Rural and Environment

  • Avian Flu – Top Tips

    7th October 2019 by

    Although there is a constant risk of avian flu in the UK, with Autumn now here, there is an increased likelihood of avian influenza appearing. For those who aren’t aware, avian influenza (more commonly known as bird flu) is a highly contagious disease of birds. It can have serious impacts on bird health and welfare, and can potentially lead to bird fatalities. In extremely serious cases it can affect the health of humans and other mammals.

    So how can bird flu be introduced to the UK? The most common way is if birds come in to direct or indirect contact with wild birds. This can come from sharing water or coming in to contact with infected bird faeces. This applies to all birds, even ones kept as pets.

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  • Rural Scotland and the Programme for Government

    12th September 2019 by

    Rural Scotland makes a vital contribution to our national economy.

    Our rural and island assets provide natural and business resources for key economic sectors, especially food and drink, but also energy, tourism, creative industries and life science. I am clear that we must work to build on these successes to improve the wellbeing of our rural, coastal and island communities and provide a positive future for them.

    Having declared a global climate emergency, achieving our climate ambitions will involve harnessing the power and capital of rural Scotland. This is a challenge, but also an opportunity for us to help people stay on the land, create sustainable, productive communities and businesses – and I am clear that our rural population are key allies in tackling climate change.

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  • Farm Advisory Service

    11th September 2019 by

    A survey published today has shown that 90% of farmers and crofters have implemented advice given to them through the Farm Advisory Service.

    But what is the Farm Advisory Service and how can it help you?

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  • In the News: £160 million returned to Scotland

    5th September 2019 by

    You will have seen in the news that in yesterday’s Spending Round statement at Westminster, that the Chancellor finally confirmed that the UK Government would right a historic injustice around EU farm payments.

    In 2013, the EU announced moves to pay Common Agricultural Policy payments more fairly, on the basis of average Euros per hectare. The UK received what was known as a convergence uplift only because of Scotland.

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  • Bew review results delayed

    30th August 2019 by

    Commenting on the apparent delay to the publication of Lord Bew’s recommendations into intra-governmental Common Agricultural Policy funding allocations, Rural Economy Secretary Fergus Ewing said:

    “Scotland’s farmers deserve to know the outcome of Lord Bew’s review. The recommendations should not be left to gather dust on a shelf in Whitehall while farmers face the most challenging environment for a generation as a result of an impending no deal Brexit.

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  • In the news: Deposit Return Scheme

    2nd August 2019 by

    You may have seen in the Scotsman an opinion piece from the Scottish Beer and Pub Association regarding our proposal to include glass in our Deposit Return Scheme.

    A Scottish Government spokesperson said:

    “Last year’s public consultation signalled support for an ambitious deposit return scheme. We believe there is strong public support for including glass in that scheme and the wider benefits are clear, delivering increased recycling rates, reductions in carbon emissions and reductions in glass litter.

    “We are aware that some businesses have concerns about its inclusion. The Scottish Government is committed to working with them to implement the scheme in a way which addresses those concerns and helps to realise potential benefits – including cost savings for hospitality businesses who otherwise have to pay for empty glass bottles to be disposed of and for glass recyclers who will be able to access better quality material.”

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  • In the news: landing obligations

    16th July 2019 by

    You may have seen in the news and online reports relating to a House of Lords inquiry that found fishermen are continuing to illegally discard dead fish back into the sea.

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  • In the news: Net-zero commitment

    12th June 2019 by

    The UK Government has finally announced that greenhouse gas emissions in the UK will be cut to almost zero by 2050, which is being reported widely this morning.

    The Scottish Government is determined to stop contributing to climate change within a generation and acted on the advice from the Committee on Climate Change immediately by lodging amendments to the Climate Change (Scotland) Bill to set a legally binding target of net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2045 at the latest.

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  • Farming and the climate emergency

    21st May 2019 by

    Rural Affairs Minister Mairi Gougeon blogs on farming and the global climate emergency.

    The First Minister has declared a global climate emergency. The evidence is irrefutable and the science is compelling. People are clear, they expect action and the world needs to act now, not least for future generations.

    We are leading this response. This was made clear when we acted immediately to the advice of the Committee on Climate Change by lodging amendments to our Climate Change Bill to set a 2045 target for net zero emissions.

    Just last week another warning was issued about the damage humans are causing to our natural environment this time in relation to global biodiversity. But there is nothing to be gained from playing a blame game nor from singling out any one sector.

    So I am equally clear, that farming should not be held up as the problem. It is part of the solution.

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  • In the news – Severe weather impact

    11th April 2019 by

    You may have seen the WWF report on the Economic Impact of Extreme Weather on Scottish Agriculture in the papers today. The report suggests that Scottish farmers lost up to £161 million due to the Beast from the East last year.

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