Five key points about Regional Land Use Partnerships

Stephen Young ,
14 Aug 2020

In our latest blog, Stephen Young, Head of Policy at Scottish Land & Estates, discusses five key points of Regional Land Use Partnerships (RLUPs).

In 2019 the Scottish Government committed to establishing RLUPs by 2021. The Scottish Land Commission (SLC) is now scoping how these will work following pilots in Aberdeenshire and the Borders. Recommendations from SLC will be made to the government in August 2020 with a view to implementation of regional land use frameworks prepared by 2023.

As part of this process we have been involved in providing ideas and feedback to the SLC. We are very supportive of RLUPs and they formed part of our discussion paper on the future of land management in Scotland - #Route2050. RLUPs can be at the heart of integrated land management practices in guiding the right activity in the right place at the right time.

We believe there are five key points that the SLC should consider:

  1. RLUPs can be an excellent channel and admin centre for public funding to incentives land management choices in each region, however the ultimate decision must be in the hands of the land manager who will have individual commercial needs.
  2. RLUPs can be a conduit to co-ordinate private funding for natural capital projects, however they should stop short of handling the money due to contractual and administrative complexity.
  3. The partnerships should play an advisory role and not require a statutory footing which could cause issues later. This will ensure there is no need for dispute resolution and appeals as the ultimate decision rests with the land manager.
  4. The makeup of the regional partnerships must include individuals with experience of land management representative of those in the region.
  5. The geographical makeup of the region needs to be defined so there is an affinity and natural boundaries rather than administrative boundaries, although these would simplify in the first instance.

You can view our full response here.

SLC has published an interim report following feedback on RLUPs, and are now looking for feedback from individuals. There is a tight timescale for this, and the survey needs to be completed by Monday 17 August 2020.  The survey can be found here.

You can read our discussion paper #Route2050 – a direction of travel for land management in Scotland to 2050 here.