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Chamber and committees

Question reference: S5W-35277

  • Asked by: Rhoda Grant, MSP for Highlands and Islands, Scottish Labour
  • Date lodged: 17 February 2021
  • Current status: Answered by Roseanna Cunningham on 24 February 2021


To ask the Scottish Government whether it considers that ensuring that communities benefit from public expenditure on land management practises and land uses that (a) contributes to climate heating mitigation and adaptation and (b) secures the local retention of income, is a core part of ensuring a just transition to net zero carbon emissions.


Local communities have a vital role in the management of Scotland’s land and natural capital, both in our response to the climate crisis, and in supporting a green recovery from COVID-19. Land use change at the required scale will provide green economic and employment opportunities, help to address rural depopulation and provide social benefits to communities across Scotland. This will help secure a just transition to a sustainable and low carbon future.

The Scottish Government recently announced five Regional Land Use Partnerships pilot areas across Scotland to help national and local government, communities, land owners and stakeholders work together to find ways to optimise land use in a fair and inclusive way – meeting local and national objectives and supporting the journey to net zero

Peatland restoration can make a direct and meaningful contribution to achieving a Just Transition to net zero. It is a key nature based solution to the twin challenges of the climate emergency and loss of biodiversity and is a labour intensive process with the potential to support hundreds of direct and ancillary jobs in communities across rural Scotland.

On forestry, we are developing and enhancing opportunities for individuals, families and communities to make use of woodlands on public and private land, leading to benefits for local economies, health and wellbeing and engage with proposals for woodland creation and management of existing forests. Forest and Land Scotland is supporting community schemes through its Community Asset Transfer Scheme; for example, the Inverarish Hydro Scheme on Raasay to provide income and renewable energy for the community.

We are taking a co-development approach to agriculture, working with farmers, crofters and land managers to identify practical ways they can play their part in cutting emissions, addressing climate change and delivering wider biodiversity and environmental benefits. We will work with the sector to ensure farmers crofters and land managers as well as the wider rural and island communities share the benefits that come from the opportunities arising from land use change.