Collaboration between communities, landowners and government can deliver on climate change

Press Release

Recognition that there needs to be positive collaboration between landowners, communities and government to achieve action on climate change is welcome, Scottish Land & Estates said today.

The rural business organisation has responded to a statement on the Interim Principles for Responsible Investment in Natural Capital by Minister for Environment and Land Reform, Mairi McAllan.

The Scottish Government has set out six principles for investment which include delivery of public, private and community benefit, integrated land use and support for diverse and productive land ownership.

In her speech, Ms McAllan noted that the investment gap for nature restoration in Scotland was estimated to be around £20 billion over the next decade – a gap which would require funding from private institutions.

Scottish Land & Estates said it was vital this opportunity was grasped to work together and agreed the focus should be on land use rather than a debate regarding who owned what.

Sarah-Jane Laing, chief executive of Scottish Land & Estates, said:

“We welcome the recognition by the Scottish Government that if we are to use land to tackle the climate emergency, it requires a real team effort by all parties to collaborate and improve our environment.

“The six investment principles set out by government are high level but there are many aspects that rural businesses will readily agree with. For example, we have been vocal in the need for Scotland to achieve integrated land use that can deliver multiple benefits including food production and carbon sequestration side-by-side rather than land uses being pitted against one another.

“Whilst there is continuing debate around ‘green lairds’ and the need for further land reform, the statement makes clear that £20billion of private investment will be required over the next decade. We need to welcome this investment and ensure that landowners of all shapes and sizes, including communities, family farms, charities, government, quangos and local authorities, can play their part in delivering the benefits on the ground.

“There is a real opportunity to provide not only environmental gain but also economic and social value through new career and job opportunities which will help sustain our rural communities.”