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
6 Barriers to the application of the LUS principles

131 page PDF

3.9 MB

6 Barriers to the application of the LUS principles

6.1 Research Question No.4 asks "are there any key barriers to the application of the LUS Principles? And if there are, what are the likely reasons and what lessons can be learned for more general application across Scotland" Chapter 2 provides further information on the evaluation framework and the research questions.

6.2 This Chapter includes a summary of the analysis approach used for the Research Question No.4 evaluation and a summary of the barriers to application of the LUS Principles that have been identified through the research. Where relevant, this includes summary details of the likely reasons for the barriers as well as potential solutions and/or links to methods and approaches identified at Chapter 5 that could potentially help to overcome the barrier.

Analysis approach

6.3 The Research Question No.4 analysis approach involved four main steps which are detailed below:

  • Step 1: Analysis of all primary and secondary data produced/gathered during the LUS Delivery Evaluation Project (i.e. interview notes/transcripts, document review, Research Question No.1 evaluations etc) to identify barriers to application of the LUS Principles evidenced by the eleven case study land use delivery mechanisms
  • Step 2: Categorising barriers from Step 1 in terms of LUS Principle relevance. In essence this step identifies which Principles the barriers have a strong/less strong relationship with - i.e. where the relationship is strong, the barriers are considered to exert a strong effect impeding the translation of LUS Principles
  • Step 3: Analysis of barriers from Step 1 to identify areas of overlap, differences and similarities to produce a consolidated list of barriers and to identify potential groupings or categories
  • Step 4: Analysis of relationships between barriers and method/approaches from Chapter 5 to help identify potential solutions to the identified barriers

6.4 Steps 1 and 3 identify the range of barriers evidenced by the eleven case study land use delivery mechanisms and also the frequency of their occurrence i.e. some barriers have been experienced by several case studies whereas others are only evident in one or two. Accordingly, one potential conclusion that can be drawn from this data is that the greater the number of case studies that have experienced a given barrier, the more significant the barrier is in terms of its impact on LUS Principle consideration/translation. This issue is picked up further in the synthesis section at the end of this Chapter.

6.5 That said, it is important to recognise that there may be some barriers that are highly significant for specific LUS Principles and/or in certain contexts or situations (i.e. specific land use delivery mechanisms). As such, these barriers should not be ignored or downplayed relative to barriers that have occurred more frequently.

Summary of barriers identified

6.6 Through the Research Question No.4 Step 1 analysis described above, 19 individual barriers were identified from the LUS Delivery Evaluation Project dataset. Via Step 3, these were then grouped into seven broad categories of barrier that may have some impact on the ability of land use delivery mechanisms to translate the strategic LUS Principles into decision-making 'on the ground'. These categories are as follows:

  • Methods and data
  • Grants, incentives and revenue
  • Land manager skills, awareness and training
  • Public awareness of land use issues
  • Partnerships, governance and leadership
  • Land use decision-making
  • Land use policy interactions and constraints

6.7 The remainder of this Chapter describes each of these broad categories in turn including more detailed information on the specific barriers experienced and evidenced by the eleven case studies. Additional information includes: 1) suggested LUS Principles that the identified barriers could potentially impact in terms of translation 'on the ground'; and 2) potential solutions and/or links to methods and approaches from Chapter 5 that could potentially be used to help overcome the identified barriers.

Methods and data

6.8 A key issue highlighted and evidenced by a number of the case studies was the lack of data and suitable methods/approaches available to support integrated land use/management planning as per the LUS. Whilst this wasn't the case for all land uses or land management objectives (e.g. the use of modelling approaches and data to support the planning and management of IHNs for ecological connectivity was evidenced in a number of the case studies) there were key issues where this was felt to be the case.

6.9 In particular, poor data availability and a lack of methods were highlighted as key barriers to the consideration of LUS Principle F type issues in relation to land use/management planning for peat/carbon rich soils and natural flood management (NFM). In total the research has identified three specific barriers relating to methods and data. These are detailed in Table 6.1 along with an indication of which LUS Principles the barriers could potentially impact and a list of case studies where the barriers have been evidenced.

Table 6.1 Methods and data - specific barriers identified through the research

Barrier

Strongly relevant LUS Principles

Less strongly relevant LUS Principles

Case studies where the barrier has been evidenced

Lack of data and standardised methodologies/techniques means that some land uses and/or land management objectives are less well understood and planned for

A, C, D, E, F, H

I and J

  • Buccleuch
  • CALL
  • DCP
  • FWS
  • LLTNP
  • Biosphere

Modelling approaches for planning land use/management change do not adequately consider practical constraints

A, C, D, E, F and H

Potentially all other LUS Principles

  • DCP

Data and projections/models for predicting natural system response to climate change may be poor, making resilience planning a challenging process

A, C, D, E and F

  • LLTNP

Lack of data and standardised methodologies/techniques

6.10 Data availability issues were highlighted by several of the case studies, especially in relation to water management data (e.g. data on flood extent and hydrology) and data on peat/carbon rich soils. A specific issue with data on peat/carbon rich soils was its resolution[63]. Poor data resolution was considered to be particularly problematic where land use/management planning was heavily reliant on modelled approaches e.g. the use of spatial analysis to identify constraints to woodland planting in FWS-development. Particular problems and/or inefficiencies may occur where a relatively coarse dataset is combined with more granular datasets in spatial analyses - i.e. the value of the more granular datasets is lost in the analysis.

6.11 In the case of Buccleuch Estates and Perth and Kinross FWS, it was suggested that poor availability of suitable water management and peat/carbon rich soils data was impacting the organisations' ability to deliver land use/management for flood storage and carbon storage objectives (there are also key interactions with barriers relating to grants and incentives in this regard - see paragraph 6.17 onwards).

