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RuralScot An independent publication from Canongate Communications


Getting the outer reaches connected


The dizzy heights of vertical farming

Distributed with The Times Scotland 1 September 2016


Salmon producers go social


The great GM debate

Farming’s hot potato Scottish research helps disease-free ‘superspud’ to be trialled – but only in Ireland




RuralScot RuralScot is an independent publication by BrandScotland. Contents

2 Digital connectivity 3 Vertical farming 4 Crown Estate 5 salmon industry 6 GM’s hot potato

EDITOR Kevin O’Sullivan 0131 561 7364 kevin@futurescot.com ADVERTISING Harry Dickinson

0131 561 7364 harry@brandscotland.com PUBLISHER Hamish Miller 0131 561 7344 hamish@canongate.org FutureScot

Creative Exchange 29 Constitution Street Edinburgh, EH6 7BS www.futurescot.com DESIGN & PRODUCTION

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FutureScot is an independent publication by BrandScotland distributed in The Times Scotland. All rights reserved. Neither this publication or part of it may be stored, reproduced or transmitted, electronically, photocopied or recorded without prior permission of the Publisher. Futurescot is published and exclusively distributed in The Times Scotland. We verify information to the best of our ability but do not accept responsibility for any loss for reliance on any content published. If you wish to contact us please include your full name and address with a contact telephone number.

1 September 2016

Getting the outer reaches connected Ambitious government plans will see fibre broadband extended to 95% of Scotland’s premises by 2017 By Fergus Ewing Cabinet Secretary for Rural Economy & Connectivity This Government has put digital connectivity at the heart of its agenda and delivering 100% superfast broadband coverage for Scotland by the end of the next Parliament is one of our key priorities. I am pleased to be the Cabinet Secretary responsible for delivering this commitment and connectivity more widely. Our agenda and approach is deliberately ambitious. We are not content to wait for solutions to be handed to us through UK Government’s reserved powers in this area, but to work with them and independently to find solutions to Scotland’s digital needs. One of my priorities is setting out how we will deliver on our 100% superfast broadband coverage commitment by 2021 and I intend to outline the next steps on this later this year. Broadband and mobile coverage are key to many aspects of rural life and the rural economy and we are working hard to continue to improve both. Alongside our delivery partners, we are investing £410 million to extend access to fibre broadband to 95% of premises in Scotland by the end of 2017. We are making good progress. By

June 2016, over 620,000 premises had access to fibre broadband – meeting our interim target of 85% for the whole of Scotland six months ahead of schedule. But there is more we can and must do. Delivering on this commitment will be challenging, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be achieved. We are currently planning new procurement activity to deliver new public funding, which we hope to launch next year. A key first stage is finalising the Digital Scotland Superfast Broadband (DSSB) coverage footprint and conducting an Open Market review to determine commercial investment plans. Reflecting the unique challenges of delivering connectivity to our most remote areas, this will likely involve a range and mix of technologies, including satellite provision and TV White Space – which is currently being trialled to provide wireless connectivity on Orkney and three ferries that operate there. Community Broadband Scotland (CBS) is already helping communities deliver innovative broadband solutions in areas not covered by DSSB. CBS has already approved funding for 75 projects and is actively supporting a further 115 communities across Scotland, comprising more than 22,000 premises and will continue to support community-led projects as part of our 100% ambition.

Fergus Ewing: “We need to get better and faster while still respecting our natural environment”

Mobile coverage plays an equally important role in delivering connectivity to our rural communities. A recent Ofcom report references the fact that Scotland has lower mobile phone coverage levels, particularly 4G, than the rest of the UK. That is why earlier this year we published our Mobile Action Plan – developed in close collaboration with mobile network operators – that outlines a range of activities including how devolved levers can be pulled to improve the case for investment in rural areas and result in extended 4G coverage across Scotland. These include further reform of planning policy and examining how public sector land and buildings can be better used to deliver telecoms deployment. In short, we need to get better and faster while still respecting our natural environment and the interests of communities at enabling development of key connectivity infrastructure. The then Islands Minister Derek

