Piloting an Outcome Based Approach in Scotland is an SNH-led project working with 40 farmers and crofters in four clusters across Scotland (Skye, Argyll, Strathspey and East Lothian) to test innovative approaches to delivering environmental outcomes on farms and crofts in Scotland.
Phase 1 of the project ran from April 2019 – March 2020 and has received positive support and feedback from participating farmers, crofters and stakeholders.
The project has met all its initial aims to test a payment by results based approach,
- establishing four groups of farmers and crofters willing to participate;
- identifying outcomes that could be delivered for different farm types in different regions;
- identifying result indicators to monitor outcomes and
- developing scorecards for measuring quality of outcomes in relation to potential
Phase 1 consisted of a range of preparatory work and did not include making payments.
Location of the schemeseveral regions
Outcomes tested included:
- Strathspey: grassland management for waders.
- East Lothian: hedges and field margins.
- Argyll: moorland, grassland and woodland habitat mosaics.
- Skye: maintaining whole croft diversity based on mixed livestock management of semi natural grassland.
- Shetland: Peatland quality and wader habitat.
- Outer Hebrides: Machair and peatland
Duration of the schemeSince: April 2019
Until: March 2020
Which habitats or species are in the focus of the scheme / project?
- Habitats (incl. habitats of Fauna-Flora-Habitat-Directive (FFH-D.))
- Species (incl. species of FFH-D. and Birds Directive (BD))
- Landscape elements
How many farmers take part in the scheme?
- Less than 50
Project manager; Kirsten Brewster,
Agriculture Policy Advisor
This project is expected to proceed to Phase 2. The scale and design of Phase 2 has not been finalised and the final scope will depend on the wider policy context, budget and capacity. This would see the approach being trialled on the ground on farms and crofts with concepts developed through detailed consultation with farmers and crofters.
Different outcomes were explored in each pilot depending on farming systems and geography. Working with expert advisers, farmers identified a range of outcomes they could deliver through a results based methodology.
Additional outcomes could be explored depending on the scope of Phase 2 (see overleaf).
- Paying for management under POBAS pilot could hit double funding issues for those in AECS.
- Keeping outcome scoring systems simple yet meaningful.
- Tension between desire for simplicity and the need for the results based approach to reward
levels of effort in achieving outcome.
- Limited number of outcomes tested, unclear whether this approach would suit all other outcomes.
- With uncertainties around future policy, the project is working within the current policy context.
- Opportunity to add additional outcomes and to test at larger scale.