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Moorland - stock disposal

Option closed to new applications

Moorland - Stock Disposal

Introduction

The aim of this Option is to regenerate suppressed heather or other moorland vegetation of conservation interest by reducing the numbers of sheep grazing.

What this will achieve

This Option will improve the condition of moorland vegetation. Biodiversity Action Plan (BAP) species that will benefit from this Option include plants like Juniper and Woolly Willow, birds like Black Grouse and insects such as the Netted Mountain Moth.

What you can do

Requirements 

  • You must prepare a Moorland Management Plan and carry it out. The plan should describe the current condition of the moorland and how it is managed. It must identify the baseline flock number (the number of ewes and gimmers recorded in the IACS business’ or Common Grazings’ flock). The plan must state how many ewes and gimmers you will reduce the flock by and explain how this will benefit the condition of the moorland. We would expect you to provide flock records for the last three years with your application as evidence to support your baseline flock numbers. You should take account of the combined impacts of livestock and other grazing animals present on the land; 

  • We will not pay you to reduce the stocking density from a level where ‘overgrazing’ occurs to the level where ‘overgrazing’ (defined under Good Agricultural and Environmental Condition) no longer occurs. We will only pay you for reducing the stocking density below the level required to prevent ‘overgrazing’.  Stocking levels appropriate to each site will vary with factors such as aspect, soil type, local climate and altitude. As a rough guide, we expect stocking levels to be 2.25 ewes per ha or less;

  • We will not pay you to reduce the stocking density to a level where ‘undergrazing’ would occur (defined under Good Agricultural and Environmental Condition);

  • You must remove the agreed number of ewes from the site and the IACS business before 1 March in the first year of your undertaking. You may not increase the number of ewes on the moorland or business during the agreement.
     

In locations where both sheep and grouse predominate, you may also wish to consider the potential impact of ticks on the grouse population when deciding on the level of sheep reduction.

Who can apply

All land managers are eligible to apply for this Option.

Eligibility criteria

Moorland that would benefit from reducing stocking density is eligible under this Option. We will only pay you for reducing the stocking density below the level required to prevent overgrazing.

Where you have agreed to reduce your flock size under a legacy agri-environment scheme Stock Disposal option, we can fund you to continue to maintain a reduced flock size under this Option. You must maintain the flock size at or below the maximum number agreed under the previous scheme's Stock Disposal option and help to deliver a regional priority outcome under Rural Priorities, for example, maintaining target species on the land affected in good condition.

Please see Definitions of Land Types page for more detail.

Rate of support

This is a 5 year commitment and we will pay in the Spring of the following year.

We will pay you

  1. £19.63 per hectare per year or
  2. £15.71 hectare where the Stock Disposal Option is undertaken on the same land as the Management of Moorland Grazing Option or the Management of Moorland Grazings on Sites Designated for their Uplands and Peatlands Option.

This payment includes a payment for the additional cost of shepherding those sheep that are left on the hill, and to prevent sheep seeking to move in from neighbouring land when stock have been removed from the hill. To avoid double funding, the lower payment rate applies when combining this Option with one of the Moorland Grazing Options. The higher payment rate is not compatible with the Moorland Grazing Options.

For the purposes of payment, it is assumed that each ewe disposed of will benefit 0.8 hectares of moorland.

Please see AR Payments On-line Guidance for information about when claims should be submitted.
 

What costs could be supported

The comprehensive list of Capital Items can be found here. Any cost claimed must be fully justified.

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 these 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.

Inspections/verification

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 minimum requirements to avoid damaging any features of historic or archaeological interest, and follow Scottish Ministers' guidance for the protection of such areas or features.

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

Inspectors will check:

  • If the approved Moorland Management Plan is being carried out 
  • Sheep record books to verify that the agreed number of ewes have been removed from IACS business before 1 March in the first year and that the reduced numbers are maintained for the full period of the contract
  • Claimed capital items have been completed to approved amounts and scheme standards

List of links to relevant technical guidance