The Scottish Government has published its first draft land use strategy for Scotland. Getting the Best from our Land is a draft consultation document, in which the Scottish Government has set out its vision for the use of the 96% of Scotland's land mass which is not urban.

The document is very much high-level in its thinking. There are no specific proposals: instead there are a number of strategic policy propositions and concepts explored within the document, and available for feedback and discussion.

The three primary objectives of the consultation focus on:

  • Land-based businesses and how their success can contribute to prosperity and wellbeing;
  • Making the most of our natural heritage and environment to deliver a wide range of benefits to Scotland, and to global climate change objectives; and
  • Reconnecting urban and rural Scotland, creating and maintaining vibrant communities with an interest in the future of Scotland's land.

Production of a land use strategy is an obligation on the Scottish Government under section 57 of the Climate Change (Scotland) Act 2009. However, it is very encouraging to see that the Scottish Government has accepted this obligation as a challenge and as an opportunity. They are taking a clear and decisive lead. In setting out more detail on the key objectives, the paper focuses on benefits, on the need for improvements to regulation, and sets out suggested actions for the Scottish Government in the period 2011-2016.

Consultation responses are invited by 30 November 2010, with details of the consultation questions and how to respond being contained in the consultation document which you can find HERE.

This consultation should be of interest to a wide range of people, businesses and bodies, including:

  • Those with an interest in the low carbon economy (including wind farm developers, the biomass industry, etc.)
  • Owners of rural land and landed estates
  • Land managers
  • The agricultural and forestry sectors
  • Those with an interest in strategic rural land use and planning
  • Those with an interest in the natural environment, whether for conservation or as a place for recreation
  • The extraction industries
  • Community groups.