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The Rural Development Contracts (Rural Priorities) (Scotland) Amendment Regulations 2011

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Amendment to option 38 (management of coastal or serpentine heath)

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35.  In option 38 (management of coastal or serpentine heath)—

(a)in column 1, for “Management of coastal or serpentine heath” substitute “Management of coastal heath, serpentine vegetation or special interest heath”; and

(b)in column 2, for paragraphs (2) and (3) substitute—

(2) A beneficiary is eligible for payment under this option on coastal heath, serpentine vegetation or special interest heath if the beneficiary—

(a)on land dominated by heath vegetation, manages grazing levels to enable plants to flower and set seed in the summer. The area must be sufficiently grazed over the autumn to remove rank growth and lightly crop dwarf shrubs; and

(b)on land dominated by grass vegetation, manages grazing levels in accordance with programme guidance to ensure the sward is at its longest in the summer to enable plants to flower and set seed and is shorter in the spring and autumn to allow grassland species to germinate and to remove rank growth.

(3) For all heath types but subject to paragraph (4), the beneficiary must—

(a)exclude farm livestock from the area from 1st April until 31st August inclusive;

(b)graze livestock on the site from 1st September until 30th November inclusive at a level not exceeding 1.2 livestock units per hectare during this period; and

(c)where appropriate in accordance with programme guidance, ensure that, if the site is grazed from 1st December until 31st March inclusive, the grazing level does not exceed 0.15 livestock units per hectare during this period except with the prior written agreement of the Scottish Ministers.

(4) Where the requirements in paragraph (3) would not reflect the specific biodiversity requirements of the site in the opinion of the Scottish Ministers at the time of the application, the beneficiary must set out in a grazing plan, to be agreed with the Scottish Ministers, a farm livestock management and grazing regime. The grazing plan may not be varied in any year of the 5 year commitment except with the prior written agreement of the Scottish Ministers.

(5) A grazing plan is obligatory when management is for Scottish primrose.

(6) For all sites, a beneficiary must—

(a)adjust grazing management to ensure coarser grasses do not shade out desired plant species;

(b)not provide supplementary feeding on the site without the prior written agreement of the Scottish Ministers;

(c)not burn the site without the prior written agreement of the Scottish Ministers;

(d)not apply fertiliser, lime, slurry or farmyard manure to the site; and

(e)not apply pesticides to the site except for herbicides with the prior written agreement of the Scottish Ministers for activities such as spot treatment of injurious weeds or control of invasive non-native species.

(7) Where a site occupies only a small part or parts of the field or management unit, the whole field or management unit may be managed under the provisions of this option where the Scottish Ministers consider this would be beneficial.

(8) Extensive mosaics of heath and grassland are not eligible..

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