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Parliamentary debates and questions

S5W-07709: John Finnie (Highlands and Islands)

Scottish Green Party

Date lodged: 3 March 2017

To ask the Scottish Government what proportion of the proposed £4.6 million annually provided to the Farm Advisory Service in the draft Climate Change Plan will be spent on mitigation, and how much is budgeted for non-mitigation advice and support, including biodiversity, habitat and land management, water pollution, prevention and control plans.

Answered by: Fergus Ewing 15 March 2017

The Farm Advisory Service’s (FAS) main aim is to increase the profitability and sustainability of farming and crofting enterprises across Scotland.

The delivery of the service is provided through two contracts and the overall budget is divided between them; a one-to-many contract managed by SAC Consulting and a one-to-one contract managed by Ricardo Energy and Environment. It is worth noting that whilst Climate Change is an important aspect of FAS, it’s role is to provide high quality advice and information, it is not responsible for the actual delivery of mitigation or adaptation measures.

The one to many service can be broken down into three activity headers: cross compliance; climate change and the environment and; business viability and efficiency, with a projected budget for 2017-18 split around 15%, 26% and 27% respectively. However due to the cross cutting nature of the topics such as climate change and bio-diversity, advice that is given through cross compliance and business viability and efficiency can also have a positive impact in these areas.

Through the one to one service there is the provision of Integrated Land Management Plans, Carbon Audits of which there are around 250 free each year and specialist advice visits. With this service being demand lead, and due to the integrated nature of the advice that will be given, it is not possible to proportion out the level of spend for specific topics.

The delivery of the two will be co-ordinated through a single service point (hub): website: www.fas.scot / phone: 0300 323 0161 / email: advice@fas.scot