6.12 Crucially, both of these land use/management objectives are of particular relevance to LUS Principle F on climate change (both adaptation and mitigation) which, as discussed in Chapter 3 (see paragraph 3.21), was translated less well than some of the other Principles (fewer than half of the case studies translated LUS Principle F fully). As such, there may be some correlation between the less comprehensive translation of LUS Principle F and the specific nature of this barrier.

6.13 Several issues relating to the lack of standardised methodologies/techniques were highlighted including: 1) lack of standards and data for measuring specific ecosystem services (Buccleuch Estates and LLTNP); 2) lack of an agreed methodology for assessing ecosystem services more generally (Biosphere); and 3) uncertainty around the efficacy of Natural Flood Management (NFM) techniques (DCP).

6.14 In all of these cases, uncertainty and a lack of standardised and/or widely accepted methodologies were considered to be key barriers to the consideration and delivery of specific land use/management objectives. For example it was felt that land owners/managers would require a proven and consistent approach for ecosystem service assessment before data on ecosystem service values would be accepted as an input to decision-making processes. The UK Woodland Carbon Code[64] was held up as an example of good-practice in this regard.

Modelling approaches do not adequately consider practical constraints

6.15 This barrier is related to the concern that some modelling approaches for land use/management planning and delivery do not adequately consider practical constraints. For example, ecosystem service assessments can be used to identify land use/management options for the enhancement of specific ecosystem services. There is a concern, however, that models are overly reliant on biophysical parameters and do not adequately consider socio-economic factors such as land ownership and community aspirations for land use and land management. Where possible, one potential solution to this barrier might be to incorporate additional datasets in relevant modelling approaches - e.g. consideration of datasets on planning policy and land ownership as an integral part of ecosystem service mapping approaches.

Modelling the response of natural systems to climate change is challenging

6.16 This barrier recognises that data and projections/models for predicting and understanding how natural systems might respond to climate change are often poor. As a result, landscape scale climate change resilience planning for habitats and species can be a challenging process, especially when the nature of climate change and climate change impacts is uncertain. It was also suggested that there is currently a strong focus on how we (i.e. institutions, communities etc) can use the natural environment and green infrastructure to help us adapt to climate change (e.g. NFM) but with little focus on management changes that may be required to help nature adapt.

Grants, incentives and revenue

6.17 Undoubtedly the nature and scope of the support available to land managers through grant and incentive mechanisms, such as Pillar I and II of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), has a dramatic impact on land use and land management in Scotland[65]. As such, it is unsurprising that issues relating to grants and incentives for land management have been identified in the LUS Delivery Evaluation Project, both in relation to methods/approaches that can help translate the LUS Principles (e.g. the use of locational premiums to deliver specific land management objectives in certain areas - see paragraph 5.79) and in relation to barriers to translation.

6.18 In total the research has identified two specific barriers relating to grants, incentives and revenue. These are detailed in Table 6.2 along with an indication of which LUS Principles the barriers could potentially impact and a list of case studies where the barriers have been evidenced.

Table 6.2 Grants, incentives and revenue - specific barriers identified through the research

Barrier

Strongly relevant LUS Principles

Less strongly relevant LUS Principles

Case studies where the barrier has been evidenced

Grants and incentives for land management are not currently set-up to deliver multiple benefits in diverse contexts

A, B C, D, E, F and J

H

  • Buccleuch
  • CSGN
  • CALL
  • LLTNP
  • NHT
  • WES

Limited revenue options from managing peat and floodplains for regulating ecosystem services and few grants or incentives available to support land management for these services

A, C, D and F

E

  • Buccleuch

Grants and incentives are not currently set-up to deliver multiple benefits in diverse contexts

6.19 Several of the case studies highlighted specific issues concerning the scope and utility of the current grants/incentives landscape in Scotland, especially in relation to Pillar II of the CAP - i.e. the Scotland Rural Development Programme[66] (SRDP). Crucially however, all of these issues were identified during interviews undertaken, for the most part, during 2012 and 2013 and are therefore of greater relevance to the extant SRDP (for the period 2007-2013) as opposed to the new SRDP (for the period 2014-2020[67]).

6.20 As such, it may be the case that some of the barriers/issues outlined here have been addressed in the proposed SRDP e.g. support for integrated land management plans (ILMPs), whole farm plans and co-operative action (i.e. cross-boundary partnership working at the landscape/ecosystem scale). In the interests of comprehensiveness however all relevant issues have been included below.

6.21 One key concern identified in relation to the SRDP was the overly complex and prescriptive nature of its grants and incentives regime. In particular there was a feeling that the extant SRDP is characterised by multiple schemes and options designed to deliver single benefits as opposed to just a few designed to deliver multiple benefits. Similarly, there was concern that the prescriptive nature of some agri-environment options can limit their applicability in certain contexts. As a result, scheme uptake can be constrained, even if there is another more locally relevant means of achieving a similar outcome. There may be scope for these barriers to be addressed through scheme and option design as part of the final stages of developing and launching the new SRDP[68].

6.22 In terms of specific land uses and land management objectives, concern was expressed that the forestry grant scheme element of the SRDP is geared too much towards land management objectives instead of ecosystem service objectives - i.e. land managers are paid to plant trees for the sake of planting trees with limited consideration of how forest design and location can support the delivery of multiple benefits. One potential solution to this barrier is to tie forestry grant support more closely to FWS, which are premised on multifunctional forestry objectives as per the Forestry Commission Scotland's (FCS) Right Tree in the Right Place guidance (FCS, 2010) through the use of locational premiums (see paragraph 5.79).

