Publication - Research and analysis

Land Use Strategy (LUS) Delivery Evaluation Project - Volume 1: Main Report

Published: 22 May 2014
Part of:
Research
ISBN:
9781784124816

This report provides the fundings of the Land Use Strategy Delivery Evaluation Project undertaken in Scotland between 2012 and 2014. It evaluates eleven case study land use delivery mechanisms to ascertain their effectiveness in translating the strategic Principles of the LUS into decision-making on the ground.

131 page PDF

3.9 MB

131 page PDF

3.9 MB

Contents
Land Use Strategy (LUS) Delivery Evaluation Project - Volume 1: Main Report
1 Introduction

131 page PDF

3.9 MB

1 Introduction

Aims and objectives of the LUS Delivery Evaluation Project

1.1 The Scottish Government has set the overall aim of this project to undertake the Land Use Strategy (LUS) delivery evaluation as: "to evaluate the range of current land use delivery mechanisms, to ascertain their effectiveness in translating the strategic Principles of the Land Use Strategy into decision-making on the ground".

1.2 The objectives are:

  • To assess each process/approach in terms of how well it is able (implicitly or explicitly) to translate the high level LUS objectives into decision making on the ground
  • To identify where and how the Principles of the LUS are successfully being applied; to investigate why methods are working well and identify successful aspects which might be applied more generally across Scotland in a range of different circumstances
  • To identify any barriers to the application of the LUS Principles, why this is the case and what lessons can be learned for more general application across Scotland
  • To use the evidence gathered across the range of projects to highlight emerging themes on how best to apply the Principles for Sustainable Land Use to different circumstances and processes across Scotland. Where possible this should focus on messages that will be useful in specific circumstances, and for a range of groups of decision makers and stakeholders

1.3 Early on in the project the research team used the above aims and objectives for the evaluation as a starting point from which research questions for the project were formulated. These include five headline research questions and a suite of more detailed sub-research questions. The full suite of research questions is detailed in Chapter 2 at Table 2.2.

Purpose and contents of this Final Report

1.4 This is the Final Report to the Land Use Strategy (LUS) Delivery Evaluation Project. It is intended to provide a comprehensive report of the project's main findings as well as details of the methodological approach adopted.

1.5 This Final Report is structured as follows:

  • Chapter 1: Introduction. This Chapter introduces the LUS and the aims, objectives and questions addressed by this research project including an indication of the land use policy choices that this project may influence. It also outlines the wider context in terms of the existing land use delivery 'landscape' in Scotland.
  • Chapter 2: Methodology. This Chapter describes the methodology adopted for the project including details of the evaluation framework and the Research Questions considered.
  • Chapter 3: Translating the LUS Principles into action on the ground. This Chapter outlines the findings against Research Question No.1 which considers the degree to which the high level LUS Principles have been translated into decision-making on the ground. The Chapter includes an overall summary as well as case study specific summaries - the detailed Research Question No.1 evaluation tables are provided in Appendix 4.
  • Chapter 4: Situations in which the LUS Principles have been successfully applied. This Chapter outlines the findings against Research Question No.2 which looks at factors relating to situation and context and how this can influence consideration of the LUS Principles in decision-making.
  • Chapter 5: Methods and approaches used to apply the LUS Principles. This Chapter outlines the findings against Research Question No.3 which considers how different methods and approaches can aid consideration of the LUS Principles in decision-making. The analysis considers methods/approaches that are working well and less well and which LUS Principles specific methods can support.
  • Chapter 6: Barriers to the application of the LUS Principles. This Chapter outlines the findings against Research Question No.4 which considers what the main barriers are to the application of the LUS Principles. The analysis has grouped the barriers into distinct categories.
  • Chapter 7: Conclusions, key findings and lessons for wider application. This Chapter presents the overall conclusions to the LUS Delivery Evaluation Project including emerging themes on how best to apply the LUS Principles and lessons for particular circumstances, contexts and stakeholders.

Introduction to Scotland's Land Use Strategy

1.6 Scotland's first Land Use Strategy[1] (LUS) was published in March 2011. The development of the LUS was a requirement of the Climate Change (Scotland) Act[2] (2009), highlighting the important contribution that the Scottish Ministers expect land use and land management to make towards the climate change agenda in Scotland.

1.7 Another key driver for the LUS is the widespread consensus that Scotland's land is not performing as best as it could. Set against a backdrop of continued, increasing and sometimes competing demands on land for the provision of ecosystem services - from the production of energy, food, fibre and timber to flood risk management, maintenance of water resources, climate regulation and tourism - there is arguably a clear need for new approaches to land use and land management that can better deliver the multiple benefits that we are increasingly requiring the land to provide.

