Rural Development Programme roads hits the Isles

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Farmers, crofters, woodland owners, land managers and rural communities in the Western Isles are invited to attend roadshow events to find out more about the new Scottish Rural Development Programme (SRDP).

The SRDP roadshows will visit Portree on 24th February 2015 in Skye Camanachd at 7:30pm – 9pm and Benbecula on 12th March 2015 in Dark Island Hotel at 7:30pm – 9pm to give information about changes to SRDP.

The events, hosted by the Scottish Government, will cover the 15 SRDP schemes or initiatives and concentrate on the six land-based and capital schemes. Each event will consist of a presentation and a Q&A session to help customers understand the proposed changes and get the information they need about the SRDP.

Some smaller events will also be held and run by local area office staff in case customers are unable to make a main event. Customers should contact their local RPID area office for more information.

Richard Lochhead, Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs, Food and the Environment said:

“Scotland’s rural development programme provides crucial support for Scottish farming, food production, rural communities and the environment, and is worth over £1.35 billion over the next six years.

“Although the SRDP is still subject to final European approval, we have already begun accepting applications for various schemes so that the Scottish Government is ready to pay out at the earliest opportunity once the programme is approved.

“The SRDP roadshow events in the Western Isles are an opportunity for local farmers, crofters, woodland owners, land managers and rural communities to find out about the new Scottish Rural Development Programme and the support on offer.

“My officials will be on hand to answer any questions about the schemes and initiatives, and I would encourage as many people as possible to attend.”

Last month, the Scottish Government launched a new online Rural Payments and Services system to help make easier to apply for funding. The new system has been introduced in response to changes to the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) and replaces Rural Payments Online.

Everyone must register on the new Rural Payments and Services system by 15 May 2015 otherwise any payments cannot be processed. Customers can do this online at https://www.ruralpayments.org or contact their agent or Rural Payments and Inspections (RPID) area office.