APRS Resources

APRS Strategy

Taking the Long View: APRS’s Five Year Strategy 2024-2029

This is APRS’s New Strategy 2024-2026 spanning the time either side of our centenary in 2026. We believe that it is a critical time for action on the climate and nature crises. Climate breakdown, and the actions we take to mitigate and adapt, will inevitably affect Scotland’s landscape and APRS has a critical role in bringing joined-up and long term thinking to the issues.

Preamble:  

Our landscapes record the long history of Scotland: from deep geological time, through glaciations, changing ecosystems and the imprint of humans upon the land; over the millennia, and in more recent land-use decisions. In the landscape context people, place, nature, economy, wellbeing, and livelihoods are all connected.

The period of this strategy includes both our centenary, and the most critical years for action on the climate and nature crises. Climate breakdown, and the actions we take to mitigate and adapt, will inevitably affect Scotland’s landscape and APRS has a critical role in bringing joined-up and long term thinking to the issues.

APRS has always recognised that our countryside and landscapes are constantly changing and has strived to ensure that land-use decisions bequeath to future generations a countryside that is at least as beautiful, biodiverse and rewarding, as that which we enjoy today.

Our activities today will be written in the landscape of the future. In the next five years we want to ask “What do we want Scotland to be like in 100 years and how can we make decisions today that help us get there?”

Our Vision:

All of Scotland’s people, communities and wider society benefit from our rural landscapes and countryside and have the opportunity to be involved in enjoying, protecting and enhancing them for the benefit of future generations.

Our Mission:

APRS is Scotland’s countryside charity. We campaign to protect, enhance and promote Scotland’s countryside and rural landscapes for everyone’s benefit, and we support others to do the same.

What we Do   

  • We campaign on behalf of Scotland’s countryside and rural landscapes, as central to a thriving Scotland, and vital to deal with the nature and climate crises.
  • We support communities to campaign for their local countryside and landscapes by creating guidance, training, giving advice and connecting campaigners. 
  • We promote the importance of Scotland’s countryside and rural landscapes for people, nature and climate
  • We work in partnership with civil society and public bodies to deliver our objectives

Our Values:

Knowledgeable: 

We are respected for the knowledge held by our staff and volunteers and are sought out to provide balanced guidance and advice. Our online publications are seen as a source of authority.

Empowering: 

We offer help, advice and support to individuals and communities, empowering them to campaign for their local countryside and landscapes.

Collaborative: 

We work with others and form partnerships so we can make the greatest difference and work to our strengths. Our small size makes us flexible and fleet of foot and we can move swiftly.

Approachable: 

We are a place where everyone feels included and welcome– those with years of experience and knowledge, and those coming to our work for the first time, whatever their background.  

Persistent  

Sometimes campaigns take time, but we are persistent and unflappable. We have a century of history and experience behind us, we see the long-view and set out to change things that need stickability and determination. We get things done.

Our Strategy 2024-2028

Scotland’s landscapes place quality of life as well being at the heart of good policy making: drawing together strands from across Government policy including communities, culture, economy, wellbeing, agriculture, nature, climate, and economy. In order to protect, enhance and promote Scotland’s rural landscapes we need to think and act with the bigger picture in mind. 

When working on landscape issues it is natural to think in a more connecting way: 

Connecting the Big Issues: 

Landscape connects together the often siloed policy areas of nature, people, housing, transport, energy, agriculture, economy, climate.  In particular landscape, by its nature, brings together people and their environment: natural and built, and we see landscapes as being the product of natural and human processes.

Connecting People and Place: 

Landscape connects people to place, both those who have been here for generations and more recent arrivals. Scotland’s landscape can foster a strong sense of belonging, connection of language to land and inspiration for artists, poets, writers. Landscapes provide livelihoods, contribute to wellbeing, and we believe that everyone has a right to access nourishing, beautiful places and landscapes, no matter their background. People have shaped the landscapes we know and we, in turn, shape the landscapes of the future. 

Connecting Past and Future: 

Landscape provides continuity between past, present and future: the landscape bears the imprint of deep geological time, the last glaciation, past habitats and past lives and livelihoods. The impact of climate change and decisions we make today will determine what our future landscape will be like.   

