Radical Rethink On Land Reform Underway
24th July 2012
A radical review of land reform will deliver a more successful Scotland with stronger communities and economic growth, First Minister Alex Salmond said on Wednesday 24th July 2012.
Speaking in Skye where a summer cabinet meeting was convened, Mr Salmond revealed details of a new Land Reform Review Group that will oversee a wide ranging review of land reform in Scotland.
Dr Alison Elliot, who has extensive experience working in the community and voluntary sector, will chair the group. She will be joined by Professor James Hunter and Dr Sarah Skerratt as vice chairpeople, who have experience of the Highlands and Islands and rural development.
A further 10 advisers - with expertise in areas such as property and land issues, economics, legal issues, community-led organisations, landownership, forestry and access - will also be appointed to the group shortly.
It is anticipated that the Land Reform Review Group will report in a series of stages to Scottish Ministers, providing consideration of what the outcomes of land reform should be and what reforms are required. By the end of 2013 the Scottish Government would expect a report on any legislative changes that are required to allow this to be taken forward.
Mr Salmond said:"Land reform is an important part of Scotland's story. From the Crofting Acts of the 1880s and 1890s to the more recent right-to-buy legislation and support for community land purchase, significant progress has been made.
"We cannot underestimate the crucial part land reform will play in contributing to the future success of Scotland for the next generation. By improving the relationship between our land and people, we can create stronger communities and deliver the economic growth and fairer society that the people of Scotland quite rightly expect.
"I want this review to deliver radical change for both rural and urban areas, developing new ideas which will improve current legislation as well as generating even more innovative proposals. The expertise and experience of those on the group will be key to its success and that's why I'm delighted Alison, James and Sarah have agreed to take forward this important project."
Dr Elliot said:"I am delighted to take this opportunity to review land reform in Scotland.
"I want to take a look at all the opportunities that exist to promote more communities taking control of their future by taking control of their land.
"I expect it will be an interesting, and challenging job and I look forward to getting up and down the country promoting debate."
The review of Scotland's land reform legislation through a Land Reform Review Group is a manifesto commitment.
The Review Group will finalise the remit of its work and prepare a workplan to be agreed by Ministers. It is expected that Ministers will agree to the plan in the autumn.
The Review Group will engage proactively with all parties involved in and have an interest in Land Reform in Scotland, whether access users, access provides, community bodies, crofting community bodies, community land organisations, landowners, Registered Social Landowners (housing associations), local and planning authorities and other public sector bodies, and sustainable development, including rural sustainable development in Scotland. The Group will take into account the varying, and in some case conflicting needs of these various groups and act as an independent assessor of their views and needs.
An 'Overview of Evidence on Land Reform in Scotland' research paper is published today. It surveyed all existing evidence relating to a number of aspects of land reform, and highlights a number of issues that are of particular relevance to the Land Reform Review. The report is available at: Overview of Evidence on Land Reform in Scotland
The Scottish Government's new £6 million Scottish Land Fund, which provides support for community buy-outs, is now open for applications. More information at: Scottish Land Fund