Greens: Farmers greening schemes must be retained

An important scheme that supports farmers to protect the environment must be retained, the Scottish Greens have said.

Greening payments to farmers include measures that set aside land for biodiversity and environmental protection reasons. The NFU Scotland had requested that these “ecological focus areas” be scrapped to increase food production in the wake of the war in Ukraine. 

In response to a question on food security from Scottish Greens MSP Maggie Chapman, Rural Economy Secretary Mairi Gougeon confirmed that the Scottish Government would not scale back on efforts to restore nature.

Responding, Scottish Greens MSP Maggie Chapman said: “I am glad the Scottish Government recognises the contribution these important measures make to environmental protection. I share concerns around food security, but scrapping environmental rules is not the answer

“These areas include margins round the edge of fields or along rivers, for example, and growing crops on them would have a big environmental impact while having a marginal impact on food production. They must be retained.

“It is clear that Scotland needs to take a much more strategic approach to food security, including ensuring our land produces as much sustainable and nutritious food for people as possible.”