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Agriculture and Climate Change: Evidence on Influencing Farmer Behaviours. Section on SRDP measures (uptake)

Research Funding Body

Scottish Government


Hallam, A., Bowden, A and Kasprzyk, K

Project Objectives

Explore what is known about uptake of some SRDP measures (part of a much larger report on farmers attitude and behaviour in the context of the Farm for Better Climate Programme).

Why relevant to improve implementation and uptake of water quality measures

This project gathers information on level of uptake and factors influencing uptake of some SRDP measures.


Literature review. Interviews with 14 Scottish's agricultural opinion formers, including representatives of Scottish Agricultural College, Quality Meat Scotland, National Farmers Union of Scotland, Soil Association, Scottish Land and Estates, Scottish Environment Protection Agency, Scottish National Heritage, Royal Scociety for the Protection of Birds, National Beef Association and National Sheep Association.

Key Results

Implementing water margins to enhance biodiversity, management of wetlands and woodland creation are among the most popular options of the SRDP adopted by land managers. The analysis revealed:

  • a relationship between the size of the holding and intention to uptake: farmers managing larger and more profitable holdings chose to apply for a higher proportion of schemes.
  • Dairy farms had a higher uptake and livestock farms had a lower uptake.
  • Farm business in Argyll, Grampian, Northen Isles and Outer Hebrides applied for fewer schemes. While farm holdings in Borders, Clyde Valley, Forth, Highlands, Ayshire and Dumfries and Galloway, had a relatively high uptake.
  • There is general antipathy and concern in relation to paperwork and general interference as well as perceptions of hidden costs and lack of certainty whether payments would cover costs, but results also show that transaction costs may not be the most important factor in deciding scheme participation.
  • For substantial numbers to adopt a measure, it must work and not require much disruption to existing farm management systems (even win/win solutions if they are perceived as too difficult to implement).
  • Providing financial incentives was considered to play an important role in increasing uptake (particularly capital incentives) but the solution cannot rely only on incentivising: need to convince farmers that measures are beneficial “in their own right” and need to simply the processes.
  • Farmers need clearer information about what is expected of them (clear targets).
  • Opinion formers considered that farmers would be more likely to adopt mitigation measures if the rules and processes were more flexible. But it was acknowledge that greater flexibility impose certain challenges: i) difficult monitoring, ii) increase of the likelihood of unintended consequences and risk of swapping one form of pollution for another, iii) not all farmers appreciate flexibility and want clear instructions.



Contact Person

Angela Morngan (

Further Information


Project Information
Project Type: 
Active Project


Areas of Interest

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The James Hutton Research Institute is the result of the merger in April 2011 of MLURI and SCRI. This merger formed a new powerhouse for research into food, land use, and climate change.