Scottish Land & Estates has said that building positive relationships with land managers is key to Scotland’s future land use.
Submitting views today on the Scottish Government’s consultation on an updated Land Use Strategy, Scottish Land & Estates has emphasised the need to build bridges with land managers rather than government and managers – and public and private interests - being at loggerheads.
Scottish Land & Estates Chairman, David Johnstone, said: “The Land Use Strategy could be a good thing. Our members are crying out for a more strategic and joined up approach to land use. But a great deal depends on how it is taken forward. The Land Use Strategy could be taken forward in a way that brings people together to work to achieve positive land use or it could be taken forward in a way that alienates land managers.
“A great deal more will be achieved if the government works with land managers rather than against them and so we would urge the Scottish Government to take the Land Use Strategy forward with great sensitivity and in a way that acknowledges the legitimate interests of land managers and their land-based businesses.”
Head of Policy, Andrew Midgley added, “The Scottish Government should recognise the value of those who live and work on the land as delivery partners and should acknowledge that a great many public benefits are already delivered by private land managers.
“Scottish Land & Estates believes that land managers are perfectly willing to engage with others on a range of issues but recognises that land use can raise passions on all sides so emphasises that great care is needed to bring all the different interests together in a constructive way.
“We also believe that land managers could deliver against a wider set of agendas but emphasise that any way forward has to recognise the practical realities of managing the land from the perspective of the land manager. For progress to be made, land managers on the ground need to have realistic and practical management options and so translating the aspirations of the Land Use Strategy into reality will depend on making it relevant to today’s land managers and their businesses.
“Our headline message to Scottish Government is that the Land Use Strategy could be a real opportunity to address land use issues in a constructive way, but everything depends on how the government chooses to take it forward. We urge them to work with landowners, farmers and other land managers, rather than against them.”