Mackay launched a pilot scheme earlier this year offering non-domestic rates

relief on new mobile masts to encourage the provision of mobile services in areas which would otherwise be unattractive for commercial investment. Over the summer we also launched a 12-week consultation on proposed changes to planning legislation arising from independent research into how the Scottish planning system can better support telecoms deployment. We recognise there will still be gaps in coverage when commercial rollout is complete and we are already working with the Scottish Futures Trust to develop proposals for a mobile infill programme that seeks to learn from the UK Government’s ill-fated Mobile Infrastructure Project, which delivered minimal benefit to Scotland. Digital connectivity is vital to the sustainability of our rural economy and communities. That is why we have chosen to develop a different focus than the UK Government, which provides a role for public investment in our digital connectivity to ensure that all of Scotland benefits from faster broadband. There are real signs that our approach is the right one.

“Broadband and mobile coverage are key to many aspects of rural life and the rural economy and we are working hard to continue to improve both”


1 September 2016 An artist’s impression of what the demonstrator facility at the James Hutton Institute might look like.



The James Hutton Institute in Invergowrie, near Dundee

The dizzy heights of ambition: how ‘vertical farming’ could reinvent our relationship with food. And farmers. Pioneering work at the James Hutton Institute aims to automate the growing of fruit and veg By Kevin O’Sullivan It wasn’t so long ago that the arrival of GPS, drones and big data was the next big thing in farming. But such is the current frenetic pace of change as agriculture collides with technology that those developments may soon seem as old as the plough. Thanks to revolutionary growing techniques, the very way we farm is being – to borrow a well-worn phrase – ‘disrupted’. If a new project at the James Hutton Institute, Scotland’s agri research base in Invergowrie, near Dundee, gets off the ground later this year, we may soon be munching lettuces that have been perfectly cultivated by robots in vertically stacked indoor growing pods, and subjected to “exquisitely” controlled temperature, light, humidity and nutrient levels. And if the researchers’ quest to introduce affordable sensory

equipment into the mix, they might even be able to listen to what the plants are telling them, and fine-tune those environmental conditions even further. Has anyone mentioned this to Prince Charles, I wonder, as I catch up with Dr Rob Hancock, one of the scientists who will be working on a yet-to-be constructed £2.5m ‘demonstrator’ facility with Intelligent Growth Solutions, a private company fronted by Scottishbased farming entrepreneur Sir Henry Aykroyd. “This is a long-term project and it’s going to take a lot of money,” says Dr Hancock. But ultimately the dream is that you seed these things, you close it and you come back three months’ later when your crop’s ready. This is a vision, and not yet a reality but we are making the first steps towards that.” The first step is proof of concept, without the expensive sensors (one can cost £50,000 and might only be able to measure data from a 2.5cm squared bit of leaf). But if the empirical methods can be developed and 12 cycles of lettuce crop per annum can be consistently grown (you can only do two or three each year under polytunnels) the

next step would be to drive down the cost of the sensory equipment to fully automate and refine the process even further. “It will be the realtime algorithms which will allow the tweaking of the growth conditions to consistently optimise the photosynthetic efficiency,” adds Dr Hancock. This kind of work is not new and there are many different forms of vertical farming already happening around the world. The automated part, using robotics, sensors and algorithms, is where the Hutton project stands to be the first of its type in the UK. If successful, the project may in the not too distant future completely revolutionise the way we do farming. Dr Hancock is quick to point out that it might only ever be a realistic alternative to conventional field-based growing for the highest value crops, like lettuce and strawberries. As such it’s unlikely we will ever see the humble potato being grown in vertically stacked towers. Among the many other benefits to the production method is that crops can be consistently blemish free, in line with supermarkets’ argu-

