Land use key to helping achieve Scotland’s climate change targets

General News

Building the best future for Scotland’s environment and tackling climate change is achieved through ambitious land use - rather than ownership being the deciding factor.

Following publication of a new report by Community Land Scotland on the role played by community landowners in tackling the climate emergency, Scottish Land & Estates congratulated CLS members for their successes whilst highlighting the progressive approach of private owners.

Dee Ward, Vice-Chair (Policy) of SLE and owner of Rottal Estate, said:

“The contribution of community landowners in tackling the climate emergency is to be applauded. Across Scotland, there is a grasp of the work we all need to do to cut carbon emissions and how this can be achieved through new tree planting, peatland restoration, improving soil quality and the provision of clean energy.

“Real effort is often required to make such schemes a reality, however, and it is great that community landowners are playing a role in making this happen.

“Yet, we should not lose sight of the fact that ownership is not the key to this success. Public, charity, community and private owners are all working hard to assist in helping the Scottish Government meet its climate change targets – how we use the land for maximum benefit is what is most important.

“In the year to March 2020, 10,860 hectares of new woodland were planted in Scotland - nearly 22 million trees. The majority of this planting took place on land owned privately.

“Similarly, over the past decade we have seen more than 25,000 hectares of peatland on the road to restoration. With the support of PeatlandACTION, restoration has taken place on swathes of private owned estates and farms across Scotland, all of whom are determined to play their part in locking up carbon from our atmosphere.

“Private landownership is a force for good in our environment.”

Dee also pointed to other initiatives such as Wildlife Estates Scotland which is making a difference in supporting conservation and biodiversity.

Dee continued: “Appropriate land use is key to all that we do. We want to drive down emissions, enhance biodiversity and protect wildlife whilst ensuring we can sustain jobs and economic activity.

“Schemes such as Wildlife Estates Scotland demonstrates what landowners of all sizes and types are doing to support the environment. 

“More than 1.25million acres of land has achieved gold standard for best practice through WES and this is providing tangible conservation results on the ground. This would not have happened without a firm commitment from owners and their willingness to undertake this work, often at considerable private expense, is commendable.”