Land management recognised in the Climate Change Bill

General News

After months of work the Climate Change (Emissions Reduction Targets) (Scotland) Bill passed its stage 3 debate this week, and is on the way to receive Royal Assent.

Throughout the progress of the Bill SLE met with ministers, MSPs, civil servants and the Bill team to ensure the threat of sectoral targets was removed and that agriculture and land management was successfully recognised as part of the solution in pursuit of net-zero emissions.

We also worked closely with WWF to publish joint briefings to MSPs highlighting the need for better recognition of the benefits of land management and, to achieve more, the sector ultimately needs investment.

Through Sarah-Jane Laing’s, SLE Executive Director, seat in the Climate Emergency Response Group, SLE were able to influence the Programme for Government which included all 12 of the group’s recommendations, with several of their asks being taken up in the Bill.

Including the commitment to introduce an Agricultural Modernisation Fund which can focus on increasing efficiency and building resilience to climate change throughout the sector. This amendment missed out at Stage 2 but was successful at Stage 3.

Other SLE successes include;

National nitrogen balance sheet- a well-established technique for understanding how nitrogen flows through our environment across all sectors of the economy. This can be used to develop evidence-based and efficient policies to tackle hotspots of nitrogen losses, and calculate nitrogen use efficiency

Regional land use partnerships and frameworks- key for identifying land use priorities in partnership with landowners to bring multiple co-benefits, with targeted public spending to support delivery.

Whole farm action plans- increase understanding of where nutrient, energy, carbon and water flows in and out of farms, identifying savings and efficiencies which could benefit business as well as the environment.  

The next challenge will be the updated Climate Change Plan, we must continue in our efforts to ensure land management is invested in and rewarded for what it delivers.

Read our briefing send to MSPs ahead of the debate.