6.23 Similarly, limited support for land managers in Scotland's Less Favoured Area (LFA) through the LFA Support Scheme (LFASS) was highlighted as a specific challenge for certain land management objectives. In particular, the need for a degree of extensive land management (e.g. grazing) in order to maintain peat habitat was highlighted as a specific benefit that could be lost or reduced, depending on the availability and scope of LFASS support. This barrier may have implications for the management of peat/carbon rich soils and, similarly to the above, it could potentially be addressed through the use of locational premiums (e.g. LFASS and certain agri-environment options).

Limited revenue options available from peat and floodplain management

6.24 The management of peatland and floodplains can provide key public goods in terms of carbon storage and flood storage respectively. Despite these benefits, the revenue options available from peat and floodplain management may be limited (e.g. there may be some limited revenue available from peatland which can provide cover for game birds). In the floodplain, woodland planting and management could enhance flood storage ecosystem services as well as providing a timber revenue, though timber quality may be impacted by the wet ground conditions (though this will also depend on species choice and silvicultural treatment e.g. use of mounding).

Land manager skills, awareness and training

6.25 Whilst many aspects of the LUS are reflective of widely held tenets of good land management, other aspects could be regarded as more novel and/or more of a reflection on the modern policy agenda (e.g. land management for climate change objectives, use of the ecosystems approach etc).

6.26 Equally, context is an important factor - although the LUS is designed and intended to be applicable to all land use/management planning contexts, land use planners and land managers working in different locations and contexts will undoubtedly have different skills and experiences. As such, there is scope for the LUS to be interpreted and delivered in different ways.

6.27 In light of the above, several key barriers and challenges were identified in relation to land manager skills, awareness and training type issues. These barriers recognise that whilst there is clearly a huge body of knowledge and experience within Scotland's land managers, there will inevitably be a need for the development of new skills and training and improved awareness of new and emerging land use/management issues. In total the research has identified three specific barriers relating to land manager skills, awareness and training. These are detailed in Table 6.3 along with an indication of which LUS Principles the barriers could potentially impact and a list of case studies where the barriers have been evidenced.

Table 6.3 Land manager skills, awareness and training - specific barriers identified through the research

Barrier

Strongly relevant LUS Principles

Less strongly relevant LUS Principles

Case studies where the barrier has been evidenced

Difficulty/challenges/inertia in changing to more integrated land use planning and management practices

A, C, D, E, F, H and I

Potentially all other Principles

  • Buccleuch
  • FWS

The challenge of land management for climate change adaptation, especially if there are no apparent climate change impacts within the management area

D and F

A, C and E

  • Buccleuch
  • DCP

Project officers, managers etc involved in practical land management work may not have the full range of skills required or support available to deliver partnership based projects

I

J

  • CALL
  • DCP

Difficulty changing to more integrated land use planning and management practice

6.28 Traditionally, land management practice has focussed on single objectives to maximise revenue from a given parcel of land. A key example in this regard is single species (e.g. Sitka spruce) productive forestry under a clearfell silvicultural regime. The LUS requires a more integrated approach to land use/management for the delivery of multiple benefits including consideration of ecosystem function issues, options for climate change mitigation and adaptation, recreation and access issues and landscape integration.

6.29 Whilst this research has highlighted key examples of integrated land use in action (e.g. the Buccleuch Estates WEDP approach and the Biosphere Partnership's integrating land and water management catchment scale stakeholder engagement approach) some of the case studies also raised concerns and potential barriers in terms of challenges, difficulties and inertia that may be preventing a move towards more integrated practice.

6.30 Taking FWS as a case in point, although the development of multifunctional forestry as per the RTRP guidance (FCS, 2010) has a key role to play supporting both climate change mitigation and adaptation (e.g. contributing to NFM), concern was expressed that there are no apparent measures being taken to integrate forest planning and management with the management and restoration of peatlands (other than considering peat/carbon rich soils as a constraint to forest development in spatial analysis).

The challenge of undertaking land management for climate change adaptation where impacts are not apparent

6.31 This barrier is closely related to the barrier discussed at paragraph 6.24 in relation to the issue of limited revenue options from peatland and floodplain management for key regulating ecosystem services. In this regard, although there is a move towards catchment scale sustainable flood risk management (FRM) in Scotland (Scottish Government, 2011d), there is arguably still a poor understanding of flooding and flood risk and how land management in the upper/mid catchment can influence the likelihood and consequences of flooding downstream. As described at paragraph 6.10 onwards, this issue may be compounded by a lack of data, proof of concept studies (e.g. for NFM efficacy) and standardised methodologies to support land use/management planning for key regulating ecosystem services.

6.32 One potential solution to this could be through the use of locational premiums (e.g. through key SRDP schemes) to target land management support for natural flood management (NFM) type measures. Key examples in this regard could include appropriate mid-upper catchment woodland planting (e.g. floodplain woodland, targeted small scale agro-forestry) and river restoration (e.g. restoring meanders, reversing historic canalisation, increasing length/decreasing gradients etc).

6.33 Additionally, the Flood Risk Management Strategies and Local Flood Risk Management Plans that are currently being developed for adoption in 2015 and 2016 respectively will put sustainable, catchment scale FRM, as per the requirements of the Flood Risk Management (Scotland) Act 2009, into action (SEPA, 2012). Depending on the specific issues within each FRM Act Local Plan District, this may include land management related structural measures such as floodplain woodland planting and river restoration.

