Aims and Drivers

The research tackles macro scale land use issues; focussed on Scottish Government (SG) policy and its implementation. The project will draw on insights from research elsewhere in the 2022-27 Strategic Research Programme RP to assess how widely technical or behavioural changes can be applied and the factors that may act as barriers to their success. This requires supporting and engaging with policy teams and providing evidence to support ongoing policy making processes. It also means reflecting together on the robustness of policy narratives, highlighting successes, identifying what needs to change and how these changes could be successfully implemented. Since the land use policy landscape is congested, a key research aim will be to looking for opportunities to increase policy coherence – to ensure objectives, instruments, implementation, and actors can be joined up to achieve the challenging objectives of delivering NetZero and environmental objectives.

Key policy drivers

Scotland’s Green Recovery, Environment Strategy, Just Transition and NetZero are the headline policy objectives, that fit under Scotland’s commitment to the Wellbeing Economy. Scotland’s Climate Change Plan (CCP) defines the specific policies and proposals for measures to achieve GHG emissions reductions in the LULUCF (Land Use Land Use Change Forestry) sector, whilst the Scottish Climate Change Adaptation Programme considers how to manage existing effects. Scotland’s Land Use Strategy (LUS) sets out a long-term vision for sustainable land use and the range of policies that affect Scotland land, including the Regional Land Use Partnerships and their Frameworks. The post-2024 Agricultural Support policies and developments in green finance will inform the pace, scale, and type of land use change. Important policy windows 2022-2027 include proposed Agriculture and Land Reform Bills, the next CCP, a refreshed LUS and the integration of the Biodiversity Strategy and River Basin Management Plans (2021-2027) with Net Zero will be key.