The publication of our Land Use Strategy earlier this year provided a Government statement on land use policy across Scotland. It signalled a shift in our thinking and our approach to land use in terms of delivering multiple benefits, working in partnership with nature and linking people more closely with the land. This Action Plan sets out how we will deliver the thirteen proposals in the Strategy and highlights our key tasks during the 5 year life of the Strategy. In this Action Plan we have brought together for the first time an integrated set of commitments from across the spectrum of Government policy, all contributing to our long term policy agenda on land use. These commitments are set in the context of our agenda for growth and in the refreshed Government Economic Strategy.
The Action Plan refers to the wider delivery of the Strategy's objectives through the application of the Principles for Sustainable Land Use to all significant decisions about the use of land. The Principles hold the key to sustainable land use. They bring together for the first time in a single statement the Government's policy on land use. They show our commitment to the integration of our thinking, our policy making and our actions.
Some of our stakeholders have argued for a new delivery or decision-making mechanism for land use. We will evaluate the effectiveness of current processes at translating the Principles in the Strategy into decision-making on the ground. In practice, we believe that we have the correct tools in place, each suited to particular locations or circumstances, but we recognise the need to test our assumptions. This evaluation will be a significant body of work and will inform our thinking when we begin to prepare the next Land Use Strategy as required by the Climate Change Act.
We are also committed to the publication of an annual progress statement. This will provide an opportunity to identify any significant updates that might be required to the Action Plan.
Scottish Government will lead jointly with our SEARS partners and others on the specific commitments in this Plan. However, the wider delivery of sustainable land use and the achievement of our objectives requires broad partnership working at all levels, whether integrated policy development by Government or integrated management on the ground by land managers. If we are to succeed, it is essential that all parties work together effectively to build mutual understanding and to maximise the opportunities that this closer working will bring. At a time when resources are limited it is essential that we take every opportunity to learn from each other and to optimise the contribution that our land resources can make to Scotland's prosperity.
Richard Lochhead MSP, Cabinet Secretary
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