Practical land managers may not have the full range of skills or necessary support required to deliver partnership based projects

6.34 The pressure to deliver action 'on the ground' within partnership based and/or community focussed land management projects and initiatives (e.g. CALL and DCP) can be such that resource and recruitment is focussed more on personnel with practical land management and/or conservation management skills. However the scope of these types of project/initiative can be such that personnel are required to design and lead practical land and conservation management plans and projects whilst also designing and delivering community consultations/events, writing funding bids etc.

6.35 Inevitably therefore there is scope for certain aspects of project delivery to be delivered less well than others, dependent on the skills and support available. In this regard, it may be the case that the more social/community development aspects of projects are delivered less well as the core skill sets of key personnel are often more focussed on practical land/conservation management. This issue may have links with the barrier below (see paragraph 6.44 onwards) relating to the delivery of transformational land use change - i.e. there is a strong imperative for partnership and/or community based land management projects to quickly deliver tangible results 'on the ground' to maintain support from partners and help secure additional funding.

Public awareness of land use issues

6.36 The barriers discussed above at paragraph 6.25 onwards are specifically related to land management professionals. The LUS also has key objectives and Principles (especially I and J) on increasing public and community involvement in land use/management planning and delivery. In this regard, the research has identified two important barriers relating to public awareness of land use issues. These are detailed in Table 6.4 along with an indication of which LUS Principles the barriers could potentially impact and a list of case studies where the barriers have been evidenced.

Table 6.4 Public awareness of land use issues - specific barriers identified through the research

Barrier

Strongly relevant LUS Principles

Less strongly relevant LUS Principles

Case studies where the barrier has been evidenced

Difficulty balancing different community land management initiative objectives

A, C, D, E, F, I and J

  • NHT

Lack of awareness or understanding of the practicalities of managing land for specific objectives

All LUS Principles

  • NHT

Difficulty balancing community land management objectives

6.37 Increasingly there are opportunities for communities to get involved in practical land management activities on land in community ownership (e.g. through the Land Reform (Scotland) Act 2003 community right to buy provisions) or land that has been leased by the community (e.g. the Glasgow City Council Stalled Space Initiative - see paragraph 5.68 onwards). There is also a range of funding available to community groups to support land management activity including, for example, the CSGN Development Fund[69], various schemes and options under the SRDP and the Climate Challenge Fund[70], to name but a few. Furthermore, the Community Empowerment (Scotland) Bill[71], if passed, will reform community right to buy and make it easier for communities to take over public land and buildings.

6.38 The nature of community based land management initiatives (i.e. those that involve some or all of the community) is such that a large number of people have a stake in the project. Even with clear, transparent and effective governance of community projects (see Chapter 5 paragraph 5.47 onwards), the breadth of interests and personalities involved may be such that there is internal conflict between objectives and priorities. Conflicts can become more pronounced where objectives/priorities are polarised between economic and environmental/social goals e.g. habitat management/conservation vs. forestry and energy development.

6.39 Clearly there are compromises and compatibilities to be sought across divergent objectives such as these but differences of opinion can create challenges and barriers in social settings e.g. community based land management projects. Potential solutions to overcome this barrier include the use of effective governance models for partnership based projects (see paragraph 5.47 onwards) and the use of effective engagement and awareness raising activities to communicate and discuss issues and proposals (see paragraph 5.52 onwards). As discussed above (see paragraph 6.25 onwards) in relation to the land manager skills, awareness raising and training barrier however, it may be the case that professionals employed by community projects have more limited skills/support in relation to community engagement, consultation, facilitation etc.

Lack of awareness or understanding of practical land management

6.40 Whilst there are strong policy and grant/incentive mechanisms to encourage community groups to get involved in practical land management activities and projects, concern was expressed that there can be a lack of awareness or understanding of the practicalities of managing land for specific objectives. This was felt to be the case particularly for local level/grassroots community groups with limited expertise or experience in land management - i.e. there is a perception that land is effectively 'self-managing' which can lead to nasty surprises when people find out what is required to keep land in active management. There is therefore an associated risk of land coming out of active management if skills are not available or if will and enthusiasm becomes eroded.

6.41 Concern was also expressed that there may be a general lack of awareness amongst the public/communities in relation to the largely manmade and dynamic nature of the landscape. For example there may be a perception that a given mixture of habitats and species within a landscape can be maintained indefinitely though in reality this is a bogus objective, especially with climate change. Similarly to the barrier above on balancing community land management objectives, this barrier could potentially be exacerbated if professionals employed as part of community projects have more limited skills or support in relation to community engagement, consultation, facilitation etc.

Partnerships, governance and leadership

6.42 The use of effective partnerships and governance has been highlighted in the LUS Delivery Evaluation Project as a useful method/approach for translating the LUS Principles (see Chapter 5 paragraph 5.47 onwards). The corollary of this of course is that poor partnership working and a lack of effective governance and leadership can provide a barrier to the translation of LUS Principles.

6.43 In this regard, the research has identified four important barriers relating to partnerships, governance and leadership. These are detailed in Table 6.5 along with an indication of which LUS Principles the barriers could potentially impact and a list of case studies where the barriers have been evidenced.

