Just transition in land use and agriculture: a discussion paper

This discussion paper is intended to support engagement on a just transition for the land use and agriculture sectors. Building on this engagement, a draft targeted action plan and route map (late 23/24) will outline the key steps to delivering a fair transition.

Themes and recommendations of the Just Transition Commission.

In July of 2022, the second Just Transition Commission published their Making the Future - second Just Transition Commission: initial report. In this report the commission highlighted five strategic priority themes and corresponding recommendations for the Land Use and Agriculture Just Transition plan, which are as follows:

Delivering robust land reform – An ambitious Land Reform Bill should tackle concentrations in ownership and enshrine transparency, equality, and public good into the future of Scotland's land use.

Enabling Community Leadership - Community Right to Buy powers need to be strengthened, including removing barriers to financing and increasing technical support, throughout both the purchase phase and during the management of the land.

Supporting Greater Climate Action Today - Scottish Government must ensure farmers and crofters are prepared and supported well in advance of changes to future farm support, by increasing public investment in technology and training, including expanded capacity for rural advisory services and training for advisors. A mandatory system of certification for carbon credits needs to be established to provide credible scrutiny of sellers and buyers.

Reforming Future Farm Support - Delivery of a just transition should be a central priority in the forthcoming reform of future farm support, and an Agriculture Just Transition Plan needs to be developed at the same time as the Agriculture Bill progresses.

Restoring Nature - The Scottish Government is rightly investing in restoring peatlands, tree planting and woodland management. However, the Committee on Climate Change has urged greater ambition. Given the opportunity costs of moving away from existing crops, support will be needed to scale up these initiatives. While these restoration activities have the potential to create jobs in rural and island areas, further work should ensure benefits genuinely flow to local communities, and that communities who have a strong cultural connection to peat can build a new relationship with it as a carbon sink.

Discussion points - We would appreciate feedback on:

  • Are there other crosscutting themes that we should consider alongside the Just Transition Commission's recommendations?
  • Are you / your organisation aware of any examples of existing action that is relevant to the delivery of the above themes?


Email: justtransition@gov.scot

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