Estates’ contribution to ‘wellbeing economy’ measured

A NEW report has examined the contribution that Scotland’s country estates make to our nation’s “wellbeing economy”.

The Scottish Government set 11 national outcomes to measure progress towards a “wellbeing economy”, which it defined as “an economic system that places the wellbeing of current and future generations at its core”.

A report by Biggar Economics – which was commissioned by membership body Scottish Land & Estates (SLE) – found that rural estates contribute to “at least” seven of the outcomes.

The report said that estates:

  • provide homes for 13,000 families and land for 18,500 rural enterprises;
  • attract an estimated 1.2 million Scottish residents annually to enjoy the natural environment;
  • account for 58% of Scotland’s renewable energy generating capacity;
  • make a substantial contribution to Scotland’s natural capital base through agricultural, forestry, and renewable energy operations;
  • are important for carbon sequestration potential and nature-based tourism;
  • generate an estimated £2.4 billion [of gross value each year] for the Scottish economy and support around 57,300 jobs – around one in 10 rural jobs;
  • and have huge potential to help drive efforts to establish a wellbeing economy in Scotland and could be key delivery partners for a variety of related policy priorities.

Shona Glenn, wellbeing economy lead at BiGGAR Economics, said: “There is clear evidence from the research that estates are agents for social, economic and environmental development and are providing the kind of private investment that will allow the Scottish Government to deliver on its priorities.

“The findings show that the contribution goes well beyond economic output and supporting jobs.

“Scotland’s estates are doing much to drive the creation of a wellbeing economy.”

Mark Tennant, SLE’s chairman, said: “This important research highlights and underlines where estates can and do deliver across many of the social, economic and environmental goals pursued by the Scottish Government.

“Many of the estates involved in the research are able to achieve what they do – such as peatland restoration, clean energy or innovative food production – because they operate at a large scale.

“Scale is important for delivery of ambitious Scottish Government targets and priorities regardless of who owns the land.”

He added: “The government is looking to move ahead with further land reform and we are already seeing signs of a debate harking back to the past with little relevance to modern-day realities.

“We want to see any land reform debate based on the realities of modern-day ownership and management.

“Rural estates are vibrant and progressive in their approach and see themselves as key to Scotland’s sustainable future.”

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