Table 6.5 Partnerships, governance and leadership - specific barriers identified through the research

Barrier

Strongly relevant LUS Principles

Less strongly relevant LUS Principles

Case studies where the barrier has been evidenced

Lack of funding/resources, buy-in and political will to deliver transformational land use/management change

All LUS Principles

  • CSGN
  • CALL
  • NHT

Difficulty of putting in place strong governance arrangements for voluntary partnerships

Potentially all LUS Principles

  • CALL

Governance and delivery challenges in large and/or complex partnerships

Potentially all LUS Principles

  • CALL
  • LLTNP
  • Biosphere

Challenge of broad scale (spatial extent and breadth of sectors covered) land use/management planning and delivery without a statutory remit

Potentially all LUS Principles

  • DCP

Lack of funding etc to deliver transformational land use/management change

6.44 Several of the case study land use delivery mechanisms considered in this research have very ambitious visions and objectives in terms of the desired land use/management change they plan to achieve. For example:

  • "By 2050, Central Scotland has been transformed into a place where the environment adds value to the economy and where people's lives are enriched by its quality" (CSGN Partnership Board, 2011a p.2)
  • "It is 2050; the communities of Coigach and Assynt are working together to achieve a truly living landscape through improved understanding of their environment and the impacts of climate change; shared active management providing a diverse range of connected and resilient habitats; creation of local employment and training opportunities, and; building on the communities' strong cultural heritage linked to the land" (CALL Partnership, 2011 p.3)

6.45 Whilst these aims are laudable and clearly have the potential to help deliver the objectives of the LUS and translate the LUS Principles, concern was expressed that a lack of funding, resources and wider community/stakeholder buy-in, combined with faltering political will, could put projects at risk of not delivering. In this regard, these issues could potentially create barriers to the translation of all LUS Principles.

6.46 In terms of funding and resources specifically, there were concerns that delivering transformational land use change that goes beyond 'business as usual' will require significant funding and resource that may simply not be available. This issue may be compounded by reduction in ambition and the scaling back of objectives as local authority budgets and other resources are reduced, in line with wider austerity measures.

6.47 In this regard, although partnership working has the potential to deliver outcomes that are potentially 'greater than the sum of the parts' (see the section on partnerships and governance in Chapter 5 - paragraph 5.47 onwards), reduced resource within the partners (including human resources) may have a significant impact on the scope of what the partnership can realistically deliver. There is perhaps no easy fix to funding/resource issues in this regard though one potential solution (or at least a mitigating factor) could be to ensure that the various grant and incentive regimes are aligned and prioritised to deliver the required outcomes in the right locations (e.g. through the use of locational premiums as discussed at paragraph 5.79 onwards).

6.48 Specific issues were also highlighted in relation to political will and the need for 'good news stories' to maintain interest in land use/management projects and activities. In particular, there was concern that political will and support/backing for projects may be lost if tangible 'on the ground' change isn't delivered quickly enough. Given the timescales involved in planning, designing, delivering and managing many land use/management delivery projects (e.g. woodland development and management, ecosystem/habitat restoration, active travel network improvements, community growing projects etc), there is clearly a risk of this happening if politicians aren't adequately briefed.

6.49 Similarly, where partnerships are less formal, there is a potential risk of partnerships faltering and/or breaking down if successes and good news stories don't happen quickly enough. One potential solution to some of these issues/barriers is to put in place effective governance arrangements, covering an appropriate time period, to ensure support for programmed actions (see paragraph 5.47 onwards). There is also an issue in terms of security of revenue support and the availability of capital funding to support projects beyond the design or planning phase. This may be a particular issue for community based partnerships which can sometimes take a long time to coalesce to the extent that they are in a position to take advantage of funding and grants.

6.50 In terms of buy-in (including buy-in from affected communities), where dramatic/transformational land use/management change is proposed (e.g. as per the CSGN and CALL - see paragraph 6.44) there is a risk that the proposed changes may not be popular with stakeholders and the affected communities. This may be particularly significant where the proposed changes are perhaps more focussed on delivering benefits for biodiversity, landscape and climate change objectives. In this regard, not having the community 'onboard' from the outset can cause barriers and delays at later stages. The use of effective community consultation (see paragraph 5.52 onwards) can help to mitigate these risks by encouraging and facilitating involvement in land use/management decision-making.

Difficulty of putting in place strong governance arrangements for voluntary partnerships

6.51 As described in the sub-section above, the maintenance of partnerships is fundamental for the delivery of partnership based land use/management initiatives and projects. For smaller, less formal partnerships involving partners from a range of different sectors (include private business and charities/NGOs), there is a concern that reliance on partnership arrangements that have no legal or financial 'teeth' (e.g. where charters or Memorandum of Understanding documents are more like a statement of goodwill) can result in land use/management delivery taking longer than expected as there is no strong and/or legal obligation for partners to deliver.

6.52 Similarly, partnership working may be more challenging where the partners are engaged/supportive to varying degrees - in effect it can be challenging for project managers to drive project delivery, especially where there are no strong legal/financial obligations in place.

6.53 Depending on the scope of the project or initiative's land use/management activity, this barrier may impact all LUS Principles as progress is delayed. As per the barrier above, one potential solution to some of these issues/barriers is to put in place effective governance arrangements, covering an appropriate time period, to ensure support for programmed actions (see paragraph 5.47 onwards).

Governance and delivery challenges in large and/or complex partnerships

6.54 Whilst the barrier described in the sub-section above deals specifically with issues concerning voluntary partnerships, issues may also arise where partnerships are large and/or complex (recognising that voluntary partnerships may also be large and complex).

6.55 Partnerships involving community land ownership are considered to raise particular challenges due to the greater number of people that have a stake in decision-making. Potential differences of opinion may further compound this issue (e.g. pursuing a land use/management strategy based on economic development vs. a more conservation focussed strategy as an extreme example). This issue is also reflected under the public awareness of land use issues barrier at paragraph 6.36 onwards.

