BANK OF Scotland is calling on farmers and rural businesses to take advantage of its new £2billion fund for investments in a 'lower carbon future'.

The Clean Growth Financing Initiative for Agriculture offers rural businesses favourable loan terms to fund projects and invest in technology that lowers their impact on the environment.

The scheme’s eligibility criteria are specific to agriculture. New conditions just announced will also mean projects that would qualify for government agri-environment schemes, such as the Countryside Stewardship Fund, Glastir and the Rural Stewardship Fund, will meet the requirements.

CGFI Agriculture is part of Lloyds Banking Group’s wider £3bn ‘green’ lending commitment to help Britain prosper, by offering the most inclusive green funding in the market.

Projects that will qualify under the scheme include adding infrastructure such as reservoirs to improve water management, investing in more efficient machinery and introducing technology to improve recycling rates. All aspects of sustainable forestry, including planting, are also now eligible.

Any application approved under CGFI Agriculture will be given a 0% arrangement fee on term loans, or carry a discount on the interest rate for asset finance.

BOS Area director for agriculture, Sandy Hay, said: “As stewards of the countryside, agricultural businesses are already invested in the environment, which is why CGFI Agriculture will align with many business growth plans. A wider scheme is open to all businesses, but eligibility criteria specific to agriculture have been created, making the approval conditions more relevant for farmers and rural businesses.

“When considering any investment, a business needs to think about how it supports growth ambitions, mitigates risk or reduces cost. By taking meaningful steps to protect its natural capital, a business can satisfy those objectives. It will also become more resilient, more efficient and help safeguard its future."