Shetland MSP and Scottish Liberal Democrat, Beatrice Wishart has questioned an expert panel on the future of land use. During a session of the Rural Affairs, Islands and Natural Environment (RAINE) Committee the panel discussed with MSPs the post-Brexit landscape, future of food security, promoting greater biodiversity and supporting women in agriculture.
In the first half of the session Ms Wishart questioned the balance of future management for land and biodiversity loss. Panellists highlighted the need to restore habitats on a croft by croft, farm by farm basis.
In the second half of the session Ms Wishart asked about the opportunities to expand woodland on common grazings. Experts also pointed to the potential of planting woodland on common grazings while specifying that not all land would necessarily be the best to help redress carbon levels, while peatland could be seen as a more effective carbon sink when restored.
After the session Ms Wishart said:
“We face the challenge of developing Scotland’s own model for food production but it is also an opportunity. This allows us to look at how we grow food, how we can make it sustainable, as healthy and affordable as possible, and available to all.
“With COP 26 just around the corner it focuses minds. Environmentalism should be a thread considered through all our decisions.
“The panellist’s comment about croft by croft, farm by farm restoration highlights to me that we are not looking for a ‘one-size-fits-all’ model. Local input and accountability should be baked in from the start.
“We have learnt the lessons from the previous set up which at one point prioritised unsustainable practices creating meat mountains and seas of butter. I look forward to the future work of the committee as we grow ever closer to developing a new framework for Scotland’s land use and food production.”