ably unnecessary quest for perfection, grown according to peaks and troughs in demand (owing to the precision control of LED lighting scheduling), and can reduce food miles. In fact, the ability to locate an indoor production facility almost anywhere might even see large tracts of farming moved wholesale into population centres. “The beauty of having one of these towers and their small footprint is that you can stick them next to the distribution centre – you can stick them at the back of the supermarket,” says Dr Hancock, who is the beneficiary of an Innovate UK grant to help develop this nascent branch of science. “There’s no use having the tower here, actually. You want it next to where it’s retailed. It makes sense because why would you put in all those transport costs when the quality of the product is deteriorating? You would want it right where you need it.” He adds: “One of the advantages of the tower is that we can produce absolutely identical experimental material time and time again all year round. And that should advance the ability we have for doing certain types of science here.”

Efficiency and economy: Key benefits of the tower system Sir Henry Aykroyd, chief executive of Intelligent Growth Solutions, says: “Our project at The James Hutton Institute is an exciting opportunity for the vertical farming market in the UK and beyond. “We believe that our automated growth tower systems will allow for certain crops, such as salads, and in the future tomatoes, to be grown all year round in a controlled environment. “The precisely controlled lighting and power management opportunities which our technology addresses are essential for more efficient growing capabilities. We believe our systems will ultimately lower costs for producers and retailers, and offer a scalable solution for the vertical farming market.”

Regulator aiming to address connectivity challenge across Scotland By Staff reporter Ofcom Scotland is busy working to improve the way it collects data from broadband and mobile companies to provide a better indication of local coverage levels. The communications regulator is preparing to roll out ‘advanced mobile and broadband checkers’ to give consumers a much more accurate picture of services in their area. The enhanced information will be available in Ofcom’s next Connected

Nations report, which will be released at the end of the year. Additionally, new ‘duct and pole access’ rules will give telecoms companies better access and information on the Openreach infrastructure network. It is hoped that will allow operators to invest more confidently in ultrafast fibre infrastructure networks. More details on those measures will be published this autumn and also later this year the regulator will provide its input to Government on the design of the new ‘Universal Service Obligation’,

which will enshrine broadband speeds of at least 10MB/s to consumers as a legal right. It is hoped those measures will help improve overall broadband and mobile phone coverage in Scotland, which has been lagging behind the rest of the UK. Due to the physical relief of the country and demand levels it has proved much more difficult and expensive for network operators to reach some of the remotest parts of the country with new infrastructure, or upgrades to the old.

According to 2015’s Connected Nations report, superfast broadband coverage for Scotland reached 73% of all premises compared to 83% of the UK as a whole. But when rural parts of Scotland are put into the equation that falls to just 31%, against 37% of the UK in total. However, progress has been at a faster rate in Scotland, according to the report, owing to the fact rural superfast broadband coverage reached a mere 8% of premises in 2014. The rise of 23% was higher than that of the UK overall, which went up by 15% in rural

areas in the same 12-month period. The report stated: “It remains the case that the individual nations of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland as well as rural England see lower availability of communications services than the UK as a whole. The comparative lack of disruptive market forces and competition mean that the usual channels to create increased coverage in many of the more remote areas of the UK are absent and partly publicly funded intervention programmes have been used to help reach these areas.”




1 September 2016

A partnership approach and focus on sustainability The Crown Estate’s Scotland Portfolio aims to share its knowledge and expertise for the benefit of Scotland’s rural economies By Andy Wells Head of Property at The Crown Estate’s Scotland Portfolio The Crown Estate’s Scotland Portfolio manages a diverse portfolio which includes four rural estates, mineral and salmon fishing rights, approximately half the foreshore and almost the entire seabed. Our team works collaboratively to ensure these assets are sustainably worked, developed and enjoyed to deliver the best value over the long-term. A sustainable approach to land use

