March 23, 2016
Today marks the last day of the current Scottish Parliament, and as Ministers prepare to step down as Ministers, there’s been the usual flurry of (orderly) activity as they sign off on all manner of papers, proposals and plans. A few of particular note to bring to your attention. The Scottish Government has published consultations on three key elements of the Community Empowerment Act – asset transfer, community right to buy and participation requests. And yesterday the second Land Use Strategy – Getting The Best From Our Land – was launched.
Our land is our biggest asset and the Scottish Government has set out how best to meet its potential for effective, economic and environmentally sustainable use. The revised Land Use Strategy sets out policies and proposals for the next five years and beyond, ensuring that communities are fully engaged.
‘Getting the best from our land’ is Scotland’s second land use strategy and comes at a time when focus on the way we use land is stronger than ever. The recently passed Land Reform (Scotland) Bill and Community Empowerment (Scotland) Act have paved the way for this revised strategy, which sets out the importance of:
• Management of natural resources with an ecosystems approach to land use
• Partnership activity to bring a range of interests together to consider land use at a local level in both rural and urban areas
• Developing and implementing activities to promote climate friendly farming and crofting
• The relationship between ownership, use and management of land
• Continuing to explore the potential of catchment based approaches for managing land
A wide ranging public consultation highlighted an appetite for establishing a strategic vision for Scotland’s uplands and setting up an urban pilot project for the first time to explore community engagement with land use. These are two of the key actions highlighted in the strategy.
Minister for Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform Dr Aileen McLeod said:
“Land is a fundamental resource for the nation and we all benefit from a more integrated and strategic approach to land management. Land use is crucial to our economic prosperity as well as how we mitigate and adapt to climate change. With such a precious asset, it is hugely important for us to balance the growing demands on our land and make informed decisions about the way it is managed – Scotland’s revised land use strategy provides the best framework for this.
“New legislation – the Land Reform (Scotland) Bill and the Community Empowerment (Scotland) Act 2015 – demonstrate the dynamic nature of the debate on land in Scotland. Our new Land Use Strategy, ‘Getting the best from our land’, represents a bold and ambitious programme and I look forward to seeing its positive impact on land use in Scotland over the coming years.”