Scottish farming and wildlife organisations have united to call for government support for measures that could help address the climate and biodiversity crisis.
The Scottish Wildlife Trust (SWT) and NFU Scotland (NFUS) have identified measures that could be coordinated through the new Regional Land Use Partnerships (RLUPs) as they are developed across the country.
They include encouraging more efficient use of nitrates; work to assess and improve soil health; coordinated action to re-naturalise rivers and create new riparian woodland; and support to tackle invasive non-native species on a landscape scale.
Farming champions such as organic livestock farmer Carey Coombs , an industry “Champion for change”, said the agricultural industry had an almost unparalleled ability to support positive environmental change.
“Unlocking this potential could create great rewards, both for wildlife and for people,” he said.
“New networks of wildlife-rich hedgerows could criss-cross Scotland, rivers could be revitalised and shaded by trees, and farm businesses could lessen their carbon and nitrogen emissions.
“Achieving our vision will require both public funding and a supporting framework of regulation. We hope the Scottish Government will take action to ensure that the relationship between farming and the natural environment becomes increasingly beneficial.”
NFUS director of policy, Jonnie Hall said the union shared the same vision as the SWT.
He added: “We know that across all sectors, there will be difficult choices ahead and we want to see policies implemented that support all farmers and crofters, enabling them to be profitable and sustainable whilst delivering on our obligation to reduce our carbon footprint and help Scotland’s natural environment recover from its current state of crisis.”