1. Executive Summary
This document analyses the responses to the stakeholder consultation on Establishing a Scottish Nitrogen Balance Sheet (SNBS). The consultation opened on 1 December 2020 and closed on 14 January 2020. The consultation document is available online at the Scottish Government's consultation hub.
A total of 27 responses were received, of which 19 were from groups or organisations and 8 from individuals. The form of responses varied, with some respondents commenting in detail on all questions while others mainly answered the quantitative questions (e.g. to what level they agree with the approaches to the SNBS proposed by the Scottish Government).
Across all of the consultation questions, there was a high level of support for the approaches proposed by the Scottish Government. At least 25 of the 26 responses to each of the quantitative questions (96%) supported (either fully or partially) the approaches proposed.
Some of the key themes emerging within the qualitative elements of the responses were:
- Wide support for the SNBS being as comprehensive as possible in terms of its coverage and level of detail for all sectors of the economy and the environment.
- Wide support for the SNBS being fully integrated with other policy frameworks and strategies.
- Wide support for the SNBS being extended beyond the national scale to a range of more detailed spatial scales, but also some concerns about data availability and potential burdens associated with any new data collections.
- Support from most respondents for the setting of targets for improving nitrogen use efficiency based on the SNBS once the evidence base is sufficiently established to allow for this to be done robustly. Mixed views on the appropriate scale(s) for such targets, with suggestions including national, regional and farm-scale.
- Support from most respondents for the SNBS being updated on an annual basis, but also some concerns that this frequency might only be appropriate for the headline figures.
- Wide support for the outputs associated with the SNBS being made as accessible as possible, subject to this not compromising technical robustness. There were a wide range of specific suggestions for the content and style of the proposed factsheets and other ways of communicating the SNBS.
- Many respondents suggested a range of wider actions for reducing nitrogen losses and improving NUE, such as increased awareness raising on nitrogen and the provision of advisory and other forms of support.
- Several respondent organisations made positive offers of collaborative working around the ongoing design and future implementation of the SNBS.
The remainder of the report sets out more detailed analysis of the responses to each of the questions in turn.