Community Land Scotland’s vision for economic recovery (Covid-19)
A bold ‘Rural New Deal’ embracing further land reform, should be one of the foundations on which to rebuild Scotland’s economy and prepare a greener future, MSPs have been told.
The way community bodies have responded to the threat of the pandemic across the land, has shown that the community ownership model works. It should now be spread further.
It has been these small local organisations, with community owners in the vanguard, which have succeeded in ensuring the Scottish Government’s ‘Stay at Home’ instruction worked on the ground. They helped protect those most at risk, and kept their communities running as best they could.
The modern community ownership movement began in Assynt, Eigg and Knoydart where the first of now nearly 600,000 acres were secured under community control. But now it embraces hundreds of rural and urban groups led by local residents, whose properties range from: islands to Highland estates; woodlands to city swimming baths; old barns and churches; houses, petrol stations and a former prisoner of war camp.
It is time for more such land and assets to be taken into local control, as a tool in our sustainable recovery. The current pattern of so much land being concentrated in so few private hands, hinders rather than contributes to the necessary rebuilding of Scotland.