In 2011 we published Scotland's first Land Use Strategy. We were optimistic about its potential impact and hopeful that stakeholders would begin to embrace the direction of travel. The past five years have exceeded our expectations in terms of just how much we have achieved and the strength of support for our policies. Not only have we delivered against the proposals set out in the first Land Use Strategy, we have initiated and completed two highly successful land use pilot projects and our work has been showcased across the UK and in Europe.
The last five years have also seen the Scottish Parliament further develop the policy framework around land use. The Community Empowerment (Scotland) Act 2015 and the Land Reform (Scotland) Bill build on the Objectives and Principles within the Land Use Strategy. Together they will put communities at the heart of decision making and result in real improvements in how land in Scotland is owned, used and managed.
It is now time to take account of these changes, consolidate our efforts and move forward into the next phase with this revised Land Use Strategy for the period 2016-2021. The recent consultation on the draft Strategy showed extensive support for the policies and proposals put forward and widespread enthusiasm for delivery. This strategy sets out our priorities for delivery including new and refreshed areas of policy such as the Land Rights and Responsibilities Statement, which will include consideration of land ownership, use and management, and a refresh of the Scottish Forestry Strategy. We highlight areas for detailed technical work such as the new regional land use partnerships and frameworks, and we recognise the need for change on the ground, particularly as climate change issues become more pressing and the need to adapt our land management practices becomes more urgent.
We have set out a bold and ambitious programme for the next five years and I look forward to working in partnership with stakeholders to deliver our ambitions.
Dr Aileen McLeod
Minister for Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform
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