A Greener Scotland....

"My vision is for a rural Scotland that is growing in prosperity and in population."

Rural communities that are well served, with a vibrant local school, a busy community owned village hall, and which have new and growing businesses.

And that means local communities enjoying a bigger direct benefit from Scotland’s vast energy resources. I want to see the devolution of the Crown Estates Commission so we can deliver a direct Community Benefit from Scotland’s offshore wealth.

Scotland can also generate greater wealth and opportunity from our vast natural resources. That means increasing the money we make from exporting the world-class produce from our land and from our seas. It means fully exploiting the new opportunities that are emerging from the sustainable management of our environment, whether that is a growing forest estate or the expansion of local biomass energy generation from food or farm waste.

Over this next decade I want to see more people living and working in rural Scotland. That means making it more difficult to close rural schools and making it much easier for rural communities to kick-start their own initiatives. I want to see underused public sector assets put to good use by communities themselves.

And as we move to meet the climate change challenge, I want to see more people able to live and work in our countryside. I am determined that the digital revolution benefits rural as well as urban Scots. Over these next four years we will be working hard to extend broadband throughout rural Scotland. This can open up new opportunities for a different way of living and working that encourage strong and growing rural towns and villages and respects and protects our environment.

Climate change presents us with many challenges, but it also provides a wealth of opportunity for Scotland given our expertise and enterprise that can bring new jobs and greater prosperity across our nation.

We all have a part to play - government, communities, businesses and individuals. We want more Scots to live in carbon neutral communities and will continue to support and encourage local and community action.

Scotland’s rural economy is at the heart of a successful Scotland. The Scottish Rural Development Programme has been supporting jobs and growth in rural Scotland and will continue into the next Parliament.

One of the biggest success stories since 2007 has been Scotland's food and drink sector with a large  increase in the value of sales of Scottish produce, and our determination to grow the sector to £12.5 billion by 2017. This has helped create and support jobs across Scotland.{C}