NFU Scotland has urged the importance of agriculture to be recognised in plans for land management in Scotland.
The call comes after the Scottish Land Commission (SLC) published an interim report on Regional Land Use Partnerships (RLUPs) – available at: https://landcommission.gov.scot/news-events/news-blog/regional-land-use-partnerships-interim-report
There is a strong level of ambition amongst Scottish Government and stakeholders for the establishment of RLUPs to be part of a wider step change that looks at future land use in Scotland and public interest in that.
SLC will produce a final report for Scottish Ministers in September. NFUS will consult again with its members before making a further submission to the Commission.
NFU Scotland President Andrew McCornick said: “Regional Land Use Partnerships present a significant opportunity to be more strategic about land use in Scotland.
“That said, their creation must recognise that agriculture, in its many forms, is the primary land use and practical farmers must be formally represented on these partnerships. Only then can farmers be assured that the way they run their businesses and manage the land will be a key part of the discussions.
“The principle that RLUPs must empower decision making at a local level is to be welcomed, as is the potential for those local partnerships to draw in private finance to drive changes with investment around land use.
“We would have concerns if RLUPs were to be drawn around local authorities as this approach makes no recognition of the wide variation of land type that can be found in a local authority area. RLUPs should be at scale that reflects land use, rather than administrative boundaries, to better target action and funding to secure the many benefits we want from Scotland’s land assets.
“When it comes to priorities, there is also the huge challenge of balancing local aspirations with national targets within any RLUP.”