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Two local politicians have given their backing to calls for increased financial support from the Scottish Government to help farmers comply with new slurry storage regulations.
Earlier this year NFU Scotland called on the Government to increase the Agri-Environment Climate Scheme (AECS) budget, ring-fence funds within the scheme for slurry storage investment, and extend the Scottish Agricultural Capital Grants Scheme (SACGS).
The calls come following amendments to the Water Environment (Controlled Activities) Scotland Regulations 2011 meaning that many local farms may be required to reconstruct or enlarge their existing slurry storage facilities in order to comply.
Local farmers have also called on SEPA to extend the compliance deadline, and to apply a ‘soft touch’ approach in how it works with farmers to comply with the new rules
Highlands and Islands MSP Donald Cameron, and Scottish Conservative candidate for South Kintyre, Tommy Macpherson, have thrown their weight behind the calls.
Donald Cameron MSP said: ‘Local farmers are understandably concerned about the costs associated with the new slurry regulations and it is only right and proper that they get an assurance that extra financial support will be forthcoming.
‘I will continue to push the Scottish Government to increase the amount of funding available in its AECS scheme and also to widen access to it so that farmers outside of its priority catchment area can benefit from it too.’
South Kintyre Scottish Conservative councillor Tommy Macpherson has already spoken to various farmers in the area about the new regulations and has relayed to Mr Cameron their significant worries about how they are going to pay to comply with these rules at a time of increasing costs across the board.
‘Farmers don’t need any extra financial worries at this moment in time, especially given the rising prices of fuel, feed and fertiliser,’ said Councillor Macpherson.
‘Reasonable calls have been made for extra financial support to help farmers comply with the new regulations, and failing that, more time to allow farmers to comply with the new rules.
‘It is time for the SNP Government to act upon those calls, and give our local farmers the backing they so desperately need.’
Since being elected back in May, Mr Macpherson has made himself busy championing the region which he says for too long has felt distant and remote from policy and decision making.
Recently he has been ‘pin mapping’ South Kintyre at Holyrood and spent an informal 90mins with Liam Kerr MSP and Graham Simpson MSP joined briefly by Donald Cameron MSP. The three central threads of conversation; renewable energy, connectivity and rural affairs.