6.56 Looking specifically at the public sector, concern was expressed that working in partnership with multiple large public sector organisations (e.g. local authorities, government agencies etc) can be challenging due to the scale and complexity of the organisations. Furthermore, integrated land use/management planning and delivery at scale (e.g. whole catchments, whole local authority areas etc) requires significant cross-sector partnership working and setting up the required working arrangements can be challenging or even impossible in some circumstances.

The challenge of broad scale land use/management planning and delivery without a statutory remit

6.57 In relation to this barrier, 'broad scale' includes both spatial extent and number of sectors/activities covered. Broad scale land use/management planning and delivery in this regard can be undertaken specifically to work with natural systems - e.g. aligning the management area to the area of land encompassed by a water catchment or river basin.

6.58 In this sense, the management area is likely to cut across multiple traditional boundaries including local authorities, land ownerships, SRDP Regional Proposal Assessment Committee (RPAC) regions etc. As a result, clarity of roles and responsibilities can be crucial as is effective partnership working and governance arrangements to ensure that all partners and affected parties agree with priorities, objectives, actions and governance arrangements. Where this is not the case, land use/management delivery may breakdown.

Land use decision-making

6.59 A key objective of the LUS is "Urban and rural communities better connected to the land, with more people enjoying the land and positively influencing land use" (Scottish Government, 2011a p.3). This objective is supported, in particular, by LUS Principle I on involving people and J on land use and the daily living link. In this regard, the importance of creating and encouraging opportunities whereby people can influence land use decision-making is enshrined within the LUS.

6.60 As such, it is a significant issue that the research has identified two important barriers relating to land use decision-making. These are detailed in Table 6.6 along with an indication of which LUS Principles the barriers could potentially impact and a list of case studies where the barriers have been evidenced.

Limited opportunity to influence private land use/management objectives that deliver public goods

6.61 This barrier recognises how, in essence, land use/management decisions are largely dictated by landowner preferences. In this regard, the opportunity for the public and affected communities to engage in and influence land use/management decision-making is perhaps more constrained than the LUS would like. Also, there is (at least) a perception that regulatory control of land use/management is limited with most influence being realised through the grant and incentive regime (e.g. Pillar I and II of the CAP).

Table 6.6 Land use decision-making - specific barriers identified through the research

Barrier

Strongly relevant LUS Principles

Less strongly relevant LUS Principles

Case studies where the barrier has been evidenced

Limited opportunity to influence private land use/management objectives that deliver key public goods

A, B, C, G, I and J

D, E, F and H

  • CSGN
  • Glasgow LDP
  • Monitor Farms
  • WES

Lack of empowerment within affected communities and/or willingness to engage in land use/management decision-making

Potentially all LUS Principles (especially I)

  • CALL
  • LLTNP
  • NHT

6.62 Whilst grants and incentives undoubtedly influence land use/management in Scotland (see paragraph 6.17 onwards on barriers relating to grants and incentives), their influence will inevitably be dictated by the support available and the benefits accruing to the landowner. On the other hand there can be tremendous 'hope value' in some areas (especially peri-urban and greenbelt land) where landowners hold onto sites (i.e. land banking) in the hope that land values will improve[72] (e.g. housing market improvements as the economic recovery continues). As a result, land can lie vacant or underused (i.e. out of active management) and therefore not deliver multiple benefits.

6.63 In some instances therefore, there may be a case for extra controls/regulation (in conjunction with grants and incentives) to influence the behaviour of landowners and ensure that land delivers multiple benefits e.g. byelaws, compulsory purchase order (CPO) and legislation. This may be the case particularly for landowners in possession of VDL and underused land that runs the risk of falling into further disrepair.

6.64 Similarly to the above, there was evidence from several case studies of landowner reluctance to release sites on temporary leases e.g. temporary greening of VDL sites as the Glasgow City Council Stalled Spaces Initiative (see paragraph 5.68). There is evidence that landowners are concerned that temporary projects may become 'permanent' in the eyes of the community, even though the temporary lease arrangements often have legal status.

6.65 The constraints posed by private land ownership were highlighted at more regional scales also. In particular, the LLTNP case study outlined the challenge of delivering a regional scale land use/management strategy (such as the National Park Partnership Plan - the NPPP) where land is in primarily private ownership. This issue can be compounded where land ownership is disparate and fragmented - i.e. simply mapping land ownership can be a challenge, let alone securing support for the objectives of a regional level strategy. One potential solution to this issue is the use of effective engagement and awareness raising (see paragraph 5.52) with landowners to try and build consensus over shared priorities and objectives for land use. This, in essence, is the approach adopted by the Biosphere Partnership in their integrating land and water management catchment scale stakeholder engagement approach (see Appendix 4 paragraph 4.72).

Lack of empowerment within affected communities or willingness to engage in land use/management decision-making

6.66 Although the LUS has a strong agenda on involving people in land use decision-making, a key barrier to the delivery of this agenda is the potential lack of empowerment within affected communities or willingness to engage in decision-making processes. The potential reasons for this barrier are multiple. The LUS Delivery Evaluation Research has helped to highlight some key reasons of direct relevance to participation in land use/management decision-making. These include:

  • Lack of awareness: some communities are not used to being consulted and/or are simply not aware of their stake in land use/management decisions
  • Engagement at the appropriate decision-making level: it can be challenging to support and encourage people to engage in strategic level land use/management decision-making where peoples' input can have a significant impact on strategy and policy-development (e.g. consultation on the proposed SRDP 2014-2020, Local Development Plans at the Main Issues Report stage etc). People tend to get involved when decisions have a direct impact on them (e.g. a planning decision)
  • Social interaction within communities: tensions, mistrust and personality conflicts within communities can discourage people from taking part in decision-making processes and/or volunteering for governance roles (e.g. board membership)
  • Consultation fatigue: this can be a particular issue where communities are affected by several projects (often all with similar but slightly different agendas and activities) that end up competing for community input to consultations. A potential solution to this barrier is to use effective engagement and awareness raising tools and approaches (see paragraph 5.52) and to share intelligence between organisations

Land use policy interactions and constraints

6.67 The final barrier category identified in the research relates to issues around the interactions of land use policy in Scotland and the potential for constraints and conflicts to occur as a result. This barrier also reflects anecdotal evidence that the LUS is a bit of an 'unknown quantity' to some land use stakeholders in Scotland as well as the perception that the LUS is perhaps more relevant to rural land use/management planning issues.

