Scottish Land Rights and Responsibilities Statement Review: report to Scottish Parliament

Statutory report to Scottish Parliament on review of Scottish Land Rights and Responsibilities Statement, September 2022.

Revised Land Rights and Responsibilities Statement - Vision

Analysis summary

Most respondents who provided a view agreed that the proposed revised Vision reflected, or to some extent reflected, the outcomes that it needs to achieve. Only 10% of respondents felt that the Vision did not achieve the necessary outcomes. The majority of respondents supported the suggested inclusion of references to a just transition to net zero, and natural capital to reflect developments since the first Statement was published in 2017.

A number of suggestions were made for further changes that could be made to strengthen or clarify the Vision. Common themes included that the Vision should mention sustainability, or other aspects of the environment, beyond natural capital, such as the wider natural environment, ecosystems or biodiversity. There were also suggestions of adding a reference to the role that land can play in supporting the common good, benefiting individuals/communities throughout Scotland.

Scottish Government Response

In line with the Vision contained in the first Statement, the revised Vision remains aspirational. The Scottish Government has however revised the Vision to include the references to just transition to net zero and natural capital. This reflects the changing landscape since 2017, recognising the Scottish Government's legal commitment to ensuring a just transition to net zero carbon emissions. It also reflects the Scottish Government's commitment to ensuring responsible investment in our natural capital, so that local communities and wider society share in the benefits. The Scottish Government has added a reference to sustainability in light of the consultation comments, to highlight the role that land should, and can, play in supporting Scotland to be a sustainable country.

The reference to natural capital remains substantially unchanged from the proposal in the consultation, given the support for its inclusion. The wording has been revised to 'land and its natural capital', to reflect that the natural capital within scope of this revised Statement is that which derives from the land. The Scottish Government notes the suggestion of referencing the wider natural environment, rather than specific mention of natural capital – accordingly, the Advisory Notes accompanying the revised Statement have been revised to refer to a wide definition of natural capital, as encompassing all living and non-living aspects of the environment, consistent with its definition in the National Performance Framework.

The role that land can play in supporting the common good and wider public benefit, benefiting individuals/communities throughout Scotland has been reflected in additions to Principle 1, Principle 4 and the inclusion of new Principle 5.



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