Land Reform – a statement from Aileen McLeod MSP

In a statement regarding the Land Reform Bill, community ownership and the role of Community Land Scotland, Minister for Environment, Land Reform and Climate Change, Dr Aileen McLeod said:

The Land Reform Bill will fundamentally change the relationship between the people of Scotland and the land that we live, work and depend on. This Bill is the next step in what we see as Scotland’s land reform journey.

Over the past number of weeks, I have brought forward amendments to the Land Reform Bill to further strengthen an already radical Bill. This will result in fundamental improvements in how land in Scotland is owned, used and managed. These amendments will help ensure the provisions in the Bill are far reaching and best deliver for the people of Scotland.

There is a great deal of interest in who owns Scotland. I have listened very carefully to the many views expressed, including by the Rural Affairs, Climate Change and Environment Committee, in favour of greater transparency on who controls land in Scotland. This is something I believe can benefit our country, particularly communities who wish to have more of a say over how land in their area is used and managed. That is why we will amend the Land Reform Bill at stage three, to give the powers required to create a public register which will contain the information needed to give greater transparency about who controls our land.

Land ownership by communities has been going from strength to strength, and Community Land Scotland has played a huge role in making this happen. The recruitment of a new development manager, funded by the Scottish Government, will see the promotion of community ownership reach across the whole of Scotland.

Each community will also have its own set of reasons for wanting to take on the ownership of land.  The important thing is that communities are able to make the right choice for them in order to meet local needs and further sustainable development in their local area.

There are some great examples of community buyouts throughout the country – and not only in the Highlands and Islands.  Community ownership is for the whole of Scotland, urban as well as rural, and we need to celebrate those examples and spread the word about the benefits that can be achieved through community ownership of land.

10th February 2016