As an active land manager of 37,000 hectares of rural land with forestry, farming, commercial & residential

tenants, we have driven the development of a locally focused, partnership approach to land management on our rural estates. For many years now we have carried out activities that create and strengthen relationships in local communities, and diversify the local economy, allowing us to manage our land holdings in a sustainable way. This includes investing in public access and educational activities to attract visitors as well as conservation and landscape projects that increase woodland diversity. Similarly, with agriculture, we continue to invest in farming businesses, working with our tenants to balance improved productivity with increased biodiversity. We recently brought Den Farm at Spey Bay, Moray, to the open market for rent. The 10 year Limited Duration Tenancy (LDT) tenancy has been successfully let to a local farmer who is looking to expand their business and improve the unit long-term. We have also partnered with the Moredun Research Institute to support our farming tenants and bring long-term benefits to our estates.

The Crown Estate also supports the Scotland Food & Drink Awards, sponsoring the Best Fish & Seafood category Supporting sustainable aquaculture

We have over 750 agreements for aquaculture sites, and while the role of The Crown Estate’s team is to grant rights for approved and consented fish farm developments, importantly, we also invest in research and development to keep this important industry working efficiently and sustainably. We have supported research into the development of hatchery protocols for the cultivation of wrasse. Another innovation supported through a partnership with the Scottish Aquaculture Research Forum (SARF) involved exploring alternative production models for salmon farming. We also fully adopted the recommendations from the latest five yearly independent review of our fin and shellfish lease terms, conducted in consultation with industry. As hosts of the Scottish Marine Aquaculture Awards, we are proud to

be able to support the Scotland Food & Drink Awards as sponsors of the Best Fish & Seafood Category, helping to further promote Scottish aquaculture business and products. Coastal collaboration

With over 2,380 agreements covering ports, harbours and marinas, collaboration with coastal communities is central to our approach. It helps them to develop facilities and enables us to manage assets for long term success. From small community projects to large port developments we recognise that each proposal has unique characteristics. Whether it is our coastal community officers helping to set up mooring associations or our team of valuation experts negotiating commercial terms for a large infrastructure project, we take a flexible approach. Increasingly, developments are taking place through Local Management Agreements

(LMAs) designed specifically to enable community-led initiatives. Working with industry partners, we helped develop a Marine Tourism Strategy for Scotland, which included working with Scottish Canals and Highlands & Islands Enterprise to commission updated economic analyses for sailing and identify strategic development areas around Scotland’s coast. We also helped fund Scotland’s Marine Recreation and Tourism Survey, and continue to invest in ‘Building our Capabilities’ research to benefit the sector and coastal communities. We have found that taking a partnership approach leads to more sustainable decision-making and enables us to share our knowledge and expertise for the benefit of Scotland’s rural economies. @CrownEstateScot scotland@thecrownestate.co.uk www.thecrownestate.co.uk/scotland


1 September 2016



Total gross pay to the Scottish salmon industry’s 2,500 employees reached £71m in 2015, a new report will show

From seasonal to stable: a ‘sea change’ for jobs in the salmon industry Salmon producers also take a social bite to put money back into local communities’ By Kevin O’Sullivan If you could sum up the most pressing objectives of the Scottish Salmon Producers’ Organisation - other than to keep on selling more of the nation’s biggest food export, both to UK and overseas markets (which it is very good at, incidentally), - you wouldn’t have to look much further than two words: social licence. The SSPO, which is the national membership body for the seven largest salmon farm producing companies, has seen its members for years invest quietly and often with little fanfare in the local communities in which they operate, some of them at the margins of Scottish society, both geographically and economically. The social effects of having a large employer in the community are often lost to the outside world, who may not see the tangible benefits of having a cash-rich organisation operating in some of the far-flung regions of the country: they may not see the investment in schools, local sports such as shinty, computers for the elderly, theatre. But it is there. And the SSPO members have now got together to formalise the work they do as a matter of course under the umbrella of this new set of guiding principles, which it describes as its ‘Community Charter’. “We have already been doing this a lot over the last 10 years but we want

