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A clear definition of 'sustainable land management' is needed says National Assembly Committee

15 July 2014

Professor Terry Marsden, Director of the Sustainable Places Institute has been acknowledged for his help as an advisor to a National Assembly's Committee in their inquiry into the future of land management in Wales. 

A clear definition of sustainable land management is needed to both protect our natural environment and the people and businesses which earn their living from it, says the National Assembly’s Environment and Sustainability Committee. The Committee believes a nationally agreed and embedded definition will bring clarity and certainty about what land managers are expected to deliver.

The Welsh uplands

Recent events, studies and reports have highlighted that a sustainable future for agriculture and our environment is by no means certain. Further, aspects of both are especially fragile and have limited resilience to unexpected change.

The Environment and Sustainability Committee visited and took evidence from a number of farms, conservation bodies, national park projects and rural businesses as part of its inquiry, producing a map showing examples of best practice in Wales and further afield. They have now made recommendations in their report to help ensure that the Welsh Government is using its policy tools to maximum effect to ensure that land is managed in a sustainable way.

The Committee makes 14 recommendations in its report including:

-  That the Welsh Government refines its definition of ‘sustainable management’. This should be done before the introduction of the Environment Bill, and preferably feature in the draft Bill the Minister for Natural and Resources and Food has committed to providing by the end of 2014.

-     That the Welsh Government explores ways in which existing schemes, such as Glastir, can be designed to empower land owners to take decisions about how sustainable land management is delivered on the ground; and

-     That the Welsh Government ensures that the Rural Development Plan and the revision of the Glastir scheme are utilised to drive better transfer of knowledge from our research centres to land managers on the ground and to support and facilitate the transfer of knowledge between land managers.

National Assembly for Wales Inquiry into Sustainable Land Management.

Sustainable Places Research Institute