Tue 10 Nov, 2020

All the evidence shows we need rapid action to tackle climate change, but the Scottish Government has become bogged down in policy reviews whilst keeping the purse strings firmly tied Mark Ruskell

Scottish Greens have accused the Scottish Government of hypocrisy after it closed vital funding for farmers to reduce their carbon footprint.

The closure of the Agri-Environment Climate Scheme was raised in the Scottish Parliament by Scottish Greens food and farming spokesperson Mark Ruskell.

The Scottish Parliament was discussing support for addressing climate emissions from agriculture, following the publication of a report by the Farming for 1.5 inquiry yesterday.

The Agri-Environment Climate Scheme was an EU funded scheme which supported farmer’s responses to climate change, including organic food production and natural flood management, however it has been closed to new applicants since summer 2019.

Mark Ruskell MSP said, “There were a lot of warm words today from the Scottish Government over the clear and urgent recommendations from the Farming for 1.5 inquiry, but that needs to be backed up with action, and quite frankly their position right now smacks of hypocrisy.

“All the evidence shows we need rapid action to tackle climate change, but the Scottish Government has become bogged down in policy reviews whilst keeping the purse strings firmly tied. Their claim that the closure of the AECS is due to funding uncertainties doesn’t hold weight, when all other parts of the rural support scheme have been delivered, despite similar Brexit related uncertainty.

“Initiatives like Farming for 1.5 shows the farming sector is ready to step up and play its part in tackling climate change. The Scottish Government needs to match this ambition, either with a renewed AECS fund ready to go for next year, or a new replacement fund that will provide the urgent funding needed for addressing the climate emergency”

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