to make a public commitment to maintaining this work and enhancing it,” says Scott Landsburgh, Chief Executive of the SSPO. “And hopefully as we grow the value of the industry communities can feel a part of that and get some benefit from it as well.” Oban-based Imani Development devised the document, which has been adopted by the member companies, many of whom already have a substantial charitable and community engagement presence, such as Scottish Sea Farms with its ‘Heart of the Community Fund’. “The future is about social licence, taking the communities with you, and taking you with them. It’s a joint effort, working in collaboration to develop the local economy,” adds Landsburgh. “Some locations are dependent on us but equally there are some where we are dependent on them, for their skills, on the natural resources that we have access to. “Therefore, we want to share some of the rewards with them, and I think it’s very important that we are seen to be enthusiastic about collaboration. That’s what this charter is all about it’s formalising what we do.” The model, which is based on what the wind farm industry has successfully introduced, is likely to meet with approval from wider interest groups: local and national politicians, third sector organisations and so forth: and it’s likely to generate more than £1m-a-year of direct benefits in kind to communities dotted around the 250 salmon farms across the Highlands and Islands. That figure might even

rise if the industry’s plan to grow ‘sustainably’ from its current size to double that by 2030 bears fruit. In terms of putting money back into the industry itself, economic data soon to be released by the SSPO is expected to show how investment in the sector has made in skills and training is paying off, with greater than ever security of employment tenure for the sector’s workforce. According to the annual Scottish Salmon Economic Report, which is set to be released this month, total gross pay to the industry’s 2,500 employees

“It’s really become a career driven industry, which is great from a recruitment perspective and good for the rural economy of the Highlands and Islands” Scott Landsburgh, Chief Executive of the SSPO

reached £71m in 2015, an increase on 12% on the previous year, reflecting a significant shift to full-time roles, against a corresponding drop in parttime or seasonal work: 93% of jobs in salmon farming are now full-time positions, the report will indicate. “This is a big sea change from the early days where it was all about seasonal labour and part-time work,” adds Landsburgh. “It’s really become a career driven industry, which is great from a recruitment perspective and good for the rural economy of the Highlands and Islands because people will potentially have a job for life if they choose to get involved and embrace it. It’s very much pointing people into careers; in fact, we now have around 91 people on our Modern Apprenticeship programme.” Technology, too, is increasingly

playing a part in the success story of the sector. Where once it was all about overalls and nets, the focus now has shifted somewhat to roles where experience of computer software is needed to exact greater control over feeding times, and rates; equally, the biology of fish behaviour is a field for study, as well as data analytics. That in turn requires new skill sets, which Scotland is developing at a steady rate and although it may not be able to challenge the likes of Norway in terms of output, which has an industry 11 times bigger, it bodes well for the people whose abilities will become attractive to international markets. “I think we will eventually start exporting our expertise abroad as well,” adds Landsburgh. “We are developing specific training programmes and

we’re looking to work with the University of the Highlands and Islands, going into schools to careers days and telling people about what the job opportunities are. “So we’re gauging what the local interest is, and planning ahead for that. We see a big future in training and creating experts in the sector. Eventually we will be able to bring people in from abroad to train them up - I do see that as a part of the industry’s future, the focus on education.” For now, the industry seems in

a good place. Demand is growing at around 8%-a-year, a healthy rate of return for investors, its focus on premium ‘finest’ or ‘best’ products is a mark of quality that gives it access to a broad UK clientele, and has also helped it to open up new markets in the US (which overtook France as the number one export destination just a few years ago) and in China. A delegation from China, where they like their fish “big” apparently, according to Landsburgh, recently visited Scotland to check out Scottish production methods, and it all went very well. Not even the uncertainty over Brexit can curb his enthusiasm, even though the EU as a trading block is the biggest single cluster market. He says: “We don’t see any reason why that won’t continue for the foreseeable future, and obviously we trade as part of the EU at the moment with other countries around the world. The whole export and customer base story is good and it’s based on building relationships and satisfying their demand with quality product. That has been and will continue to be our focus.”




