Land use role in climate change

While recognising the role land use will play in tackling the climate change and biodiversity crises, the Scottish government’s new Land Use Strategy document fails to grasp the role in ‘sustainable’ land use played by active farming and food production.

Responding the publication which sets out Scottish Government’s long term vision for sustainable land use, NFU Scotland yesterday said that sustainable land use must embrace economic activity as well as environmental and social outcomes

The union’s director of policy, Jonnie Hall said that it made sense to have a clear strategy to ensure the best was gleaned from the land for generations to come while addressing today’s challenges - and stated that farmers and crofters were committed to playing their part:

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“Integrated land use will play an important role in responding to climate and biodiversity crises, but it is equally vital to ensure that future policy decisions relating to land use allow Scottish farmers and crofters to continue producing high quality, local food and deliver the multiple benefits that Scotland’s varied landscapes yield from active farming.”

However he expressed concerns that active land management was viewed as secondary to environmental and social priorities – an imbalance which could undermine the goal of sustainable land use.

“A major emphasis in the Strategy is on woodland expansion and peatland restoration as central planks in tackling climate change” said Hall.

“While part of solution, these must not result in more efficient and sustainable agriculture being marginalised, undermining economic activity in rural areas.”