I was pleased to attend this Group's AGM and to get a better feel for the issues that face landowners in Scotland.
The phrase 'ecosystem services' (or services that we get from nature) was bandied about but it remains to be seen how this can be translated into benefit for landowners. In my view, landowners should not be shy. The new focus on ecosystem services does not mean a change of approach just a change of packaging. Landowners have been the custodians and providers of ecosystem services for centuries, but it is only now that someone has woken up to the importance and value of this.
This linked well to the theme of a later presentation give by Andrew Thin (Chairman of Scottish Natural Heritage). He suggested that landowners have an image problem that dates back to the Clearances in the eyes of many people. Landowners need to move on from the tweed, dog & stick image and shout louder about the positive work they do. He suggested that they also need to deal with the minority who threaten their image by acting against the public interest and he specifically mentioned raptors & access issues. It was slightly punchy stuff but I think it is a message that landowners should take onboard.