1 September 2016

An aerial view of GM potatoes grown at the Teagasc National Centre for Arable Crop Research in Ireland

Objects of Desiree: The potato patches show the successful blight resistant GM crop alongside those not treated with fungicides, which succumbed to the disease

The not-so-humble potato attracting global interest They may look like any other field of crops, but in the land of the potato famine, Irish and Scottish research has combined to grow a ‘superspud’ that is exciting scientists By Kevin O’Sullivan From the air it looks much like any other field. Until you inspect the photograph a little more closely, when its patchwork nature becomes that little bit clearer. In a space not much bigger than a car park, scientists have been growing and studying over the course of the last four years crops of genetically-modified blight resistant potatoes. The 108 plots in the frame are located in Carlow, just over 50 miles to the south west of Dublin, and despite the ever-raging political debate over the public safety of GM technology, the EU-funded experimental work – undertaken by the Teagasc National Centre for Arable Crop Research – is in

its final phases. And the results, which are due to be published in a series of scientific journals later this year and early next, have been nothing short of astounding. When I speak to Dr Ewen Mullins, the scientist who has worked on the AMIGA project inside the grounds of the Oak Park facility, which consciously made the decision not to surround the otherwise innocuous-looking crops with high-security fencing, he is clear that the trials have been a resounding success. “They were absolutely resistant to late blight,” says Dr Mullins. “The project ended only a matter of weeks ago after four years and now, since then, we have about three to four months to get the data together. There’s a crazy amount of data.” He adds: “Certain GM crops in certain situations may have a benefit and what we wanted to look at in this project was could this late blight resistant potato withstand blight, and it did.” And you can see it clearly in the photograph with intermittent green (good) and brown (bad) patches of potatoes, indicating how successful the GM potatoes have been at resisting the pest compared to those not treated with fungicides, which just collapsed and died. To put these results in context for

“When you explain that with a conventional potato when people put their hand into a bag of chips, that it takes 15 sprays of fungicide to get that potato into the bag, they were horrified” Dr Ewen Mullins

Ireland, particularly, is almost beyond words. The mid-19th century potato famine still casts a long, dark shadow over the country, whose population was decimated by around a million people and still hasn’t fully recovered since. Potato famine, emigration, GM, as Dr Mullins puts it, neatly. The symbolism is all too apparent, and there has been much international attention on the work of the Teagasc team, especially in the US where many Irish migrated to escape the famine. “It’s a huge legacy and we’ve had a massive amount of interest from the US with editors of newspapers and journals coming over. They said it was the perfect story,” says Dr Mullins. “But what they weren’t anticipating was that we weren’t going to be like previous studies and say this GM line is the best one ever and everyone has to grow it. Even though they tried to put us into that box several times, we weren’t willing to do that because it was public research and it was about explaining to people what we are doing right now and what are the options.” Communicating science to the wider public in Ireland has been a central objective of the AMIGA project. Dr Mullins and his colleagues embarked

on 75 knowledge transfer engagement projects across Ireland, where they have attempted to get out and explain to people the pros and cons of not only GM science but also the existing farming methods behind potato production, which sees fields regularly sprayed with fungicides to keep blight at bay. “When you explained to people what happens with a conventional potato when they put their hand into a bag of chips on a Friday night, that it takes 15 sprays of fungicide to get that potato into the bag, they were horrified,” Dr Mullins says. “Most people would say, ‘Well, what are the options?’” It was against this backdrop that

