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March 26, 2008

Scotland Rural Development Programme (SRDP)

Scotland Rural Development Programme (SRDP) has now announced its first tranche of £57m to empower rural communities at a grassroots level. 16 Local Action Groups (LAGs) will administer the funds to locally driven projects with wide community benefit. See details of allocation


LEADER is divided into two main allocations – £38.5 million for the whole of rural Scotland and an additional £19.2m for the Highlands and Islands.

The £57.7 million, a joint allocation by the Scottish Government and European Union, will be matched at a local level by public and private funds – potentially doubling the figure.

Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs and the EnvironmentRichard Lochhead said:

“This is a massive investment in rural Scotland which will see decisions taken in local areas on how best to support a wide range of grass-roots community projects.

“The fact that all funding decisions are to be taken locally will greatly empower community decision-making and ensure only those projects which will make a real difference to rural Scotland will be selected.

“I would like to encourage rural communities to now seize the opportunities presented by this funding and take control of their own future development.”

Sixteen Local Action Groups (LAGs) across rural Scotland will administer the funds. Each has successfully applied for funding to be used to implement high-quality local development strategies for their respective areas.

It is anticipated that a further four LAGs will be formed in the second round which opens today.

The £19.2 million convergence fund for the Highland and Islands, which replaces the Highlands and Islands Special Transition Area scheme, will be administered through the Argyll and Islands, Highland, Orkney, Shetland, Outer Hebrides, Cairngorm Local Action Groups. Moray is expected to join in the second round announced today.

LEADER (Liaison Entre Actions de Développement Économique Rurale or links between activities developing rural communities) is a mainstream part of the Scotland Rural Development Programme (SRDP) 2007-2013. It is a bottom up form of local governance aimed at empowering communities to develop their own area using innovative approaches and cooperation. Funding is awarded to Local Action Groups (LAGs) to take decisions on projects which are community driven and have a wide community benefit.

The SRDP is a major programme of support for rural Scotland worth about £1.6 billion over the programme period. The objectives are set out in three themes; to increase competitiveness in agriculture and forestry, improve the environment and the countryside, and enhance the quality of life in rural areas.

Approval of SRDP, following the recommendations of an independent assessment panel, and using a scoring matrix based on population, area and overall quality of bid, means the LAGs can now open for business, and seek applications from potential beneficiaries to implement their local development strategies.

A total of 16 areas applied under the first funding round with proposals to form LAGs. Applications to bid for the second round or LEADER funding were issued today and it is anticipated that a further four areas will be approved. £6.7 million has been held back to fund the second round of applications.

Local Action Groups receiving LEADER funding under part one are:

Aberdeenshire, £3.24m
Argyll & Islands, £2.33m
Scottish Borders, £2.33m
Cairngorms, £0.92m
Dumfries & Galloway, £2.75m
Fife, £1.33
Forth & Lomond, £2.63m
Highland, £6m
Kelvin Valley, £0.53m
Orkney, £0.51m
Outer Hebrides, £0.94m
South Lanarkshire, £1.39m
Shetland, £0.63m
Tyne-Esk, £2.23m
West Lothian, £0.98m