Scottish Conservatives has announced it will redirect unspent money from the existing Circular Economy Investment Fund to support farm efficiency and food production. Projects such as anaerobic digestion among those included.

The new Food Producers Fund would drive down costs for rural businesses whilst increasing recycling, energy recovery and maximising value from waste.

The Circular Economy Investment Fund has allocated approximately £5 million so far even though the total funding available to small and medium sized businesses is £18 million.

The Food Producers Fund aims to focus on:

  • On-site anaerobic digestion: To help farmers and other food producers with the capital and technical costs to establish facilities and improve existing facilities in order to produce energy and heat;
  • Equipment and infrastructure funding: To provide direct funding for equipment to make farms more environmentally-friendly and efficient;
  • Micro-plastic recycling facilities: To position micro plastic-recycling facilities across rural Scotland which would reduce costs and increase convenience for rural and island communities;
  • Waste hubs: These localised hubs would act as a single access point for groups of businesses, reducing costs and logistics issues and providing an alternative option for farmers banned from burning plastic as of January 2019.

Maurice Golden, Scottish Conservative shadow environment secretary said: “Our Scottish Conservative food producers fund would give rural communities and farmers the ability to recycle as close to home as possible.

The SNP is on course to miss key recycling targets and has spectacularly failed to substantially increase the amount of waste Scotland is recycling.

“Indeed, the SNP ban on plastic incineration will leave farmers, particularly those in rural communities, with very few viable options for recycling.

“The Scottish Conservative plan would remove the barriers to recycling that many farmers and rural communities face.

“Simply put, our plan would work with farmers and communities to enable them to recycle and reduce waste; that’s good for all of us.”