Scottish Upland Sheep Support Scheme
Date published: 18 March, 2022
For recent changes to this guidance, please see the bottom of the page.
This scheme provides additional support, on top of the Basic Payment Scheme, to sheep producers who farm in Scotland's rough grazing areas.
These payments help farmers maintain the social and environmental benefits that sheep flocks bring to those areas.
- Full scheme guidance
- Non-compliance and penalties
- Appeals and complaints
Before you apply for this scheme, you should read the full scheme guidance. If you have any questions, please check with us before you submit an application.
If you need any help or assistance to use this guidance, you can book an appointment at your local area office.
You will qualify for this payment if your business relies on rough grazing, with 80 per cent or more of your agricultural land in Payment Region three and less than 200 hectares of agricultural land in Payment Region one.
The payment regions are:
- Payment Region One – this includes better quality agricultural land that has been used for arable cropping, temporary grass and permanent grass
- Payment Region Two – this includes rough grazing with a Less Favoured Areas grazing category of B, C, D or non-Less Favoured Area
- Payment Region Three – this includes rough grazing with a Less Favoured Area grazing category of A.
- a sole producer or
- a company or
- partnership or
- a group of these
We make payments on homebred ewe hoggs that are kept on your holding (including 'away winterings') from 1 December in the year claimed to 31 March the following year.
You must maintain a flock register and keep it up to date. In addition, you must comply with the Sheep and Goats (Records, Identification and Movement) (Scotland) Order 2009. There is an upper payment limit of one ewe hogg to every four hectares.
To apply for support through this scheme you must have first submitted a Single Application Form for the same year. You can find out more about the Single Application Form using the link below.
You can then apply for Scottish Upland Sheep Support Scheme between 1 September and 30 November.
Using our online service is the easiest and quickest way to submit your claim.
If you submit your claim online it will help you avoid simple errors such as claiming for an animal twice or entering an eartag in the wrong format.
However, you can also claim by post using a Scottish Upland Sheep Support Scheme claim form.
If you still choose to submit a paper form, it must be fully completed along with details of each animal's identification number, and sent to your local RPID area office. You can find contact details for each office in our contact section.
We pay a flat rate for each eligible animal. The yearly rates will be set once the total number of eligible animals claimed is known, usually around April.
The animals you claim for must be retained on your holding (including away winterings) from 1 December until 31 March the following year.
If the number of ewe hoggs retained during the retention period falls below the number claimed due to natural circumstances losses, you have 10 working days from finding any reduction in the number of animals to inform us.
For scheme years 2015 to 2019, a choice of currency between sterling and euros has been available to businesses claiming Direct Payments. From scheme year 2020 we will only pay you in sterling.
Payments will be made to your business’ nominated bank account using BACS.
We can only pay into a United Kingdom bank account held in the name of the business. You must provide your business’ bank account details to allow us to pay you.
We aim to acknowledge your claim by letter within 14 days.
We will aim to pay all eligible claims by 30 June following the end of each scheme year.
If you receive support from this scheme you will be subject to our inspections programme.
You can find out more about how and why we carry out inspections in our dedicated section
Inspections can be held at any reasonable date and time. Our inspector may ask you to gather your animals at a convenient place on the holding.
You must provide secure handling facilities to allow us to check each animal’s ear tag.
If you refuse to let us carry out an inspection or do not give reasonable help to the inspector we will not pay your subsidy. You may also face prosecution.
At an inspection we will check:
- by means of a physical inspection that all declared sheep have been correctly identified with two matching official EID identifiers
- by means of a physical inspection that official EID identifiers, homebred status, sex, age and retention location of the declared sheep match the submitted claim details
- that the full official EID identifier, date of identification, number of animals and year of birth of all declared animals have been recorded in your holding register
- that the full official EID identifier, date of replacement and previous official identifier has been entered in your holding register where a declared animal has had an official replacement identifier applied
- that movement documents have been fully completed, movement information is entered in the holding register and movements notified to ScotEID via SAMU
- that the full official EID identifier and date of death of any declared sheep which have died during the retention period are recorded in the holding register
- that the natural circumstance losses criteria have been met.
- as a keeper of sheep, your identification and traceability requirements can be found in the Sheep and Goat Identification and Traceability - Guidance for Keepers in Scotland (below)
Sheep and goat identification and traceability - guidance for keepers (PDF - 349.5KB)
If we find you have not been following the scheme rules, you could face a penalty such as your payment being reduced or cancelled entirely.
It is important we take action where we do find that the requirements of the scheme have not been followed to make sure we are acting within United Kingdom law and do not face administration fines for not doing so.
If you knowingly make a false statement to receive payment for yourself or for someone else you may even be prosecuted.
If we find a difference between the number of animals you claim in a scheme year and the number of animals that are eligible, we will reduce your payment by a percentage error rate.
To find the percentage error rate, we divide the number of ineligible animals found by the number of animals remaining eligible.
You may also face a penalty if you do not keep your land in good agricultural and environmental condition or if you do not keep to the statutory management requirements, which include the Sheep and Goat (Records, Identification and Movement) (Scotland) Order 2009
If you are unhappy with a decision we have made regarding your application, you have the right to appeal.
Likewise, if you are unhappy with our service as a whole, we have a dedicated complaints procedure to help you resolve this.
If you have any questions about this scheme, please get in touch. Contact details can be found in our Contact us section.