The national Land Use Strategy setting out Scottish Government’s long-term vision for sustainable land, identifies Regional Land Use Partnerships (RLUPs) as a mechanism to address the twin emergencies of Climate Change and biodiversity loss, and help us on our journey to a Just Transition to Net Zero .

The RLUPs will help national and local government, communities, landowners, and stakeholders work together to optimise sustainable land use in a fair and inclusive way.  The South of Scotland pilot is led by SOSE, Dumfries and Galloway Council and Scottish Borders Council.  It is one of 5 RLUP pilots, the others being Aberdeenshire, Highland, Cairngorms National Park Authority and Loch Lomond & Trossachs National Park Authority.

Regional Land Use Partnership and Framework

The partnership is to operate in three phases:

  • Phase 1 - a governance structure including establishing a partnership: by summer 2022
  • Phase 2 - the partnership will oversee development of a Regional Land Use Framework, based on a natural capital approach to prioritise land use change: by the end of 2023
  • Phase 3 - implementation of the framework and signposting and influencing public and private funding opportunities for stakeholders: from 2024 onwards.

Progress to date

A project delivery team has been established with officers from SOSE, Scottish Borders Council and Dumfries & Galloway Council.  A stakeholder engagement and communications plan has been commissioned and the evaluation of existing partnerships and collaborative working has been completed by our academic partner, the University of Edinburgh.

Phase 1: Early stakeholder engagement and Governance

A programme of one to one interviews with stakeholders, focus group meetings and an online survey has been completed and the Consultation Report can be viewed in full here.

Some of the key land use issues highlighted include loss of biodiversity, commercial forestry expansion, pest and diseases, agricultural intensification & lack of diversity in agriculture, flood management and limited opportunities for community involvement.

Feedback on a Partnership Board indicates that it should have broad representation, in terms of gender, age and background and should including community groups, environmental NGOs, food producers & retailers, local partnerships, local authorities, land managers and landowners, recreation & tourism businesses and statutory agencies.  The report on the evaluation of existing partnerships and collaborative initiatives is available here.

The Partnerships and initiatives in the region are generally supportive of the RLUP and see its potential to add value in developing a strategic vision for regional land use.  It will help coordinate policies, provide a more focussed voice for the region to influence government policy and provide a regional forum for discussions about land use. 

 Phase 2: Regional Land Use Framework

The development of the Regional Land Use Framework will be built around a Place-based approach, capturing the diversity of land uses and landscapes in the South of Scotland.  Details of this phase are being finalised with Scottish Government and will be updated here.   

Contact:  RLUP Project Manager: