Consultation: Scotland's Third Land Use Strategy

Closed 17 Jan 2021

Opened 2 Dec 2020

Feedback updated 24 Mar 2021

We asked

For views on a draft of Scotland’s Land Use Strategy 2021 – 2026, including its vision, objectives and a new approach to make the Strategy more accessible to those with a wider general interest in land.

You said

We received a total of 86 responses to the public consultation, split almost evenly between organisations and individuals. 45 (52%) of these were from organisations, including membership representative bodies, businesses, campaign groups, charities, public sector bodies and research institutions. The remaining 41 (48%) responses were submitted by individuals.

In general responses to the draft Strategy were positive. Key proposals such as the move to a landscape approach were endorsed as a promising way of making the Strategy accessible and engaging beyond traditional land-based sectors. There were comments and requests for changes to be made to the detail, structure and presentation of the document where often no consensus could be reached.

We did

We have published responses to the consultation, where permission has been given to do so by respondents, and an independent analysis of the consultation responses (link below).

Alongside the final Strategy we have published our official response outlining the approach to consultation and explaining how consultation responses informed the final content and structure of the Strategy. This document is available at:

Published responses

View submitted responses where consent has been given to publish the response.


Our land is one of our greatest national assets and it plays a fundamental role in supporting our environment, economy and our health and wellbeing. In recognition of this the Climate Change (Scotland) Act 2009 placed a statutory duty on Scottish Ministers to produce and publish a Land Use Strategy. This in turn must be reviewed on a five yearly basis.

Scotland’s Land Use Strategy is a strategic document that sets out our vision for achieving sustainable land use in Scotland, the objectives and the policies and actions that will help deliver it. Scotland’s first Land Use Strategy was published in 2011, this was then followed by the second Strategy in 2016.

Our Third Land Use Strategy is now due for publication in March 2021 and is the topic of this consultation. Whilst the overarching purpose of the Strategy remains the same - demonstrating our ambition for sustainable land use - our intention is that Scotland’s Third Land Use Strategy will be different from the previous ones in two key areas.

Firstly, our aim is to present a strategy that reaches beyond audiences that have a vested interest in land use and is engaging to as many people as possible across Scotland. To do this we have redesigned the proposed language and layout, and introduced a landscapes approach to highlighting Scottish Government policies and actions happening on the ground, to demonstrate just how important land use is to every person across Scotland. 

Secondly, and contrary to the previous two Strategies, the new Strategy does not contain any new policy proposals developed specifically for its publication. Instead it brings together key strands of various Scottish Government policies that touch on land use, and showcases how these various areas fit together.

Why your views matter

Although we are not consulting on the specific policies that have been included as part of the draft Strategy, we are seeking views on the Land Use Strategy’s overarching strategic ambition. In particular we would like your views on our long term vision and objectives, as well as views on areas such as the proposed landscape based approach to raise awareness on land use in Scotland. Through this consultation we are also issuing a call for evidence on the impact of land use and land use change on equality issues and we would be very grateful for your input in this.

Please note that we have combined the consultation paper and the draft Strategy into one accessible document therefore the full content is available via the online portal below. Should you wish to view the combined document out with the consultation portal it is available as a pdf through the following link:

Read the consultation paper as a pdf.

Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA)

As highlighted above, the policy content of the next Land Use Strategy has been drawn from existing Scottish Government Strategies, Plans and policies. As per the Environmental Assessment (Scotland) Act 2005 we have considered our statutory requirements and, although the screening process has indicated a SEA is not required, we are committed to undertaking a voluntary SEA which shall be published alongside the final Strategy document in March 2021. This SEA will help us understand the synergy between the various strategies, plans and policies we are drawing from and moving forward how to overcome potential areas of conflict and maximise environmental benefits.  

What happens next

Where respondents have given permission for their response to be made public, and after we have checked that they contain no potentially defamatory material, responses will be made available to the public at If you used this consultation hub to respond, you will have received a copy of your response via email.

Following the closing date, all responses will be analysed and considered along with any other available evidence to help us. Responses will be published where we have been given permission to do so. An analysis report will also be made available.

The third Land Use Strategy will be published in March 2021.


  • Environment and Climate Change
  • Equality, Welfare and Rights
  • Farming and Rural