Green croft among projects to win rural financial support from government

A West Side croft with an eye on the environment is among 11 schemes in Shetland to benefit from the latest round of rural priorities funding from the Scottish government.

JL Couper, from Wester Skeld, has been awarded £10,132 to improve its biodiversity plan and support local wildlife at a croft in Scarvister.

The cash injection will help provide a favourable habitat for a range of plants, invertebrates and birds.

Breeding waders, including lapwing, redshank, curlew, oystercatcher and snipe, will benefit from maintenance and improvement of habitats.

Management of silage ground will also provide support for nesting farmland birds such as skylark and twite.

An existing mosaic of farmed habitats will be preserved and traditional crofting practices will be carried out, including low-intensity grazing with native sheep and cattle, production of winter feed and arable cropping.

In total 11 schemes in Shetland attracted almost £364,000 in new funding initiatives.

While that may sound impressive it is much less than the £2 million which went to projects in Orkney.

In total 23 projects in the Northern Isles have been approved, bringing the total number of initiatives approved by Rural Priorities to 4,850 – worth some £378 million – since the scheme’s launch in 2008.

Rural Secretary Richard Lochhead said: “I’m delighted to be able to announce this investment in rural projects to the Northern Isles, which will provide essential support to the islands’ local economy in these difficult financial times.

“Hundreds of Rural Priorities projects are now complete and recent changes made to the scheme will allow it to sustain momentum and continue to deliver for Scotland in the future.”


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