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Management of scrub and tall herb communities

Option closed to new applications


This Option aims to enhance and extend areas of native scrub vegetation and tall herb communities and secure the survival of associated flora and fauna.

What this will achieve

This will help to secure the survival of specific BAP species and protect soils and watercourses. BAP species that may benefit include Common Linnet, Pearl-Bordered Fritillary Butterfly, Chequered Skipper Butterfly, Juniper, and Woolly Willow.

What you can do


The key focus for managing scrub and tall herb communities will be the grazing regime. This will normally involve light grazing in the summer, and none in the winter.

You must:

  • manage the grazing of scrub and open habitat mosaic to maintain an appropriate balance between these components (overall within the mosaic, scrub cover will vary depending on the type of scrub you are managing - see appropriate technical guidance. The scrub should be in good condition and regeneration should be sufficient to maintain its current extent. This may involve the complete but temporary removal of grazing see appropriate technical guidance. The open habitats should be managed according to the appropriate technical guidance notes
  • eradicate any rhododendron present on the site
  • avoid poaching by managing stock carefully when ground conditions are wet
  • retain all mature or over-mature standing trees and all standing and fallen deadwood , unless they are a genuine safety hazard and you have the Scottish Ministers' prior agreement. Tree surgery must be limited to that required for the safety of people and farm livestock
  • in upland areas, where relevant to Capercaillie and Black Grouse, mark all new fences with bird strike markers
  • do not apply fertilisers, slurry, farmyard manure or lime to areas of scrub habitat except with the prior written agreement of Scottish Ministers
  • do not apply pesticides to the site except with the prior written agreement of Scottish Ministers for activities such as spot treatment of scheduled weeds (i.e. creeping, spear or field thistle, curled or broadleaved dock and common ragwort) or non-native invasive species (i.e. Giant hogweed, Himalayan balsam, Rhododendron ponticum or Japanese knotweed)
  • no supplementary feeding is permitted on the site
  • do not plough or cultivate the site unless this is required to establish trees and shrubs. Any reseeding, rolling or chain harrowing work should be clearly described in a management plan submitted with your application
  • do not cut new drains or modify or improve existing drainage systems. You can maintain existing drains

And, where appropriate:

  • cut areas of scrub to encourage regeneration from the stump (coppicing) and carry out thinning (the selective removal of individual stems or shrubs) to introduce structural diversity to the stand
  • remove dense vegetation and scarify the ground in order to help create favourable conditions for natural regeneration of scrub species to occur
  • mow or flail open areas each year. Do this in late summer or autumn to avoid destroying seeding herbs
  • on sites where regeneration cannot occur naturally, layering may be used to regenerate stands and planting should be considered as a last resort
  • bare earth is important for invertebrates and pioneer species in scrub stands. It can be created and maintained during scrub management by limited de-turfing and uprooting of established scrub

Who can apply

All land managers are eligible to apply for this Option.

Eligibility criteria

The Option is targeted at areas with scrub of high environmental value as defined in the list of types below

Scrub includes all stages from scattered bushes to closed canopy vegetation dominated by locally native shrubs or tree saplings usually less than 5m tall occasionally with a few scattered trees. This includes carr, scrub in the uplands and lowlands (including wood edge habitats), montane scrub and coastal scrub.

Scrub can be of high conservation value for the following reasons:

  • where the shrub species is of conservation importance in its own right, such as Juniper or Downy Willow
  • where other species associated with the scrub have high conservation importance, such as lichen species associated with Coastal Hazel
  • where the scrub occurs as a landscape element within an ecological unit, such as birch and willow at the edge of wet heaths and mires, at altitude where scrub occurs at the interface between woodland and montane heath, and on sheltered coasts where scrub and elfin woodland are part of the characteristic mosaic of habitats. A list of relevant scrub types with characteristic species is given below.
Scrub Community Characteristic species
Lowland wet scrub (or carr) Grey Willow, Downy Birch, Alder, Hawthorn
Lowland dry scrub on calcareous soils Hazel on limestone
Lowland dry scrub on neutral soils Hawthorn
Lowland dry scrub on acidic soils Gorse/Broom
Upland scrub - wet scrub forest zone Willow, Bog Myrtle

Upland scrub - dry scrub forest zone including


Scots Pine and Willow
Upland juniper scrub Juniper
Upland dwarf birch scrub Dwarf birch
Upland dwarf willow scrub

Downy, Woolly, Mountain and Whortle-leaved


Coastal shingle scrub Blackthorn, Bramble, Elder, Juniper
Coastal sea cliff scrub

Hazel, Blackthorn, Bramble

Coastal dune scrub Creeping Willow, Alder, Grey Willow, Bog Myrtle

Land receiving payments for similar management under other agri-environment schemes is not eligible under this Option.

Please see the Definitions of Land Types page for more details.

What costs could be supported

For a comprehensive list of Capital Items click here. Any cost claimed must be fully justified. The following are examples of what may be claimed for:

When completing your Proposal, you can select the appropriate capital item(s) from the dropdown list of standard cost capital items for this Option.

In addition to the above capital items, financial support of up to 100% of eligible actual costs is available in respect of the following:

Please note that these capital items will not appear in the dropdown list of Standard Cost capital items for this Option and will need to be entered manually in the box for Actual Cost capital items. Only costs for the types of capital works listed above should be entered in the Actual Cost capital items box for this Option. Any other costs entered cannot be considered for funding.

To ensure value for money we require you to provide 2 competitive quotes for any capital items applied for which are based on actual cost. If, however, you are seeking grant support towards something so specialised it is only available through 1 source then we would accept 1 quote. Please see the guidance on quotes and estimates for more information.

Rate of support

This is a 5 year commitment. We will pay you £94 per hectare per year. We will pay at the end of each year.


The inspector will check the requirements (as detailed above under "what you can do") of the Option are being met, by a visual assessment on the day of inspection.

Beneficiaries must comply with the requirements of cross compliance and the minimum requirements for fertiliser and plant protection products. You must also comply with the requirements to avoid damaging any features of historic or archaeological interest, and follow Scottish Ministers' guidance for the protection of such areas or features (detailed in links below)

The following is a brief overview of the inspection procedures, for a full explanation please see links below:

Inspectors will check:

  • Works detailed in your management plan have been carried out.
  • Rhododendron eradication is being carried out.
  • No poaching has occurred on the site
  • No standing trees or deadwood have been removed from the site without prior approval of Scottish Government.
  • No supplementary feeding has taken place on the site.
  • No ploughing or cultivation has taken place on the site unless for the establishment of trees and shrubs.
  • Visual check to ensure no fertiliser/ FYM/Slurry/lime has been applied to the scrub without prior written permission from Scottish Ministers
  • Pesticide records to ensure pesticides have not been applied to the site
  • There are no modifications to drains or new drains created
  • Black Grouse and Capercaillie areas bird strike markers have been used on new fences
  • Claimed capital items have been completed to approved amounts and scheme standards.



List of links to relevant technical guidance