§ Ms Ruddock
To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what(a) grants and (b) other support will be available from his Department for the conservation and protection of dry stone walls from April 1996. 
§ Mr. Raymond S. Robertson
Grant assistance for dry stone walling works in Scotland is available from the following sources:
- Objective 1 highlands and islands agricultural programme (agricultural business improvement scheme): 70 per cent. grant for dyking works on inbye and hill land, and for the provision of dykes to exclude livestock in association with conservation management;
- Crofting counties agricultural grants scheme (Scottish Crofting Counties only): 55 per cent grant for the provision, substantial alteration, restoration and protection of dry stone walls for agricultural purposes;
- Scottish Natural Heritage: grants up to a maximum rate of 50 per cent. for dry stone walling works which improve the character and attractiveness of the landscape, and contribute to conservation of biodiversity.
The Government have no. current plans to withdraw assistance under these schemes. Grants at the rate of 30 per cent.—within less-favoured areas—and 25 per cent.—outwith less-favoured areas—are currently available in Scotland under the farm and conservation grant scheme, national. However, the legislation governing this scheme is due to expire in February 1996. We are currently considering future arrangements.
Depending on the nature of their management agreements, farmers in environmentally sensitive areas in Scotland can receive payments at varying rates, depending on location, for dry stone walling works. It is likely that this form of support will also continue beyond April 1996.