Problems with the Scottish Government’s IT systems have forced Rural Economy Secretary Fergus Ewing to extend the deadline for applications to the Agri-Environment Climate Scheme to May 2.
The AECS is designed to promote land management practices which protect Scotland’s natural heritage, improve water quality, manage flood risk and help adapt to climate change.
Mr Ewing said he had made the decision to prevent any potential problems with the development of the CAP IT system and because he wanted to see as much funding as possible reach farmers.
“I have listened to representations from stakeholders about making additional time available for the application process for this round of the Agri-Environment Climate Scheme and have decided to extend the application”, he added.
“In the meantime, we are very focused on fixing all ongoing issues and are making progress on delivering new IT functionality to support future payment processes.
“While there is still a lot of hard work required to achieve this, we also need the co-operation of stakeholders in keeping additional demands on the IT side to a minimum.”
The news follows a difficult year for BPS delivery in Scotland, where the Scottish Government was forced to offer loans worth £500 million after it became clear full payments would not be made on time.