Our role:

We want Scotland’s landscapes to be seen as key to a thriving Scotland, and at the heart of rural and urban life.  APRS is a vital part of the policy and NGO ecosystem in Scotland, making unique and essential contributions: We cover all rural landscapes in Scotland from the countryside of the peri-urban and greenbelts, out to the farmland, woodlands, villages, mountainscapes and coasts of rural Scotland and everything in between.

  • Our work is on the interface between communities and nature/culture/heritage: landscapes are the product of human interaction over thousands of years and so people are a vital component in our work.
  • Our 100-year history helps us see the long-term view and brings persistence to our campaigning.  
  • Our remit brings together countryside and the built environment: we cannot protect the countryside without thinking of the built environment.
  • Our small size and personal approach means we can be nimble and work naturally in partnership.

Our Strategic Themes 2024-2029:

Connecting the Big Issues

We will work on landscape issues that draw together the big issues of the day and challenge siloed thinking. We use the lens of landscape to encourage better policy making

Activities:
  • We will continue to intervene on behalf of Scotland’s countryside and rural landscapes in policy making, making the case for Scotland’s landscapes to be seen as the key to a thriving Scotland, and at the heart of rural and urban life.
  • we will use our experience and successes in Scotland to support colleagues across the UK countries campaigning on policy eg deposit return, planning policy
  • We will centre landscape in the work being done to deal with the nature and climate emergencies and a just transition
  • We will Build on our successes by:
  • continue to campaign on the circular economy to see producer responsibility as key and encouraging transformation of systems to eliminate waste
  • monitoring the effectiveness of NPF4 in the areas of community involvement, brownfield, housing, climate and nature and use this in further policy work on planning.
  • We will contribute on issues where people, communities, nature and landscape intersect, acknowledging the key role of people within the landscape: eg in land-reform, rural housing, taxing land better
Connecting People and Place

We will help people from all backgrounds to connect with and value landscape and empower them to protect and enhance the landscapes and countryside where they live.   

Activities:
  • Support people to campaign in their local communities by:
  • Developing our online guidance  
  • Expanding capacity to give planning advice 
  • Delivering training  for communities
  • Expanding the greenbelts alliance
  • Continuing contact with litter picking volunteers after DRS is implemented with possible ‘Love Your Countryside’ campaign
  • Celebrate a new National Park in 2026, and  promote a longer term strategy for more by 2030. Engage more people and communities through enthusiasm generated in the nominations process.  
  • Advocate for a rights-based approach for people’s access to beautiful landscapes and countryside 
  • Deliver a significant new project to support communities to engage with Local Development Plans 
  • Being more relevant to more people in Scotland, and a wider diversity of people  
Connecting Past and future

We will highlight the importance of the long view in policy and planning and will use the opportunity of our centenary to convene a national conversation on Scotland’s landscapes and countryside in the next century.

Activities:
  • Hold a national conversation to build a vision for Scotland’s landscapes and countryside for the next 100 years
  • Research our history, create an online archive and write the stories of our past to inspire action in the future
  •  Centenary fundraising appeal and membership push that will secure our future for the next 100 years 
Supporting Strand: Making it Happen

We will resource and deliver the strands of our strategy through effective collaboration with partners, funders and communities, by building on our strengths and expertise, growing our supporter base and donations, and by making best use of our volunteers

Activities
  • Working with partners, volunteers and through LINK to maximise our effectiveness.
  • Create a wide supporter base in social media followers, and registrations to the e-bulletin, and a supporter journey to grow those who support us financially and practically
  • To diversify our leadership, starting in the council with the aim to have more younger and diverse backgrounds represented.   
  • To involve more young people in our work, through working with students in the areas of planning and landscape architecture and community engagement
  • To cover more of our core funding from memberships and donations
  • To grow funding to enable us to maintain and expand our core team 
  • To build the profile of APRS as a lead on landscape and countryside issues in Scotland, including in the circular economy
  • Foster a supportive working environment to nurture a strong and high-performing staff team.
  • Annual appeals and a special centenary appeal
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