1.8 The LUS is a direct response to these issues. It sets out a strategic agenda for sustainable land use in Scotland based around a long term vision towards 2050 which would see: "A Scotland where we fully recognise, understand and value the importance of our land resources, and where our plans and decisions about land use deliver improved and enduring benefits, enhancing the wellbeing of our nation" (Scottish Government, 2011a p.3).

1.9 This vision is underpinned by three objectives for sustainable land use relating to economic prosperity, environmental quality and communities. The objectives are included in Table 1.1. The LUS represents the Scottish Government's high level statement of policy on land use and all public bodies are expected to have regard to it as they carry out their functions.

Table 1.1 Land Use Strategy objectives and Principles for sustainable land use

LUS Objectives

  • Land based businesses working with nature to contribute more to Scotland's prosperity
  • Responsible stewardship of Scotland's natural resources delivering more benefits to Scotland's people
  • Urban and rural communities better connected to the land, with more people enjoying the land and positively influencing land use

LUS Principles

A. Opportunities for land use to deliver multiple benefits should be encouraged

B. Regulation should continue to protect essential public interests whilst placing as light a burden on businesses as is consistent with achieving its purpose. Incentives should be efficient and cost-effective

C. Where land is highly suitable for a primary use (for example food production, flood management, water catchment management and carbon storage) this value should be recognised in decision-making

D. Land use decisions should be informed by an understanding of the functioning of the ecosystems which they affect in order to maintain the benefits of the ecosystem services which they provide

E. Landscape change should be managed positively and sympathetically, considering the implications of change at a scale appropriate to the landscape in question, given that all Scotland's landscapes are important to our sense of identity and to our individual and social wellbeing

F. Land-use decisions should be informed by an understanding of the opportunities and threats brought about by the changing climate. Greenhouse gas emissions associated with land use should be reduced and land should continue to contribute to delivering climate change adaptation and mitigation objectives

G. Where land has ceased to fulfil a useful function because it is derelict or vacant, this represents a significant loss of economic potential and amenity for the community concerned. It should be a priority to examine options for restoring all such land to economic, social or environmentally productive uses

H. Outdoor recreation opportunities and public access to land should be encouraged, along with the provision of accessible green space close to where people live, given their importance for health and well-being

I. People should have opportunities to contribute to debates and decisions about land use and management decisions which affect their lives and their future

J. Opportunities to broaden our understanding of the links between land use and daily living should be encouraged

  • The emphasis in the table above has been added by the research team
  • The LUS Principle emphasis is used to abbreviate the LUS Principles elsewhere in this report

1.10 The strategy's vision and objectives are supported by ten principles for sustainable land use (the LUS Principles). The Scottish Government anticipate that the LUS Principles will help guide all those involved in planning the future use and management of land. The LUS Principles are included at Table 1.1.

1.11 The ten LUS Principles are the key mechanism by which the strategic intent of the national level LUS can be translated into regional and local level planning and decision-making and, ultimately, practical action that 'breaks ground' and that has a tangible land use/management impact within the landscape.

1.12 The Scottish Government recognise that the LUS is only the first stage in a wider process of change, providing a focal point around which land use stakeholders can agree the role of Scotland's land resource in contributing to the Scottish Government's primary objective of sustainable economic growth. The LUS is required to be revised every five years - the next revision will be in 2016.

1.13 The Scottish Government anticipate that the LUS Delivery Evaluation Project will inform the first review of the LUS in 2016. The findings of this research, as set out in this Final Report, outline the degree to which a sample of existing land use delivery mechanisms are able, implicitly or explicitly, to translate the strategic LUS Principles into action on the ground, as well as any lessons for wider application within Scotland.

1.14 This research is drawing on eleven existing land use delivery mechanisms that may be able to help deliver the LUS. Examples of the wider land use delivery 'landscape' in Scotland are outlined further in the sub-section below from paragraph 1.19 onwards.

1.15 In addition to the LUS Delivery Evaluation Project, the Scottish Government is also supporting two regional land use framework (LUF) pilots - one hosted by Aberdeenshire Council and one by Scottish Borders Council[3]. The LUFs pilots commenced in April 2013 and are investigating a new, integrated regional mechanism for land use planning, designed to bridge the gap between the high level LUS Principles and delivery on the ground at more local levels.

1.16 The regional LUFs represent a potentially new mechanism or approach for delivering the sustainable land use outcomes that the LUS requires. The LUFs will also be evaluated to better understand the appropriateness of more detailed land use planning at the regional scale.

