Green lairds

The Scottish Conservatives believe that rural communities should be at the heart of all decision-making that affects their areas. We also believe that those who own land should have the freedom to make use of it for their own personal use, but we would always encourage owners to adopt practices that help mitigate carbon emissions. For example, farmers have taken steps by planting hedge rows, using different types of animal feed, and investing in new technologies. Similarly, tree planting can help increase carbon absorption.

We acknowledge that, in recent years, there has been an increase in estates and large areas of land being bought for carbon offsetting, often referred to as ‘Green Lairds’, which we recognise can bring severe challenges, but also opportunities for rural communities, particularly if there is some way these communities can benefit. The Scottish Conservatives particularly agree that the views of rural communities and rural workers should be always at the heart of decision making around carbon offsetting.

Rural workers such as gamekeepers, land managers and others carry out difficult and skilled work to manage land and biodiversity. These workers are some of the most experienced and qualified to look after our natural environment and their work should be encouraged to continue when land changes ownership.

It is a priority for the Scottish Conservatives that the important jobs that are carried out in rural and remote areas are protected and encouraged. Without these jobs, it is incredibly difficult to manage land and biodiversity due to the loss of experience and expertise.