6.68 In this regard, the research has identified three important barriers relating to land use policy interactions and constraints. These are detailed in Table 6.7 along with an indication of which LUS Principles the barriers could potentially impact and a list of case studies where the barriers have been evidenced.

Table 6.7 Land use policy interactions and constraints - specific barriers identified through the research

Barrier

Strongly relevant LUS Principles

Less strongly relevant LUS Principles

Case studies where the barrier has been evidenced

Significant areas of primary land use within a management area can constrain options for the delivery of multiple benefits

A and C

D, E, F and H

  • DCP

Uncertainty as to the role and strategic fit of the LUS relative to other national level policy and strategy

All LUS Principles

  • Glasgow LDP
  • Biosphere

Potential inconsistencies in public policy affecting land use/management

All LUS Principles

  • Biosphere

Significant areas of primary land use constraining options for the delivery of multiple benefits

6.69 Land management units comprising a large proportion of primary land use can be heavily constrained in terms of delivering land use/management for multiple benefits. In effect, the delivery of multiple benefits from land is constrained by land value and/or the value of revenue streams that primary land uses support. Also, much of this sort of land is in private ownership and there is therefore limited opportunity for the public to inform land use decision-making (see barriers on land use decision-making at paragraph 6.58).

6.70 Also, concern was expressed that the nature of the current grants and incentives regime for land management in Scotland (e.g. Pillar I and II of the CAP) is more focussed on the management of areas of primary land use for the delivery of single or few benefits (see barriers on grants, incentives and revenue at paragraph 6.17 above). In this regard there are potential conflicts between national level policies (e.g. between the LUS and grant/incentive policy for agriculture and rural development). As discussed at paragraph 6.20 however, many of these issues may be resolved with the adoption of the new SRDP in January 2015

Uncertainty as to the role and strategic fit of the LUS relative to other national level policy and strategy

6.71 There was some uncertainty as to the exact role and strategic fit of the LUS. In particular there was uncertainty as to how the LUS relates to other key national level policies and strategies such as the National Planning Framework (NPF) and Scottish Planning Policy (SPP). In planning terms, it was felt that the LUS is not really on the agenda of local planning authorities who would be unlikely to consider the LUS unless it came up at enquiry. There was also uncertainty as to the statutory basis/mandate of the LUS in relation to Development Plans and planning decisions[73].

6.72 There is also a degree of misunderstanding as to the exact focus and remit of the LUS - i.e. the feeling that it is somehow more relevant to rural land use/management planning than it is urban. Anecdotal evidence suggests that this misunderstanding is demonstrated more widely (e.g. the misunderstanding was evident when speaking to delegates at relevant conferences such as the Scottish Government LUS event in June 2012 and the CSGN Forum in June 2013). Furthermore, evidence from this research suggests that the role of the LUS may not be fully understood by various local authority officers (including planners) and elected members.

Potential inconsistencies in public policy affecting land use/management

6.73 Two specific issues were highlighted in relation to this barrier. Firstly, concern was expressed that the lack of a strong policy steer on some land use issues may mean that some primary land uses are not properly considered in decision-making, potentially resulting in degradation. The specific example provided was peat/carbon rich soils. This issue is potentially compounded by: 1) lack of data and standardised methodologies/techniques for integrating peat/carbon rich soils into land use/management decision-making (see barriers on methods and data at paragraph 6.8); and 2) the nature of the extant grants/incentives regime and limited revenue options available from peatland management for carbon storage (see barriers on grants, incentives and revenue at paragraph 6.17).

6.74 Secondly, specific concerns were highlighted in relation to the potential incompatibility of certain public policies. In effect, such conflicts can make it more challenging for land use/management planning stakeholders to consider the LUS in their decision-making. This was felt to be the case particularly in relation to the 'squeezed middle'. In simplistic terms this is the land in between the lowlands (where land use/management options are heavily constrained by the presence of better quality agricultural land e.g. land suitable for arable and mixed agriculture[74]) and the upland areas (where land use/management options are heavily constrained by biophysical issues, landscape/natural heritage policy, presence of peat/carbon rich soils etc).

6.75 An example policy conflict evidenced in the research was the potential incompatibility of the Birds Directive and Habitats Directive and the Scottish Government's policy on afforestation. Forest development is considered to be a particular 'pressure' on land in the 'squeezed middle' (i.e. this is the only land where significant forest development can feasibly take place) yet this sort of land is often an important habitat for species protected by European conservation policy (e.g. certain species of raptor). Whilst there is potential for these sorts of conflict to be overcome (e.g. through the use of sensitive forest design and appropriate management practices), in simplistic terms at least, the two land uses (i.e. natural heritage conservation vs. forestry) are seen as incompatible.

6.76 This is perhaps the exact type of land use planning issue that the LUS and its ten Principles are intended to help address. However, the immediate barrier of incompatible public policies may be deterring land use stakeholders from fully engaging with the LUS. Potential solutions to this barrier could include the more consistent and integrated (e.g. cross-sector) use of key methods and approaches highlighted in this research, especially spatial analysis (see paragraph 5.8 onwards), environmental assessment (see paragraph 5.18 onwards) and ecosystem services (see paragraph 5.32 onwards).