1.17 The Scottish Government will draw on a range of evidence to inform the first review of the LUS in 2016. Although the LUS evaluation will not make policy recommendations per se, it and other related research (e.g. the regional LUF pilots and their forthcoming evaluation) will inform the Scottish Government's decision-making at the time of the LUS review.

1.18 It may be the case for example that the Scottish Government are content with the performance of the existing land use delivery mechanisms. Conversely, the Government may decide that a new approach is required (such as regional LUFs as per the Aberdeenshire and Scottish Borders pilots, regionally focussed sustainable land use principles based on the national level LUS Principles, regional guidance/priorities etc) to ensure that the LUS is able to deliver against its objectives for sustainable land use.

The existing land use delivery 'landscape' in Scotland

1.19 There is a range of existing legislation, regulation, licensing, policy, plans guidance etc in Scotland that combine to provide a potential mechanism for delivery of the LUS and delivery of land use more generally. The 'delivery of land use' in this regard includes land use and land management planning and the delivery of practical land management action on the ground. These activities are summarised henceforth in this report as 'land use/management'. The core premise of this research is to take a case study sample of these existing land use delivery mechanisms and evaluate the degree to which they are able to translate the high level LUS Principles into action on the ground. Some key examples from the existing land use delivery landscape in Scotland (over and above the LUS itself) are provided at Table 1.2.

1.20 This research has considered eleven case study land use delivery mechanisms spanning a range of spatial scales, contexts, sources of funding, tenures etc. Further information on the case studies is provided in Chapter 2 at paragraph 2.21. Chapter 7 explores the potential wider relevance of this research in terms of the eleven case studies considered and their relationship with the extant land use delivery 'landscape' in Scotland detailed at Table 1.2.

Table 1.2 Examples of the existing land use delivery 'landscape' in Scotland

Existing land use delivery mechanism

Type of mechanism

Scale

Sector

National Planning Framework

Statutory development planning policy

National

Cross-cutting/spatial planning

Scottish Planning Policy

Statutory development planning policy

National

Cross-cutting/spatial planning

Strategic Development Plans

Statutory development planning policy

Sub-national/ regional

Cross-cutting/spatial planning

Local Development Plans

Statutory development planning policy

Regional/local

Cross-cutting/spatial planning

Planning Advice Note: PAN 65 Planning and Open Space

Guidance

National level guidance but applicable to all scales

Cross-cutting/natural environment/green infrastructure

Scottish Government Guidance on Green Infrastructure: Design and Place-making

Guidance

Applicable to all scales - particularly regional/local

Cross-cutting/natural environment/green infrastructure

Applying an ecosystems approach to land use: Information Note

Guidance

Applicable to all scales

Cross-cutting/natural environment

Making the most of communities' natural assets: green infrastructure

Guidance

Particularly applicable at the local level

Cross-cutting/natural environment/green infrastructure

Scotland Rural Development Programme

Funding mechanism

National level programme delivering funding at various scales, especially the local level

Rural development/ agriculture/forestry/ landscape/ conservation management

Recipe For Success - Scotland's National Food and Drink Policy

Policy

National

Economy/rural development/ agriculture/tourism

Forestry Act 1967

Primary legislation

Potentially applicable to all scales

Forestry

Forestry Commission Scotland - policy on control of woodland removal

Policy

National

Forestry

The Right Tree in the Right Place - Planning for Forestry and Woodland

Guidance

Regional/local

Forestry

Achieving diversity in Scotland's forest landscapes

Guidance

Regional/local

Forestry

National Park Plans

Policy

Regional

Cross-cutting

Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981

Primary legislation

Potentially applicable to all scales

Nature conservation

Nature Conservation (Scotland) Act 2004

Primary legislation

Potentially applicable to all scales

Nature conservation

Wildlife and Natural Environment (Scotland) Act 2011

Primary legislation

Potentially applicable to all scales

Nature and landscape conservation and management

River Basin Management Plans

Statutory water environment policy

National/regional (river basin)

Integrated water catchment management

RBMP Area Advisory Groups and Area Management Plans

Statutory water environment policy

Regional/local (catchment)

Integrated water catchment management

Water Environment (Controlled Activities) (Scotland) Regulations (2011)

Licensing regime

Applicable to all scales

Water management

Flood Risk Management Plans

Statutory flood risk management policy

Regional/local (catchment)

Integrated flood risk management

Surface Water Management Planning Guidance

Guidance

Regional/local (primarily urban)

Integrated flood risk management

Delivering Sustainable Flood Risk Management Guidance

Guidance

Regional/local (catchment)

Integrated flood risk management

Scotland's Climate Change Adaptation Framework

Strategy/guidance

National/regional/ local

Cross-cutting/ climate change


Contact

Email: Liz Hawkins