Publication - Research and analysis

Consultation Analysis: Getting the Best from Our Land – A Draft Land Use Strategy for Scotland 2016-2021

Published: 23 Mar 2016

This report analyses the written responses received to the consultation on the draft Land Use Strategy for Scotland 2016 to 2021.

Consultation Analysis: Getting the Best from Our Land – A Draft Land Use Strategy for Scotland 2016-2021
1. Introduction

1. Introduction

About this report

1.1 This report provides an analysis of responses to the Scottish Government consultation on its draft Land Use Strategy (LUS) 2016-2021[1]. A total of 166 responses were received to the consultation.


1.2 Scotland's first LUS[2] was published by the Scottish Government in 2011. The Strategy was seen as the first stage in a process of change. It provided a focal point for consideration and agreement about what the land can deliver for Scotland as an economy and as a nation. It noted that Scotland's land resource is finite and, in some cases, fragile.

1.3 In launching the Strategy, the Cabinet Secretary said that he believed that this was the first Strategy of its kind in Europe and highlighted the importance of thinking for the long term and for future generations. Since the launch of the Strategy, much has been learned - in part through two regional land use pilot projects (in Aberdeenshire and Scottish Borders) and the Scottish Government's strategic research programme. The Scottish Government has published annual progress reports which set out the progress against the agreed LUS Action Plan which was published in December 2011. These show that considerable progress that has been made during the life of the initial Strategy[3].

1.4 The Climate Change (Scotland) Act 2009 requires that a revised Strategy must be laid before the Scottish Parliament no later than five years after the publication of the initial Strategy (and at five year intervals thereafter). In preparation for the revised Strategy, stakeholders' views were sought through a series of nine discussion events in different parts of the country during 2014. A workshop on the next LUS was also held at the inaugural Scottish Rural Parliament in 2014 to allow participants to share their views on key aspects of future land use in Scotland.

1.5 The Scottish Government published a consultation on a draft revised LUS in November 2016. Based on the experience of the initial Strategy, the revised Strategy retains the direction of travel of the initial Strategy, including the Vision, Objectives and Principles. This is because there was evidence of extensive support for these among stakeholders. They were also widely accepted as fit for purpose.

1.6 The draft Strategy set out an integrated suite of policies and proposals that were intended to have an impact across a wide range of land use sectors. These were grouped under the following themes:

  • Policy Context - Policies and proposals which provide further clarity on current Scottish Government policy and reinforce and ensure consistent messages.
  • Informed Decision Making - Policies and proposals which underpin decision making with improved data, increased accessibility and wider empowerment of communities and stakeholders in decision making.
  • Applying the Principles - Policies and proposals which apply the LUS Principles on the ground, either as specific projects or in ways which influence direct change on the ground.

1.7 The consultation paper included 19 closed and 26 open questions covering the key elements of the draft Strategy. Annex one of this report contains a list of the consultation questions.

Analysis methodology

1.8 The Scottish Government received and organised all consultation responses - either through the online consultation platform, by email or post. All responses were transferred securely to us (Research Scotland) for analysis.

1.9 We ensured that all responses were input into the online consultation platform, and downloaded these to Excel - in order to analyse quantitative (yes/no/don't know) responses and qualitative (open-ended) responses. A total of 28 non-standard responses were received, which did not follow the consultation structure. These responses were carefully read and comments, whether quantitative and/ or qualitative, were input against the relevant consultation questions. Comments which did not appear to fit with any other relevant question were analysed under Question 18 which asked respondents for any other points about the draft LUS.

1.10 We agreed respondent categories with the Scottish Government, so that we could analyse trends and differences between different types of respondent. These were largely based on the categories contained within the Respondent Information Form which respondents to the consultation completed. We undertook quantitative analysis using Excel in order to produce a table for each quantitative question, highlighting overall responses and a breakdown by respondent category. We have included tables for each quantitative (closed) question throughout the report.

1.11 Within the Respondent Information Form, respondents also indicated which of ten 'areas of interest' (farming, general land management, local community, forestry, deer and game management, recreation and tourism, environment, biodiversity, education, cultural) they identified with. Respondents were asked to identify up to three, which most did. However, some did not identify any areas of interest, and some identified up to ten areas of interest. We used this information to undertake additional analysis to review any differences or trends in relation to responses to the quantitative responses, by areas of interest. Where there were differences or trends, these are highlighted in the text.

1.12 We analysed qualitative (open) responses using a process of manual thematic coding. This involves reviewing the open responses and manually coding the themes identified by each respondent. The qualitative analysis process enabled us to extract the main themes from each question which allowed the range of views to be presented across all responses and trends among respondent groups to be highlighted. All responses have been presented anonymously, with none of the organisations named in relation to their response. Where relevant to the response, we have highlighted a respondent's key area of interest.

1.13 We used a consistent scale to describe the number of respondents making similar points. Where less than five respondents made a similar point we used the term 'a few'. 'Some' is used for six to ten respondents, and 'many' is used for 11 to 20 respondents. Where more than 20 respondents made a similar point, we used the term 'a large number'.

Profile of respondents

1.14 A total of 166 responses were received to the consultation. This included 54 individual respondents and 112 organisational respondents.

1.15 There were no campaign responses. However, five third sector respondents endorsed the response from Scottish Enviornment LINK - as well as providing their own organisational response (which was worded differently, but often expressed the same points in relation to key questions).

1.16 We worked with the Scottish Government to agree nine broad respondent categories.

Respondent category






Third sector (woodland and environment)



Third sector (other)



Public sector (national or local government)



Other public sector



Representative or professional body



Private sector



Academic or research body









1.17 Respondents were allocated to the most appropriate respondent category based on the information provided on their Respondent Information Form (RIF). One additional respondent category was added, as a quarter of responses were received from third sector organisations. This large group was divided into two distinct categories for analysis - 'third sector (woodland and environment)' and 'third sector (other)'.

1.18 Of the 166 responses, 151 gave permission for their response to be published by the Scottish Government. These full responses can also be viewed here: Annex two of this report is a list of organisational respondents that gave permission for their response to be published.


Email: Sally Thomas