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Agribusiness News July 2024 – Policy Brief

1 July 2024

New Agriculture Bill to become law

Deeming agriculture as being vital to our economy, MSPs have backed legislation that will change how the Scottish Government supports farming and food production as it seeks to become a global leader in sustainable and regenerative agriculture.

The new Agriculture and Rural Communities (Scotland) Bill aims to help farmers and crofters to produce more food more sustainably and to support their essential role in climate mitigation and nature restoration.  This new legislation will also drive support for rural communities, the economy, and for land management and the environment.

As part of the Scottish Government’s ‘Vision for Agriculture’, the new Bill will provide a framework of payments designed to support the agricultural sector to:

  • play its part in reducing emissions,
  • mitigating climate change,
  • enhancing nature and biodiversity,
  • continuing to support the sector in its critical role with regards providing Scotland with a sustainable and resilient food system.

As part of the new framework, it has already been announced that from 2025:

  • New cross-compliance measures will be introduced for peatlands and wetlands.
  • In order to qualify for Scottish Suckler Beef Support Scheme payments, suckler cows must have a maximum calving interval of 410 days.
  • Whole Farm Plans will be introduced as a conditionality under the Basic Payment Scheme (BPS).

For a more in-depth look at the proposals for the new Whole Farm Plans, please see our Agri Business News Sector Focus article.

Natural Capital Market Framework

Scotland’s economy relies heavily on natural assets, including renewable energy, tourism, agriculture and fisheries.  Therefore, seeking to capitalise on natural assets in the form of geology, soils, air, water, plants and animals makes economic sense; and in the quest for Net Zero, carbon management sense too.

Scotland already has two established regulated natural capital markets, namely the Peatland Code and the Woodland Carbon Code which provide opportunities for carbon sequestration and storage, water management and recreation.

Supporting the creation of new markets could help to ensure healthy soils, improve biodiversity and air quality, reduce flood risk and enhance climate adaptation. As natural capital markets have the potential to enhance Scotland’s wellbeing economy, it could be advocated that action is needed to boost the number, scale and variety of natural capital projects.  However, moving away from straight economics, the Scottish Government is also keen that land based Natural Capital projects adopt integrated land use practices and that local communities have a share in any benefits.

To help facilitate this and to create a Natural Capital Market Framework, the Scottish Government have launched a survey, a link for which can be found here.  The closing date for responses is the 12th July 2024.

Wide loads on public roads

With harvest just around the corner, farmers who wish to move vehicles or implements of over 3 meters combined width, or with a front or rear overhang exceeding 4 meters on public roads (i.e. combines and headers), are advised to apply for an annual dispensation from Police Scotland as this avoids the need to notify them in advance of each journey with a wide load. Once obtained, a copy should be carried in all the vehicles covered by it, as if stopped by Police Scotland, drivers will be required to provide proof that prior approval has been sought.

A copy of the application form is available online through this link Completed application forms can be sent by:


Post: Abnormal Loads Team at Detroit Road, Glenrothes, KY8 2RJ.

Please note that Police Scotland will respond in the same manner as the original application, so please apply in plenty of time if you send your application in by post, to allow for processing time and for the dispensation letter to be sent out.

15 July 2024End of management period for Ecological Focus Areas (EFA) fallow.
31 July 2024AECS - Stand-alone Organic conversion and maintenance application period closes.
1 August 2024End of management period for Ecological Focus Areas (EFA) nitrogen fixing crops.


Christine Beaton,

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