12 February 2021

Aberdeenshire and Aberdeen City councils selected to pilot new Regional Land Use Partnership

Aberdeenshire and Aberdeen City councils have been selected to pilot a new partnership for the North East Region which will help develop Scotland’s approach to land use in support of green recovery and transition to net zero.

Five Regional Land Use Partnerships will help national and local government, communities, landowners and stakeholders work together to find ways to optimise land use in a fair and inclusive way – meeting local and national objectives and supporting the journey to net zero.

In addition to the North-East Region pilot, partnerships will focus on the Cairngorms National Park, Highland Council, Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park and the South of Scotland (Dumfries and Galloway and Scottish Borders Councils).

The Scottish Government will work with the pilot groups to test approaches to partnership governance that best suit the local situation and priorities which will help inform future decisions on wider establishment of Partnerships.

Paul Macari, Head of Planning and Environment at Aberdeenshire Council, said: “We are delighted to have been selected along with Aberdeen City Council to play a key role in the Regional Land Use Partnership pilot for the North-east.

“This will provide an opportunity for collaborative working and shared learning with many partners, stakeholders and the other partnerships on progressing the development of an RLUP for the region. We look forward to exploring the opportunities this new collaborative approach will provide to help deliver our climate change and environment-related ambitions for land use and support the post Covid-19 economic recovery across the North-East.”

Aberdeen City Council planning development management committee convener, Councillor Marie Boulton, said: “We welcome this opportunity to work with Aberdeenshire Council and other partners across the North-east on this pilot. In light of our commitment to achieving Net Zero, and the pivotal role that land use will play in meeting that commitment, we look forward to building on the success of the regional partnership formed through the Strategic Development Plan Authority to achieve these goals.” 

Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform Secretary Roseanna Cunningham said: “Scotland’s commitment to tackling the twin crisis of climate change and biodiversity loss is unwavering. Our journey to net zero will be transformational and touch every aspect of our lives. Our approach to land use will be vital to achieving our objectives.

“Given Scotland’s unique and diverse natural environment, there is no one-size-fits-all approach to land use, and it is right that we use and empower local knowledge and expertise to guide our journey. It is also important to recognise that land use development is not just a rural matter – it is something that concerns every corner of the country, which is why I am pleased that urban areas will also be included in the pilot scheme.

“It is critical that we ensure a just transition to net zero, one that leaves no-one behind. These Partnerships will take a collaborative and inclusive approach to supporting decision-making, making sure they meet local priorities while supporting our national endeavour to end Scotland’s contribution to climate change.”

Enabling regional land use partnerships is a Programme for Government 2019/20 commitment, reaffirmed in 2020/2021.

The Scottish Land Commission (SLC) published recommendations for Regional Land Use Partnership implementation on 3 November 2020.

Local planning authorities, as part of the indicative Regional Spatial Strategy (iRSS) network, were invited to express an interest in becoming a Regional Land Use Partnership (RLUP) pilot. This approach was recommended by the SLC, and will support synergies between iRSS and RLUP objectives.