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Rural Priorities - How it Works

This diagram shows the process of applying for funding under Rural Priorities from the initial idea through to the payment of grant. 

Businesses, land managers and community groups are invited to submit proposals setting out how they could contribute to the priorities identified for their region.

A 2-stage application process has been developed.

The initial stage requires you to submit a simple Statement of Intent. A Case Officer will give you feedback that will result in an amber or red rating.

In the second stage you can decide whether or not to prepare a detailed Proposal, plus an Outcome Plan that sets out how the work will contribute to one or more 'regional priorities'.

Both stages will be supported by Case Officers who will advise on eligibility, regional priorities, budgetary positions and the need for consents/approvals. They will draw on advice from the relevant public bodies, as required.

We can accept Proposals at any time of year. Some Proposals will be judged at periodic assessment rounds by Regional Proposal Assessment Committees (RPACs) who will select which Proposals to recommend to Scottish Ministers for funding.* If you submit Proposals with forestry options only, these will be approved under an ongoing approval process and do not require to be put before an RPAC.

The RPAC will make selection based on:

  • contribution to relevant regional priorities
  • value for money
  • management of risk

Successful applicants will be offered a single Rural Priorities Contract, with the scope to add to it with further proposals.

* Please note that some applications are dealt with using the ongoing approval process, as outlined below:

(a) Forestry ongoing approval:

If your proposal is limited to specific Regional Priorities and only contains Forestry Options then it may be possible to approve these on an ongoing basis (without referring the application to the RPAC) provided they satisfy the eligibility criteria for these types of applications. In such cases, Proposals will be assessed and scored in the normal way, but separate arrangements will exist for approvals. For more information contact your local FCS Conservancy Office or see the process flowchart (Case Officer guidance).

Eligibility criteria for the Forestry ongoing approval process: 

Your application must meet the following criteria if it is to be considered eligible for the ongoing approval process:

  • Entire proposal contains only one or more of Regional priorities 14, 21 and 23
  • Entire proposal includes only one or more forestry options:

45 Woodland Creation

46 Sustainable Management of Forests

47 Woodland Improvement Grant

  • Proposal achieves threshold score set by NPAC

(b) Ongoing approval process for Regional Priority 9 cases.

Regional Priority 9 relates to management which will benefit the special features on Scotland's nationally important nature sites ( SSSIs, SACs, SPAs and Ramsar sites).

Applications will only be eligible for the RP9 ongoing approval process if they meet the following criteria:

  • The entire Proposal contains only Regional Priority 9;
  • All options selected will address Regional Priority 9;
  • The total value of the Proposal does not exceed £50k.

Applications which meet these criteria will be processed using the ongoing approval process and will be assessed and scored in the normal way. Applications under RP9 which do not meet these criteria cannot be progressed.

Timing of 2013 applications for RP9 Ongoing Approval:

  • Please contact your local SNH office by 17 April 2013 at the latest, to register your interest in applying. This does not commit you to applying, you can decide about this after discussions with SNH. SNH staff will advise on the type of management likely to benefit the special features on your land.
  • Update – May 2013 - If you missed the 17 April cutoff but are now interested please contact SNH as soon as possible to discuss your plans and whether you should still apply. It may be possible to handle some applications from those who missed the 17 April deadline, if there is staff time available. Your application should have significant benefit for SSSI/Natura features. First priority will be given to those applicants who registered interest by 17 April.   

  • Please ensure that you submit your online Proposal by 17 July 2013 at the latest, but preferably earlier. You must also send in your Outcome Plan at the same time, along with all supporting documents such as maps and any specialist plans. Please contact Scottish Natural Heritage if you would like further advice at any time when preparing your application.
  • When you receive Case Officer feedback on your submitted Proposal, you will be expected to respond promptly (for example, by providing any further information requested or making any online changes), and then to commit your Proposal by 31 August at the latest.
  • For applications which meet the above requirements, we expect to be able to approve and issue contracts in time for these to be accepted and confirmed before the end of 2013. However, this cannot be guaranteed, particularly for any cases where complications arise. If any cases cannot meet these timescales, then it is expected that they will be withdrawn and it will not be possible to reapply until the launch of the next SRDP.               
  • Please note that if you currently have a Regional Priority 9 contract which expires in December 2013, you may be offered an extension to this contract. You should not submit an application for a new contract.   

For more information please contact your local SNH office.     

You can also find information on the ongoing approval process in the Case Officer guidance.

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