New milestone in Scotland’s land reform journey

02/10/2023
Hamish Trench

THE BODY responsible for advising on reforms to land ownership and use has set out its agenda for positive change at a key time for Scotland’s land.

The Scottish Land Commission has played a major role in guiding the government on the pivotal subject, which is at the heart of the biggest issues of the time – from the transition to net zero, nature crises, housing shortages, economic prosperity and wealth inequality.

Its new strategy focuses on people, power and prosperity – recognising the challenges in changing centuries of concentrated land ownership as well as the opportunities to deliver on Scotland’s ambitions for climate, communities and the economy.

Hamish Trench, Chief Executive, said: “People connect to Scotland’s land in many powerful ways. Land is central to Scotland’s big national ambitions for local democracy, climate, nature and economy and it matters enormously to people at a local level in both urban and rural communities.

“Scotland’s land reform journey is about to take another important step with the forthcoming land reform bill from the Scottish Government. It is important we also continue momentum in shaping wider changes in law, policy and practice because land reform can help drive delivery in many areas from housing and development to nature and community development.

The plan outlines the Land Commission’s combination of bold thinking and research to shape changes in law and policy and its commitment to working with landowners, managers and communities to provide advice and support tangible change on the ground.

In the next three years, it is set to expand its work to enable people to participate in and influence decisions about land; diversify power and control in land ownership and governance as well as how Scotland uses the value and benefits of land to create national economic prosperity.

The new strategic plan builds on the extensive work of the Commission so far. As well as significant research and reform proposals informing the proposed land reform bill, the Commission has published a much wider series of analysis and recommendations to transform vacant and derelict land, improve housing land supply, normalise community ownership, reform taxation of land value, and ensure rising land values and net zero investment deliver a just transition.

Hamish added “This is an exciting time in Scotland’s land when reforms to how we own and use land can really make a difference to individuals, communities and to our big national ambitions for net zero and economic transformation.”

The launch of the Scottish Land Commission’s strategic plan comes as pivotal positions have become available at the organisation, with the Scottish Government seeking to appoint a new Chair as well as two Land Commissioners, to help drive its work over the coming years.

The public body’s vision is that the ownership and use of land supports thriving people and places.

The Scottish Land Commission provides advice and recommendations for reforms to law and policy as well as leadership for change in culture and practice, working to create a Scotland where everybody can benefit from the ownership and use of the nation’s land and buildings.

To read the Scottish Land Commission’s Strategic Plan 2023-26, please visithttps://www.landcommission.gov.scot/downloads/6515370566d30_SLC%20Strategic%20Plan%202023-2026_English%20Digital%20FINAL.pdf.

To find out more about the Scottish Land Commission, please visit https://www.landcommission.gov.scot/

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