The Scottish Land Commission will be established by 1 April 2017, Environment Secretary Roseanna Cunningham announced today, as she set out the Scottish Government's environment priorities for the new session of the Parliament.

Constituted under the Land Reform (Scotland) Act 2016, the Commission willl have a broad remit to review the impact and effectiveness of laws and policies relating to land in Scotland and recommend changes.

Other priorities Ms Cunningham confirmed to MSPs today are a review of wildlife crime prevention, a consultation in early summer on a public register of controlling interests in land, also under the 2016 Act, and setting a more ambitious climate change target of  reducing actual Scottish emissions by at least 50% by 2020.

The Cabinet Secretary said: “Our land, our air, our seas, our climate, our flora and our fauna – there can be no doubt that our stunning natural environment is one of Scotland’s most precious assets. How we own, manage, control, conserve, promote, support and develop all of these individually and collectively matter hugely to this Government’s ambitions for our country.

“Put simply, they form the backbone upon which a fairer Scotland and a strong, sustainable, low carbon economy can and should be built. Our natural capital is a national asset and, like any other asset, we must ensure that it remains in good condition now and for the future."

She added: “On land reform, our new Act seeks to transform our relationship with the land while helping to create a fairer Scotland. We will introduce a mandatory public register of landowners' controlling interests and I can announce today that the consultation will begin in early summer. I feel hugely privileged to be leading the Government’s work to develop the idea of the environment as a public good that we need to protect and grow.”