Land inspections

Date published: 1 January, 2015

Several of our funding schemes provide support that's linked to the size and type of land you farm, so it's important that we make sure the details you give us are correct.

We're required by European Commission legislation to annually check at least five per cent of claims for each relevant scheme through on the spot inspections.

Most inspections are carried out by our own inspectors from the Rural Payments and Inspections Division who will use Global Positioning Satellite equipment.

In some cases Forestry Commission Scotland and Scottish Natural Heritage will carry out inspections. This is because some funding schemes are jointly or fully managed by these bodies.

We carry out inspections on both direct payments and certain Scottish Rural Development Programme payments and the results of inspections can affect how much funding you receive.

The schemes that require land inspections are:

Direct Payments

  • Basic Payment Scheme, including the Young Farmer and Greening payments

Scottish Rural Development Programme

  • Less Favoured Area Support Scheme
  • Agri-Environment Climate Scheme
  • Forestry Grant Scheme

Legacy schemes

Legacy schemes are schemes that formed part of a previous programme but continue to pay out, although they are closed for new applicants.

This is because some of the payments are paid annually over several years to match the lifecycle of the project they are supporting and inspections for them still take place.

You can find out more about previous programmes using the link below.

Legacy schemes

  • Rural Priorities
  • Land Managers Options
  • Farm Woodland Premium Scheme
  • Habitats Scheme

What we look for

At your farm or business, our inspector will verify information you've provided in your funding application and also check to make sure you meet any regulation requirements.

For example, this will involve:

  • checking the boundaries you have provided for the land you're claiming against are correct. This allows us to calculate the gross area for the field
  • measuring and assessing ineligible areas within agricultural land parcels. This allows us to calculate the eligible area for the land you've claimed against and should match the measurements you've provided
  • verifying the management requirements that are detailed in the scheme terms and conditions are being followed
  • establishing if fields are being fully utilised to check on activity rules

Inspection outcomes

Our inspections are designed to make sure that the Scottish agriculture and forestry industries comply with European Commission rules and if we do not meet these rules, the European Commission can fine the Scottish Government.

If you do fail part or all of your inspection, we will refer to this as a breach and may reduce your funding. Any reduction in payments will be assessed depending on how serious the breach is.

Our inspections underpin the correct payment of money under both Direct Payments and the Scottish Rural Development Programme.

So it's very important that you keep us up to date with any changes to your land. You can find out about this in the land change section.

Land change information

Further information

Further information and guidance can be found using the below links.

Mapping requirements for land managers

Assessing eligible land

If you have any queries regarding land inspections, please get in touch

Contact us

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