Date published: 19 December, 2018

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


A new element in the Agri-Environment Climate Scheme is that many management options and some capital items have been spatially targeted.

This means they will only be available in parts of the country where they will deliver the greatest benefit.

You can find out which options are available on the holdings that form part of your farm business using our targeting tool (link below). Please note that updates to spatial targeting may change the options that you’re eligible to apply for.

Targeting tool

In exceptional circumstances, you may apply for a management option or capital item that is not targeted on your holding. However, you must meet the criteria for endorsement outside the target area, as shown in Table 1 (below) and you must obtain an endorsement before submitting your AECS application, as explained below.

Requests for endorsements should be made to Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) or Scottish Forestry (SF), depending on the management option or capital item concerned.

Natural heritage designated sites

These include Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) and Natura sites. Natura sites are Special Protection Areas (SPA) and Special Areas of Conservation (SAC).

If you wish to carry out management to benefit an SSSI and / or Natura site, you can apply for any management options (with the exception of the Hen Harrier Grassland Management option which is only available in Orkney) or capital items which will benefit the special features of the site, even if they do not appear on your list of targeted options.

This includes circumstances where the work that will benefit the site’s features takes place on your holding but partially or wholly outside the site itself.

You will need to submit an endorsement from Scottish Natural Heritage with your application. This needs to confirm that the option or capital item you have chosen will benefit the features of the designated site.

You can visit the Scottish Natural Heritage SiteLink website to check the location of the designated site.

You are strongly advised to seek advice from Scottish Natural Heritage before drafting an application for a designated site. If you do not, and Scottish Natural Heritage has significant issues with the management you propose for the designated site, this may prejudice the success of your application.

Contact Scottish Natural Heritage

If you include ineligible items in your application it will be rejected and you should first read the scheme guidance on designations before applying.

You should also read the terms and conditions laid out in How to Apply guidance.

How to request an endorsement

If you wish to seek an endorsement then you must submit a request to Scottish Natural Heritage or Scottish Forestry.

You will need to request an endorsement in plenty of time, to ensure Scottish Natural Heritage or Scottish Forestry have time to assess it and respond to you before the AECS application window closes.

If you are permitted an endorsement, you must submit this with your AECS application.

Please use the form below if you are requesting an endorsement from Scottish Natural Heritage.

Please contact SF directly for further information on its endorsement process.

Check Table 1 below to see whether the management option or capital item you wish to apply for this year is listed and to check which organisation to contact. Only those management options or capital items listed in Table 1 will be considered for endorsement.

In the SNH endorsement request form, you are asked to explain briefly how each option or capital item meets the criteria for endorsement. Scottish Natural Heritage or Scottish Forestry will clarify whether you need to provide any further evidence.

In most cases the endorsement will confirm that the options you have selected are eligible, will benefit the objectives of management and that the location in which you wish to carry out the management is appropriate.

Table 1
Management option or capital item Criteria for endorsement outside target areas Endorsing organisation
Management or Restoration of HedgerowsThe hedgerow has been created under a legacy agri-environment schemeSNH
Unharvested Conservation Headlands for WildlifePresence of corn buntings according to existing recordsSNH
Wader Grazed Grassland

Wader and Wildlife Mown Grassland
You must meet one of the criteria below:

- you have provided evidence, from records held by an independent national wildlife organisation (e.g. RSPB), that curlew, lapwing or redshank have been recorded breeding on the proposed management areas in at least one breeding season within the last five years

(Where data does not exist for the proposed management area then you may commission independent surveys to establish that curlew, lapwing or redshank were breeding in the proposed management area in at least one breeding season before seeking an endorsement)


- alternatively, you have provided evidence you are part of a wader project

For either of the above, you must supply a completed vulnerable priority species recording formsetting out:
- which waders you are targeting
- on which LPIDs
- the evidence of the target wader species recorded on each LPID
Wader and Wildlife Mown Grassland within spatial target area for Corn Buntings Mown Grassland optionYou may apply for endorsement to adopt the Wader and Wildlife Mown Grassland option instead of the Corn Buntings Mown Grassland option if you provide a statement from local RSPB staff confirming that there are no nesting corn bunting that would be affected by the earlier cutting dates. You must include this statement when submitting the endorsement form to SNH.SNH
Moorland Management

Stock Disposal

Away Wintering Sheep

Summer Hill Grazing of Cattle
Presence of a habitat on your holding that would benefit from management under one or more of these options, including blanket bog and wet heathSNH
Tall-herb Vegetation ManagementPresence of tall herb vegetation which would benefit from management under this optionSNH
Control of Invasive Non-native Plant SpeciesThe land on the holding is part of an area-wide, coordinated strategy for controlling invasive plants, or you are first land manager in your area to have the plant species on your landSNH
Rhododendron ControlThe land on the holding is part of an area-wide, co-ordinated approach for controlling a whole population of rhododendron; and work is essential to control or prevent invasion of a notable site (Special Area of Conservation, Site of Special Scientific Interest or ancient semi-natural woodland site); and/or necessary to secure another investment in controlling a population of rhododendronSNH/SF
Any management option or capital item to benefit a designated site (SSSI or Natura site)The choice and location of option(s) and/or capital item(s) will benefit the feature(s) of the designated siteSNH
Any management option or capital item to benefit pearl musselsThe choice and location of options and/or capital items will benefit freshwater pearl mussels out-with a designated siteSNH

Please use the form below to submit a request for endorsement after taking account of the criteria in Table 2.

Table 2
Management option Criteria for endorsement
Endorsing organisation
Species rich grassland

Habitat Mosaic
If the land proposed for management under either option is hill and upland rough grazing, you can only apply for these options if you are awarded an endorsement from SNH.

The endorsement application requires you to provide supporting evidence that target habitats are present, by submitting either:

• a Phase 1 habitat survey that demonstrates the presence of the target habitats,


• an existing National Vegetation Classification survey demonstrating the site contains the target species

This evidence must accompany your Endorsement form.


Section Change
1. Seeking endorsement for options or capital items outwith their target area.
New section title and updated SNH Endorsement Form. Also updated various links throughout section.
2. Seeking endorsement for Species-rich Grassland Management or Habitat Mosaic Management options in hill or upland rough grazing landNew section title and updated SNH Endorsement Form.

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