Scottish Borders Council has welcomed the announcement by Paul Wheelhouse, Minister for Environment and Climate Change, on the Land Use Strategy pilot for the Borders which will consider how land is currently used and where improvements can be made in an innovative and ground breaking way
The Land Use Strategy seeks a more integrated approach to land management in recognition of the increasing number of pressures and demands placed upon our natural assets.
It is underpinned by an ecosystems approach which aims to balance the conservation of natural resources, to maintain essential functions such as provision of clean water, with the way we use them to provide essentials such as food and timber. Central to this approach is involving people in the process and seeking to achieve multiple benefits.
This work will guide future decisions by the government and across the public sector.
Rob Dickson, Director, Environment and Infrastructure, commented: “We hope that this innovative pilot can support our communities by developing a focused programme of rural development, working with the Scottish Government and enabling the Council to develop and implement policies which support economic growth but also protect the environment and available natural resources. This pilot is a most welcome opportunity to improve how we are able to manage these pressures.”
The Scottish Government is keen that the process is led by local authorities. SBC has recognised that this needs to be done in conjunction with land managers and other relevant stakeholders and will be working closely with Tweed Forum, a partnership body dedicated to integrated land and water management.
Bob Kay, Chair of Tweed Forum, said: “Tweed Forum has a good track record of working with farmers and land managers to bring about practical work on the ground that achieves multiple benefits. We have demonstrated that habitat restoration can be integrated effectively into farming systems with knock on benefits for biodiversity, water quality, flood attenuation, fisheries and carbon sequestration, to name but a few. “