6.77 Spatial analysis in this context may have particular utility helping to scope out key constraints and opportunities for integrated land use strategies. Similarly, the use of ecosystem service assessments can highlight the 'value' (either monetary or nominal) of all land uses, potentially helping to make the case for development in one area vs. habitat restoration in another. Finally, the use of environmental assessment (SEA for plans and programmes and EIA for projects e.g. forest development) can help to identify impacts that may influence sustainable land use outcomes as well as supporting transparency in decision-making and providing mechanisms for public and affected community engagement and consultation on proposals.

Summary of key themes/issues identified

6.78 The sub-sections above describe the nineteen key barriers, identified through this research, that have potential to impact the translation of the ten LUS Principles into decision-making 'on the ground'. Each sub-section describes the likely reasons for the barriers (as evidenced by the eleven case studies considered in this research) and, where relevant, potential solutions that may help overcome the barriers. Potential solutions have often been identified on the basis of the twenty methods/approaches, identified through this research, that may have some utility helping to translate the LUS Principles into decision-making 'on the ground' (see Chapter 5).

6.79 As touched on briefly at the start of this Chapter (see paragraph 6.4), another way of analysing the barriers data is to look at the frequency with which case studies are experiencing the nineteen different barriers. This analysis is undertaken by considering the number of case studies that have experienced a given barrier, as indicated in the summary tables at the start of each sub-section - see Table 6.7 for example. In this regard, the most widely experienced barrier could potentially be construed as the most significant/challenging/relevant barrier, as this is the barrier experienced most frequently by the eleven case studies considered in the research (recognising that this is based on a case study sample of mechanisms from the wider land use delivery landscape discussed at Chapter 1 - see paragraph 1.19). Figure 6.1 illustrates this point.

Figure 6.1 Barriers to translation of the LUS Principles - frequency of occurrence across the eleven case study land use delivery mechanisms

Figure 6.1 Barriers to translation of the LUS Principles - frequency of occurrence across the eleven case study land use delivery mechanisms

6.80 As discussed at paragraph 6.5 however, it is important to recognise that there may be some barriers that are highly significant for specific LUS Principles or in certain circumstances/contexts - i.e. they may be highly relevant for one land use delivery mechanism yet broadly irrelevant for another. The frequency of occurrence of the barriers may also be a function of how the barriers have been defined through the Research Question No.4 analysis. For example, where a barrier has been quite narrowly defined it is likely to be relevant to fewer case studies. In essence, it is important that the Scottish Government and other land use stakeholders do not discount certain barriers on the grounds that they have only been experienced by a small number of the case studies.

6.81 In terms of the data shown on Figure 6.1 therefore, Barrier_1 on lack of data and standardised methodologies/techniques and Barrier_4 on grants and incentives not currently set up to deliver multiple benefits were experienced most frequently by the case studies (six case studies experienced these barriers).

6.82 Other barriers that were experienced more frequently included Barrier_15 on limited opportunity to influence private land use/management objectives (five case studies) and Barrier_11 on lack of funding/resources, buy-in and political will to deliver transformational land use change, Barrier_13 on governance and delivery challenges in large and/or complex partnerships and Barrier_16 on lack of empowerment within affected communities to engage in land use decision-making (each of these barriers was experienced by three case studies).

6.83 Looking at the above, there are potentially two key themes that can be drawn from the quantitative analysis of barriers:

  • The most widely experienced barriers relate to the availability of data and methodologies/techniques required to support the planning of more integrated land use/management and the availability of grants/incentives and revenue streams to support the delivery of integrated land use
  • Other barriers experienced by a number of the case studies cluster around the more social/community focussed barrier categories - partnerships, governance and leadership and land use decision-making

6.84 In contrast to the quantitative analysis of methods/approaches (see paragraph 5.90 and Figure 5.6), the analysis of barriers in this regard has highlighted how nearly half (nine) of the identified barriers were experienced by only one case study. In the methods/approach analysis only a fifth (four) of the techniques were used by just one case study. As indicated on Figure 6.1 there are no apparent themes in relation to the barriers that were experienced by only one case study - i.e. this situation is distributed across all seven of the identified barrier categories.

Figure 6.2 Overview of barriers identified in the research that may affect the ability of land use delivery mechanisms to translate the LUS Principles into decision-making 'on the ground'

Figure 6.2 Overview of barriers identified in the research that may affect the ability of land use delivery mechanisms to translate the LUS Principles into decision-making 'on the ground'

6.85 Although experienced less frequently by the case study sample considered in this research these barriers may still be significant (e.g. they may be relevant to multiple LUS Principles) and the Scottish Government and other land use/management stakeholders should consider Figure 6.2 in this regard. Also, unlike the methods/approaches which can be more LUS Principle specific (see Figure 5.7), many of the barriers are highly cross-cutting in that they often have some influence on factors relating to process, management, governance etc. This is evidenced on Figure 6.2 which is cumulatively 'darker' than the corresponding method/approach figure at Figure 5.7 (i.e. more of the barriers are strongly relevant to more of the LUS Principles).

6.86 Figure 6.2 provides an overview of all nineteen barriers highlighting the LUS Principles they are strongly and less strongly relevant to. This Figure may also be a useful tool for the Scottish Government and other land use stakeholders to aid the consideration and prioritisation of intervention to help overcome and address the identified barriers (e.g. research and policy-development etc).


Contact

Email: Liz Hawkins