Date lodged: 24 July 2017
To ask the Scottish Government what action it is taking to (a) promote and (b) improve the sustainability of (i) agricultural and (ii) wild land.
Answered by: Fergus Ewing 15 August 2017
(i) Agricultural land
The Scottish Government continues to promote and improve the sustainability of agricultural land through the provision of Direct Payments and the Scottish Rural Development Programme (SRDP) of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP). Since 2015, farmers in receipt of CAP direct payments have been required to carry out relevant Greening measures on their land. Introduced by the European Commission to make the direct payments system more environmentally friendly, the Scottish Government has taken an ambitious approach to delivering environmental outcomes through Greening, in order to address a range of environmental challenges, particularly in relation to climate change and biodiversity. The SRDP supports farming and crofting, including on remote and fragile land, agri-environment actions on agricultural land and a Farm Advisory Service which includes advice for farmers on resource efficiency and environmental and climate change actions.
(ii) Wild lands
Scotland’s scenery and landscapes remain the key motivation for visiting Scotland and the Scottish Government will continue to work closely with our public and private sector partners to promote our wild lands in order to drive inclusive growth in our visitor economy and to deliver a high-quality, sustainable visitor experience. In 2014 the Scottish Government adopted National Planning Framework 3 and a revised Scottish Planning Policy. They identified areas of wild land, as shown on the Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) 2014 Map, as a nationally important asset that requires significant protection from inappropriate development. This policy commitment is underpinned by a broader recognition, as clearly stated in National Planning Framework 3, that our world-class environment is an integral part of our culture, heritage and identity that we will respect and enhance.