Land use partnerships should be established in next four years, says Scottish Land Commission
The Scottish Government should establish between 12 and 15 regional land use partnerships by 2023-24 to help tackle climate change, the Scottish Land Commission (SLC) has said.
In its report to government, the SLC recommended the first partnerships should be established next year to test approaches and operational options.
By the time of the next Climate Change Plan in 2023-24, these partnerships should cover the entirety of Scotland and be backed by land use frameworks to support regional economic and spatial planning, it advised.
The SLC also said the partnerships would help the economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic by building regional resilience.
Chief executive Hamish Trench said: “Scotland’s net zero climate targets depend on land use. On top of that now is the need to ensure Scotland’s post-COVID economic recovery is inclusive and that we make the most of our land, for the benefit of everyone.
“It is now even more important that the partnerships should strengthen the way land use supports regional economic resilience, economic recovery and renewal.
“The proposed partnerships represent significant opportunity to increase momentum and deliver change at the pace and scale needed to meet these challenges.”
The advice to ministers also recommended prioritising public funding to meet land use objectives, with each partnership to be overseen by an appointed board to be held accountable.
Regional land use partnerships were first proposed in the 2016 land use strategy as a way of engaging more people in decisions about the places around them.
Land Reform Secretary Roseanna Cunningham said: “The development of regional land use partnerships presents a real opportunity to deliver land use change.
“It is important that government, landowners, stakeholders and local communities work together to ensure a fair and inclusive approach to these partnerships, making sure they meet local priorities whilst also supporting our national endeavour to end Scotland’s contribution to climate change.
“We will now take forward work to build on the SLC advice and hope to announce the pilot areas in the near future.”