Date published: 19 January, 2021

For recent changes to this guidance, please see the bottom of the page.

The Agri-Environment Climate Scheme (AECS) is a competitive scheme that promotes land management practices which protect and enhance Scotland’s magnificent natural heritage, improve water quality, manage flood risk and mitigate and adapt to climate change.

AECS will also help to improve public access and preserve historic sites. Funding will be available to fund a range of activities that help to maintain and enhance our rich and varied natural environment.

In 2021 AECS will be restricted to the following application types:

  • Applications to benefit protected (designated) areas
  • Organic farming
  • Vulnerable Priority Bird species – Waders, Corncrakes & Corn Buntings
  • Slurry storage
  • Improving Public Access

Eligibility criteria and entry requirements are detailed. Please seek advice from RPID or NatureScot (using the links at end of page) if you are unsure whether your land is eligible for any of the above application types.

This funding will help to:

  • deliver the Scottish Biodiversity Strategy by supporting appropriate management for vulnerable and iconic species and habitats, strengthening ecological networks, controlling invasive non-native species and enhancing the condition of protected nature sites
  • contribute to Scotland’s world-leading climate change targets by reducing greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture and securing carbon stores in peatlands and other organic soils
  • meet obligations to improve water quality under the Scotland River Basin Management Plan by reducing diffuse pollution
  • control flooding through natural flood risk management
  • support organic farming
  • preserve the historic environment
  • improve public access

The scheme is being delivered jointly by the Rural Payments and Inspections Division (RPID) of the Scottish Government and NatureScot (formerly SNH).

A case officer will be assigned to your project once you have formally submitted your application.

However, if you have any questions or concerns about the scheme before then and you need further clarification, you may find it helpful to contact your local Rural Payments and Inspections Division area office or NatureScot office.

For applications related to protected areas (SSSIs and Natura sites) you are strongly recommended to make early contact with NatureScot to discuss your proposals.

Rural Payments and Inspections Division contacts

NatureScot contacts

Section Change
Introduction 2021 Round details
Seeking advice NatureScot references