Regional scale integrated land use planning to meet multiple objectives: good in theory but challenging in practice

Leo Peskett, Marc J Metzger, Kirsty Blackstock

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

Pressure is increasing globally to deliver integrated land use at large spatial scales (10–100 s km2) to address the climate and biodiversity emergencies through delivery of nature-based solutions. There is also pressure to decentralise land use decision-making to sub-national levels of government and multi-stakeholder partnerships, with the aim of improving policy targeting, coordination and participation. Whilst there has been significant research on these issues at smaller spatial and administrative scales, it is limited at larger scales. This paper addresses this gap, investigating whether the introduction of additional regional institutions can help address these challenges. It draws insights from Scotland’s decade old Land Use Strategy (LUS) and evolving Regional Land Use Partnerships (RLUPs) that aim to mitigate climate change through encouraging improved and integrated land use and land management. We find that despite considerable stakeholder support, such approaches may not deliver on their ambitions. An overarching finding relates to the importance of political commitment to implementation at these larger scales, which is crucial for establishing clear objectives, giving regions authority to respond to regional priorities, and ensuring adequate resourcing. This affects buy-in from stakeholders and the resolution of policy coordination challenges that the partnerships are meant to address. It has wider implications for the delivery of national climate policies, given the importance of land management in most climate change strategies. The insights, and the analytical framework used, are relevant for any country grappling with the challenge of implementing nature-based solutions at ever larger scales whilst bridging local and national land use priorities.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)292-304
JournalEnvironmental Science & Policy
Early online date6 Jul 2023
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sept 2023

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • Climate change
  • Integrated land use
  • Nature-based solutions
  • Partnership
  • Regional governance
  • Scale
  • Scotland


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