Rural Issues in Scotland

Latest news on CAP direct payments in the News section below.

Rural Scotland, covering 95 per cent of the land area and 18 per cent of the population, is an integral part of the country's economy, environment and culture. The Scottish Government's aim is to promote development in rural areas and empower communities.

The Scotland Rural Development Programme (SRDP) is a programme of economic, environmental and social measures, worth some £1.2 billion, designed to develop rural Scotland.

In Focus

Crofting reform

CroftingThe modernisation of Scotland's vital crofting sector has taken an 'important step forward' with the second phase of the Act's commencement.

As part of the implementation of the Crofting Reform Act 2010, the order laid in parliament will bring into force sections that will:

  • Transform the Crofters Commission into the Crofting Commission with a new constitution and powers commencing on 1 April 2012
  • Place duties on tenant and owner-occupied crofters to occupy and work their crofts, to be enforced by the Commission, from 1 October 2011.
  • Protect croft land by allowing the Land Court and the Commission to take into account a wider range of factors when deciding on resumption and de-crofting applications
  • Provide greater flexibility for the succession of crofts by allowing a croft to be bequeathed to two or more people

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Latest news on CAP and direct payments.


On 11 June 2014 Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs, Richard Lochhead, announced his decisions on CAP implementation. The Scottish Government has produced a series of guides:


An introduction to what it means to you

Direct Payments guide (Pillar 1)

Direct Payments leaflet (Pillar 1)

Scottish Rural Development Programme (Pillar 2)

Direct Payments Analysis paper

Details of the way the new Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) will be implemented in Scotland were formally submitted to Europe on August 1, 2014. The news release is available here.

Drew SloanIMPORTANT - Land Classification Information

We recently wrote to all farmers and crofters with regards to the classification of their land under the new CAP. It is important that these letters are read fully, if you have any concerns about the way your land is classified you must contact your local area office for a review within 60 days of the letter date.

Scotland’s Chief Agricultural Officer Drew Sloan said:

“The new Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) comes into effect in January, and under this new system direct basic payments will be based on the amount of land held in each of the three new payment regions.

“The Scottish Government recently wrote to farmers and crofters to let them know which of the three new CAP payment regions we think their land falls into. For crofters, the letters cover in-by land only and we will shortly send separate letters about Common Grazings shares.

“It’s really important that everyone reads these letters carefully and checks the provision allocation against their own maps and records. If the provisional allocation is not what you might have thought, or if you have not received a letter, you need to contact your local Area Office as soon as possible, where our team will help answer your query and let you know what factual information you will be required to submit, so we can review the provisional allocation.”


Fraud warning - Farmers across Scotland are advised to be alert to ongoing banking scams in which fraudsters are targeting the farming community.


The Farm Safety Partnership - Working Together to Save Lives

The Farm Safety Partnership (FSP) was recently launched on August 7, 2014, at the Black Isle show. The FSP have produced a new campaign leaflet “Working Together to Save Lives”. It outlines the four most common dangers on farms – Falls, Animals, Transport and Equipment – and urges farmers not to leave their safety to FATE.


Rural Payments and Services


We know land managers, farmers, crofters, agents and other customers want one system that is easy to use, so we are building a new online service for all of the CAP schemes.


We are working with Scottish Natural Heritage and Forestry Commission Scotland to develop a new online service that will make submitting an application or making a claim clearer, simpler and smarter.


We don’t expect to have everything online until 2017 and we’re doing everything we can to make the transition from paper to online as smooth as possible.  We’re hosting regular focus groups throughout Scotland and we’re using the feedback to help us shape the new approach and to deliver what customers really want and value – now and in the future.


  • Easy to follow scheme guidance and information
  • Jargon-free language and no unexplained acronyms
  • Better help and search tools
  • Up-to-date map information
  • Auto updates and reminders
  • Information and communications secure and in one place


We’ve developed an online introduction to Rural Payments and Services and a short film to guide customers and agents through what’s coming. Go to find out more and sign up to take part in one of the focus groups or pilot.  You will also be able to see our timeline – it shows what you can expect, when more information will be available and when we will hold roadshows across Scotland.


Rural Matters Facebook page

To provide you with more information, we are inviting you to sign up to RPID’s new Facebook page, to help us engage with you, our rural stakeholders better. Please sign up now and press ‘like’ to follow us - Rural Matters.


Our page is full of interesting rural topics including fun rural facts, posts on rural topics and Scottish food recipes.  We will post videos/interviews with our Chief Agricultural Officer, Drew Sloan and others within RPID, and footage out and about on farms across Scotland.


We will also post photos from various events to keep you informed of Ministerial events and what is happening across different RPID area offices.  We hope you will get to know RPID better and will understand the diverse careers we have, so we will post a monthly ‘a wee chat with…’ different RPID staff members.  Our ‘wee chats’ will also feature interviews from others involved in the rural industry (such as farmers, crofters and rural groups) talking about their role and how they try to make a difference.


We also have a new refreshed Flickr page full of photos from various rural events, that you may find interesting too.  And a You Tube account for videos we will post on Facebook.


We hope these new channels will be forums that you will enjoy and would like to get involved with.  Please email us at – with your ideas for content for the channels and suggestions for farms or events to visit.  Perhaps you would like us to interview you or visit your farm to take photos or do a video ‘down on the farm’?  We want you to tell us what is happening in your area!


Rural Development Contracts

Rural Development Contracts: a new interactive map search tool has been developed. This new map-based tool allows you to search your area of interest for land designations. These must be taken into account when applying for Rural Development Contracts and/or Felling licenses.