Published in support of the UK Biodiversity Action Plan for black grouse

Grants for moorland and rough grazing in Scotland

There are two main sources of government grant to encourage positive management of moorland and rough grazing land in Scotland:

Rural Stewardship Scheme (RSS)
The Rural Stewardship Scheme, part of the Scottish Rural Development Plan, provides assistance to encourage farmers and crofters to undertake positive conservation management measures. It is administered by the Scottish Executive Environment and Rural Affairs Department. This Scheme is voluntary and requires an Environmental Audit to be undertaken for the farm, croft or common grazing prior to entering the Scheme. The Audit will identify all habitats and features of conservation value on the unit and help applicants decide which areas will benefit most from the Scheme. Assistance is provided towards the cost of the Audit.

Participants undertake to join the Scheme for at least five years, but participation may be extended for a further five years to secure maximum conservation benefit. Management and capital works must be carried out in line with the rules and conditions of the Scheme. Certain general environmental requirements (Standards of Good Farming Practice and General Environmental Conditions) also apply to the farm, croft or common grazing as a whole and not just those areas or features that are being positively managed under the RSS. Online information is available here, with specific information about helping black grouse, a RSS priority here. For more information, contact your nearest Black Grouse Recovery Project, or your local SEERAD office.

Moorland Management Scheme (MMS)
Scottish Natural Heritage is developing a series of management schemes under its Natural Care programme, designed to improve the condition of Sites of Special Scientific Interest and Natura 2000 sites (Special Protection Areas and Special Areas for Conservation). The Scheme for Forest of Clunie in Perthshire, an important area for black grouse, is already open for applications. Moorland management schemes are also being developed for Muirkirk & North Lowther Uplands, Glen App & Galloway Moors on the border of South Ayrshire and Dumfries and Galloway and for a group of smaller sites in southern Scotland, many of which hold black grouse.

In the Forest of Clunie, payments are available for muirburn and heather cutting, bracken control, away wintering of sheep, fence marking and deer control, with discretionary grants available for other work, such as heather restoration, fencing, wetland creation (e.g. blocking moor grips), scrub protection/development, fox control and deer management.

Online information is available at SNH. For more information, contact your nearest Black Grouse Recovery Project, or your local SNH office.