The Scottish Wildlife Trust has welcomed the publication of the Agriculture Bill.
Farming holds a vital place in Scotland’s culture, history and economy. It has shaped its landscapes and identity, rural economies, culinary traditions and iconic food and drink – from Scottish beef to single malt whisky.
The policies and funding incentives applied to Scottish agriculture dramatically impact the choices and actions of those managing Scotland’s land. Getting this policy right can unlock solutions for the climate and nature crises at the same time as producing high-quality food. But a paradigm shift is needed – a shift away from business-as-usual food production towards embracing nature-based solutions within all farming systems.
The Scottish Wildlife Trust’s Head of Policy, Bruce Wilson, said:
“The redesign of Scotland’s agricultural policy represents a massive opportunity. It’s clear that the Government have recognised the huge role that farmers have to play in meeting our necessarily ambitious climate and nature targets.
“Agriculture accounts for roughly 70% of Scotland’s land area so it makes sense that it has huge impacts on that land and the species and habitats found there. We need policy that allows farmers to farm with nature. It goes without saying that if we are to have any hope of meeting the Government target of reversing declines in nature by 2030 and regenerating it by 2045, agriculture will need to play a massive part.
“The published Bill sets the groundwork for helping achieve the high-level objectives for agricultural policy, but the detail around what agri-environment style schemes will enable farmers to deliver will come in secondary legislation at a later date. It is vital that this creates on the ground delivery for nature and climate friendly land management.”