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Land Reform success

Published: 29 Feb 2016 00:01

52 communities benefit from £9m Scottish Land Fund.

Land Reform Minister, Dr Aileen McLeod today (Monday 29th February) announced that £9 million has now been awarded from the Scottish Land Fund helping 52 communities, the length and breadth of Scotland purchase land.

More than 500,000 acres of land is now in community ownership in Scotland, of this over 90,000 acres has received from support through the Land Fund, benefiting 71,000 people throughout the country.

A total of 122 communities have successfully registered their interest in buying land local to their community in the Register of Community Interest in land, and The First Minister announced in her Programme for Government that the Scottish Land Fund will be increased to £10 million from 2016-20 - paving the way for further increases in community ownership as Scotland progresses towards the target of a million acres in community ownership.

Dr McLeod is today visiting community owned South Uist Estate, in the Outer Hebrides. Seventy per cent of the population of the Outer Hebrides now live on community owned land.

Commenting Dr McLeod said:

"As we approach the end of the current Scottish Land Fund, it is great to see that so many community groups have been able to purchase their own land.

" A fantastic example of a community making a real difference to the local community is here in South Uist where the community purchased the South Uist Estate in December 2006. They now manage 93,000 acres of land from sporting rights, fishing rights, croft land, various commercial and residential buildings and commercial land including quarries, fish farms and a MoD base, covering almost the whole of the islands of Benbecula, Eriskay and South Uist, as well as a number of other small islands.

"I am determined to see a more fairer and equitable distribution of land in Scotland where communities and individuals can own and use land to realise their full potential and land reform is essential to achieving this.

"Land reform has already delivered significant benefits to communities across Scotland, however I believe that the Land Reform Bill will result in real improvements in how land in Scotland is owned, used and managed and will change the relationship between the people of Scotland and the land that we live, work and depend on."