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Creation, Restoration and Management of Wetland

Option closed to new applications


The aim of this Option is to create and then manage wetlands to help improve biodiversity, the landscape and flood management. This Option promotes the growth, structure and species composition of vegetation on the land by limiting and managing grazing.

What this will achieve

This Option will support the conversion of arable or improved grassland to wetland by raising water levels. The habitat created will support a range of plants, invertebrates, birds and mammals and provide both feeding and breeding areas.

The Biodiversity Action Plan (BAP) species that may benefit include the Otter, Skylark, Reed Bunting and Great Crested Newt.

What you can do


The site must be managed to ensure that it is saturated with water for a significant proportion of the year.


  1. set out a livestock management and grazing regime in a grazing plan to be agreed with Scottish Ministers. This is mandatory for the management of saltmarsh. Your grazing plan must reflect the specific biodiversity requirements of the site and may be subject to change over time. Your plan will identify the area that will be managed, the outcome that will be achieved and how it will be achieved including information on how water levels will be raised and managed. The outcome may be achieved by adjusting the grazing or cutting regime; or
  2. do not mow or graze the site for a period of at least 3 consecutive months from 1 April until 31 July, after which rank growth should be controlled. On fertile sites, where practicable, cutting and disposal of cuttings may be allowed between these dates, with the prior written agreement of Scottish Ministers.

For both Options:

  • if rank vegetation builds up during the period of the agreement, your grazing regime must be modified to address this
  • do not apply fertiliser including slurry or farmyard manure to the site
  • do not apply pesticides to the managed area 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 may occur on the site
  • where management is for the Great Crested Newt, hibernacula must be provided
  • you should take care when you are identifying sites that the action taken to create the damp conditions, e.g. blocking or diverting drains or ditches, affects only the proposed site
  • the management of water levels may range from highly sophisticated systems involving dams and sluices through to a simple system where the normal water level in an outfall ditch is controlled
  • reversion to woodland or domination by a few aggressive species must be prevented. If there is to be no grazing or mowing, there is a possibility that the site may tend to revert to woodland. In such cases you must take steps to remove young trees.

In most situations, once wetland or damp conditions are created, there will be natural colonisation by appropriate plant species. Even if there is not a great diversity of species, the wetland site is still liable to be of conservation value by providing a suitable habitat for amphibians, invertebrates and a range of bird species.

Who can apply

All land managers are eligible to apply for this Option.

Eligibility criteria

You can enter arable land or improved grassland under this Option provided the raised water levels resulting from creation of wetland would not adversely affect other land, cause the erosion of river banks or be liable to cause damage to archaeology.

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:

When completing your Proposal, you can select the appropriate capitalitem(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 £226.17 per hectare of land managed under this option 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:

  • Site is saturated with water for a significant proportion of the year
  • Compliance with either the agreed grazing plan


  • The site is not grazed or mown for at least 3 consecutive months from 1 April until 31 July.
  • On fertile sites, there has been no cutting and removal without the prior written agreement of Scottish Ministers
  • Creation measures affect only the chosen site and not surrounding area
  • There is no rank vegetation on site
  • No supplementary feeding has occurred on site
  • Visual check to ensure no fertiliser/ FYM/Slurry/lime has been applied to the site
  • Aggressive species or trees do not dominate the site
  • Pesticide records to ensure pesticides have not been applied to the site
  • If there are Great Crested Newt on site we will check provision of hibernation facilities
  • Claimed capital items have been completed to approved amounts and scheme standards

List of links to relevant technical guidance