GM work in Ireland progressed. Not only is there the cultural memory of the famine, but the fact that spraying crops is costing some farmers up to €50,000 a year, the carbon footprint of tractors going out is very large, the EU rules on the chemistries involved in fungicides are tightening, and late blight disease returned with a vengeance in recent years. However, the political climate, especially at European Union level, has stymied scientific progress. As it stands more than half of the 28 countries in the European Union, including Scotland, have decided to ban their farmers from growing genetically modified crops. Despite a notable backlash from some quarters of the scientific community last year, the Scottish Government is maintaining its position that it wants to “protect the food and drink sector’s international reputation by continuing our opt-out of the cultivation of genetically modified crops for the lifetime of the next Parliament”. This is despite, according to Dr Mullins, not one single shred of scientific evidence to suggest that embarking on such work would be detrimental to the environment or human health. “The thing is back in the early 2000s we didn’t know much about this technology and the decision was taken across the European level that we shouldn’t grow it until we know more about it,” he explains. “But now when you see the number of studies – tens and tens of studies and tens and tens of millions of euros spent to investigate


1 September 2016



factfile l The AMIGA (Assessing and Monitoring the Impacts of Genetically modified plants on Agroecosystems) project has 22 partners from research centres, universities and state agencies across 15 EU countries. l GM technology is a laboratory based technique that accelerates the breeding process. For example, it typically takes 14 years to breed a new variety using traditional practises; using GM technology a new variety could be generated in 18 weeks and ready for market in 3-4 years. l The GM methods used by scientists are ‘cisgenic’, meaning within the same gene pool, (e.g. from a wild potato to a commercial potato). This contrasts with the traditional understanding of GM, which is ‘transgenic’. In this case, genes are taken from one genus and transferred into any other (e.g. transferring a gene from a fish into a plant).

if there are any negative impacts, and not one study has identified a negative impact. “After that I think what you see at the European level is that it becomes more political science than biological science, unfortunately.” Although they have made no

public comment on the political issue, no doubt for obvious reasons given it is government funded, scientists at the James Hutton Institute in Invergowrie, outside Dundee, have made a significant contribution to the AMIGA proj-

ect. Despite not being able to physically put GM potatoes in Scottish soil, their data modelling work has been critical in understanding the potential impact on the wider agricultural environment of the genetically modified crop (in this case the GM Desiree variety developed originally at Wageningen University in the Netherlands). “Our work is small scale but the JHI work tells us what the impact will be on a region, which we could not deliver based on what we did here in Ireland,” says Dr Mullins. “The work done by JHI is the logi-

cal next step after the Teagasc work. Fortunately, Dr Geoff Squire and his team at the JHI were able to do it as part of AMIGA, which means when all the data is compiled and published we will have a much clearer picture of the single field impact [from Teagasc] and the regional impact [from JHI].” Whether or not Scotland does eventually change its position remains to be seen, but it currently looks unlikely. An added element to an already complicated European and UK-wide problem will be the political consequences of Brexit. As it stands England

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has already taken the step, like Ireland, to allow GM crops to be grown in the ground. If Scotland eventually chooses to exit the UK and is permitted to remain in the EU, there could be a scenario where there are border checks on lorry loads of potatoes. The same would apply, potentially, to the border between Ireland and Northern Ireland. “That’s obviously going to generate logistical issues,” adds Dr Mullins. “Hopefully common sense will prevail but many times common sense is uncommon.”

l The study carried out in Ireland found that although GM significantly improves resistance to late blight, it would still be recommended that farmers spray a reduced amount of fungicides as part of an ‘integrated pest management strategy’. However, resistance could be further improved by adding two, three or four genes to a crop.

When you’ve dedicated your life to your farm or estate, naturally you’ll want your legal team to understand rural issues. As the leaders in this area of law, we can help you with all legal aspects of land ownership and use, such as sale and purchase, leasing, dispute resolution, energy projects, succession and tax planning for families and businesses. Over the last 200 years, we’ve worked with many generations of families across Scotland to realise their ambitions. We’d like to help you realise yours. andersonstrathern.co.uk





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Profile for Canongate Communications

RuralScot September 2016  

September 2016 issue of RuralScot, reporting on the rural sector in Scotland.

RuralScot September 2016  

September 2016 issue of RuralScot, reporting on the rural sector in Scotland.


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