Sustainable and integrated farming and crofting activity in the hills and uplands of Scotland: blueprint - report

Report from the Hill, Upland and Crofting Climate Change Group, one of the farmer-led groups established to develop advice and proposals for the Scottish Government. It focusses on how to cut emissions and tackle climate change, something that was re-emphasised in the updated Climate Change Plan.

2. Terms of reference


The Scottish Government has committed to take action on climate change with legally binding targets to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. It also has committed to contributing towards biodiversity targets. It is important that agricultural businesses are committed to, and supported where necessary, to improve their environmental performance, whilst continuing to produce quality food for the Scottish Food and Drink sector for domestic consumption as well as for export.

This Group will consider practical measures which will help the hill, upland and crofting sectors reduce greenhouse gas emissions through:

  • improving efficiency, productivity and profitability of livestock and crops produced
  • enhancing environmental benefits delivered by the sectors through identification of practical ways in which net greenhouse gas emissions can be reduced and biodiversity enhanced
  • enhancing the sectors' contributions to wider sustainable land use, including the consideration of other productive or environmental opportunities (e.g. woodland expansion, peatland restoration, deer management, sporting management or considering approaches to creating more sustainable, localised/regionalised supply chains).

The group should consider the financial implications and deliverability of its proposals and consider the timespan over which any proposals should be implemented. In particular the Group should consider future arrangements for support for the Less Favoured Area. The Group may also consider how best to link future support to activity to ensure agricultural support in future is accessible to owner occupiers, tenants and landless keepers.

The group should consult widely taking advice from specialists and academics where necessary, as well as consulting with SG policy teams in relation to deliverability and complexity of measures proposed.

The group will focus on practical measures which can be implemented at croft, common grazing, farm and estate levels to reduce emissions. These should build on existing regulatory requirements and accepted good industry practice, and be compatible with profitability and biodiversity targets.


The Group will develop proposals for the sector taking account of improvements focussed on:

  • sustainable livestock management
  • carbon audits and actions
  • impacts on running costs
  • biodiversity
  • soil improvement and health, especially peatland management
  • woodland expansion
  • energy use
  • interaction with deer and sporting management
  • potential for capital investment improvements
  • deliverability and monitoring of measures
  • supply chain improvements encouraging producer groups with the potential to improve market development
  • Farm Assurance

The Group may also offer advice regards the costs of the necessary actions and how these might be met, with an estimate of the budgetary implications of any measures that might be introduced.

Group will provide a report to Scottish Ministers in Spring 2021 setting out its conclusions to feed into the Scottish Government's Climate Change Plan 2018-30 Update. The report should focus on how to reduce greenhouse gas emissions within the sector and recommendations on what will be required to deliver that.

Chair, Secretariat, Membership and Ways of Working

Group will be chaired by Martin Kennedy and Joyce Campbell and the Group's Secretariat will be provided by SASA/Scottish Government and potentially SEFARI.

The Group will include female and male representatives from across the sector.

All members of the Group will be required to register their interests at the first meeting.

The group members are:

  • Andrew Barbour
  • Eion Brown
  • Iona Cameron
  • Jen Craig
  • Jamie Leslie
  • Ross Lilley
  • Lorraine Luescher
  • Anson MacAuslan
  • Mairi Mackenzie
  • Donald Mackinnon
  • Anne Maclellan
  • Angus McFadyen
  • Finlay McIntyre
  • Pamela Nicol
  • Kelvin Pate
  • Kate Rowell
  • Steven Sandison
  • Claire Simonetta
  • Steven Thomson
  • Fergus Wood


  • Kirsten Beddows
  • Michael O'Neill
  • Julie Brown

The Group will take an evidence-based approach to its work; can co-opt the support of academics, industry bodies or others to aid its deliberations and will acknowledge the work of others, where appropriate.

While members are drawn from a range of interests and expertise from across the sector, their involvement is based on their experiences and views rather than representing the views of their organisations. Members will share relevant industry and/or skills related knowledge/expertise as appropriate and be expected to lead on specific actions where appropriate. In order to be transparent in taking forward work, membership and declared interests will be a matter of public record.

The Scottish Government will provide a secretariat to the meetings. While the group's discussions will be summarised and publicly available to ensure transparency, specific content will not be attributed to individual participants.

If a member has any conflict of interest on any matter and is present at a meeting at which the matter is the subject of consideration, the member should prior to any consideration of the matter, disclose the interest and the general nature thereof.



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