apply for larger funding grants, but this will be the final year that support will be available for slurry storage. In 2023, over £7 million was awarded to 517 rural businesses and over the lifetime of the AECS contract, £27m will be paid in total to help support land management activities that will benefit nature and mitigate against climate change.

Rural Affairs Secretary Mairi Gougeon said: “AECS remains a key part of support to farmers, crofters, and land managers in delivering nature restoration and addressing the twin challenges of climate change and biodiversity loss.

“This year all eligible applications to AECS were approved which is a record approval rate.

“I would strongly encourage farmers and crofters to apply for the expanded range of options that the scheme now supports. This approach will give farmers and land managers greater flexibility when it comes to helping improve our landscape to mitigate against nature loss.”

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