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A number of EU and international legislations and regulations, most directly the CAP and the Rural Development Regulation, but also, for example, the Water Framework Directive, Kyoto Protocol and the Gothenburg agreement on biodiversity, set the framework for commitments and obligations for land management in Scotland. Below that, British policy initiatives such as the Sustainable Development Strategy define policy commitments at UK level to be fulfilled by Scotland . The Scottish Executive has responded by developing, in collaboration with a wide range of stakeholders, several strategies for different land use sectors, e.g. agriculture and forestry, and land use related-topics such as biodiversity and organic farming, which translate the international and UK-wide commitments into national policy drivers. All these different policy legislations and national strategy documents define a number of specific commitments to be fulfilled by the Scottish Executive at a certain point of time. Table 28.1 provides a summary of some of the most relevant commitments for agriculture and the environment and when they need to be achieved.

Some of the commitments listed have been fulfilled on time such as the implementation of the CAP reform measures (decoupling and cross compliance). For other commitments like the Water Framework Directive, the first steps have been achieved (the implementation of the Water Environment and Water Services (WEWS) ( Scotland ) Act 2003), and detailed timetables have been put in place to achieve the final commitment. On the other hand, commitments related to organic farming and forestry appear unlikely to be achieved on time.

Table 32.1 : Specific commitments to be fulfilled by the Scottish Executive

Policy legislation or strategy


To be fulfilled by:
2005 2006 2007 2010 2015 2016 2020 2021 2030 2050

Common Agricultural Policy Reform

To implement:

  • Decoupling of direct payments
  • Compulsory EU-Modulation
  • Cross Compliance










Water Framework Directive

  • To protect, enhance and restore all bodies of surface water with the aim of achieving good surface water status
  • To protect, enhance and restore all bodies of groundwater with the aim of achieving good groundwater











Gothenburg EU summit

  • To halt biodiversity decline











Sustainable Development Strategy

  • Reducing carbon dioxide emission by 60% until 2050 (based on 2003 Energy White Paper)











  • Reducing carbon dioxide emission by 20% below 1990 levels by 2010











Partnership agreements

  • To implement LMCs to deliver reformed CAP











  • To generate 40% of Scottish energy from renewable energy sources (including wood and energy crops)











Forward Strategy for Agriculture

  • To take a joined-up approach to agriculture and environmental policies and finding solutions which are good for the environment and good for business
  • To develop environmental policies in partnership with the farming industry and environmental sector moving towards a more integrated whole farm approach
  • To ensure that publicly funded incentives for environmentally friendly land management are part of an integrated, complementary and comprehensive whole.











Scottish Forestry Strategy

  • To double timber production over the next 15 years











  • To maximize the value to the Scottish economy of harvest resources over the next 20 years











  • To restructure forests (composition of tree species) to ensure that forests make a positive contribution to the environment
  • To increase land cover by forests and woodlands to 25%











Scottish Biodiversity Strategy

  • Scotland is recognized as a world leader in biodiversity conservation. Everyone is involved, everyone benefits and the nation is enriched.
  • To halt the loss of biodiversity and continue to reverse previous losses through targeted action for species and habitats
  • To develop an effective management framework that ensures biodiversity is taken into account in all decision making
  • To ensure that the best new and existing knowledge on biodiversity is available to all policy makers and practitioners











Organic Action Plan

  • To increase the share of Scottish organic products to at least 70% (by value) of overall Scottish consumer demand for organic products
  • To double the area of arable land and improved grassland in organic conversion or production, so that these areas comprise 30% of Scotland ’s organic area, against a current 15%
  • To take into account support for organic farming in the development of LMCs











Given these latest figures, a significant change in the amount of arable land and improved grassland converted to organic production is required (a yearly increase of 4.66 percent in the share) to fulfill the commitment that these areas comprise 30% of Scotland’s organic area by 2007 . However, with the decoupling of direct payments from production and the introduction of the Single Farm Payment (SFP) in 2005, farmers began to express more interest in converting to organic production. The next couple of years will show to what extent the introduction of the SFP has had a positive impact on the development of organic farming.

Organic Farming >>