Urgent clear direction needed for land management

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Press Release

Critical decisions about the future of Scottish farming and land management must be taken now to prevent long-lasting negative consequences for the sector says Scottish Land & Estates (SLE), the rural business organisation.

In its new report, #Route2050 - A direction of travel for Scottish land management to 2050, published today (16 September), SLE explores what the priorities should be for land management in Scotland, particularly in the context of the climate change emergency and the uncertain future for rural Scotland outside of the EU. They are calling on the Scottish Government to introduce significant changes to policy to ensure a resilient, efficient and thriving rural sector. SLE suggests the priorities should be:

  • Enabling rural businesses to understand their carbon footprint and ways to reduce it
  • Increasing access to skills training and knowledge for improving efficiency
  • Access to capital and knowledge to improve productivity and resilience
  • Improving the use of data by government and business to target investment.

Sarah-Jane Laing, Executive Director of Scottish Land & Estates said: “The future of farming and wider land management in Scotland needs to have a clear direction. Rural businesses are already making significant efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and carbon levels, and we must continue to encourage that. Through planting forests, regenerating peatland and renewable energy projects, the sector can play a crucial role in carbon capture and storage and reducing emissions. New policy relating to the climate change emergency must recognise this.

“After nearly 50 years of being tied to the Common Agricultural Policy, the Scottish Government now has the opportunity to create new policy which rewards and invests in farming and wider land management, tailored to Scotland’s requirements. Action needs to be taken now to prevent long-lasting negative consequences for the sector.

“Our #Route2050 report isn’t a rigid plan of how things should be done. Instead it is intended to spark debate and conversation, and to focus our thinking on how we can create the right conditions for rural Scotland. It is only by farmers, land managers, the government, environmental organisations and wider society working together, that we can create a plan for the future of land management that is realistic, workable and helps Scotland lead the way to being net-zero carbon neutral. This will help ensure a resilient, efficient and thriving rural sector.” 

The report contains two case studies of excellent land management already taking place by Scottish Land & Estate members: Rottal Estate in the Angus Glens and Sweethope Farm in the Scottish Borders. More case studies of excellent land management recognised by our Helping it Happen Awards are available on our website. 

The #Route2050 – A direction of travel for Scottish land management to 2050 report can be found on the SLE website.