The Basic Payment Scheme is expected to roll over in Scotland until 2025. To be eligible, farmers have to practise cross compliance with environmental and animal welfare regulations (the land has to be maintained under Good Environmental and Ecological Condition).
The ‘Greening’ component of the BPS is applied for permanent pasture designated as environmentally sensitive grassland or Ecological Focus Areas (EFAs), with 5% of an arable farm to be in an EFA. There is a separate Forestry Grant Scheme.
It is anticipated there will be a new Agriculture Bill implemented in 2026, in which current BPS payments will be split into 4 tiers. Tiers 1, 2 and 3 are likely to be direct payments to support active farming with some environmental standards (Tier 1), enhanced payments for farming businesses that are effective in reducing greenhouse gas emissions and/or restoring/enhancing nature (Tier 2) and targeted actions to support (amongst other things) nature restoration (Tier 3). Tier 4 is likely to be indirect payments for such things as tree planting.
Eligibility for Grant Funding – Basic Payment Scheme
Land parcels with fewer than 100 trees per hectare are eligible.
Parcels of grazed woodlands with more than 100 trees per hectare are eligible if the landowner can demonstrate a history of acceptable grazing practice and grazing is not damaging the ecological value of the site.
Land classed as an Ecological Focus Area, which includes:
Hedges up to 6 m wide within 5 m of, or contiguous with, arable land.
Agroforestry, if on arable land eligible for BPS since 2015 and planted with a Forestry Grant Scheme grant since 2015. From 2024, includes small or farm woodland.
At least 5% of arable area must be included in at least one type of EFA.
Eligibility for Grant Funding – Forestry Grant Scheme
Funding under the Woodland Creation component.
Small or Farm Woodland Option. Payment for initial planting of a small or farm woodland (minimum area 0.25 ha, maximum per wood 5 ha), and an annual maintenance payment for five years.
Agroforestry. Payment of an initial grant for planting of trees and an annual payment for five years at two rates, for 300 - 400 or 150 - 200 trees per hectare, on land used for sheep grazing or arable land, with the minimum tree density by year 5 expected to be 300 or 150 trees per hectare.
Woodland Improvement grant. Single payment for a specialist to prepare a woodland grazing management plan using the Woodland Grazing Toolbox.
Sustainable Management of Forests. Annual payment to enhance biodiversity and encourage tree regeneration through controlled livestock grazing in native woodlands or plantations or ancient woodland sites that are actively being restored to native woodlands.
Small Woodlands Loan Scheme. Loans for small farmers, crofters and other small landowners to assist with the cost of implementing new Woodland Creation Schemes.
For further details on agroforestry within the Forestry Grant Scheme, see Rural Services and Payments website.
Last updated October 2023