Land is one of Scotland's most fundamental and prized assets. Our land is linked to ideas of well-being, social justice, opportunity and identity, and is key to the success and development of Scotland's people and communities alike.
Decisions relating to land can help deliver social, economic and environmental opportunities, but such decisions can also impact on local community aspirations for sustainable development. Positive engagement between those with control over land and communities supports the Scottish Government's ambition for inclusive growth, which we define as the mutually supportive pillars of competitiveness and tackling inequality.
The idea of engagement is not new. Public bodies, including the Scottish Government and local authorities, already consult or engage the public about many decisions they make, and in certain circumstances the Scottish planning system requires developers to engage with communities in the vicinity of their proposed developments. Alongside this, I welcome the fact that, in many cases, land owners and land managers are engaging local people, and working with local communities for their mutual benefit. I want to see more of this collaboration. I believe that the practical Guidance, once finalised following this consultation, will be a success if it promotes fairness about decision-making relating to land, and helps to establish positive engagement as the norm.
The Scottish Government has worked with stakeholders across the private, community, third and public sectors to produce the draft Guidance. When published, it will be relevant to all types of land owner and land manager and we are now seeking further views on the content of this draft. Its success will require collective buy-in and promotion of the importance of effective engagement. Therefore, I invite all those who have a view on engaging communities in decisions about land to contribute to the further development of the Guidance by responding to this consultation.
I am passionate about land reform, and about promoting community engagement in decisions relating to land. Getting this Guidance right requires your input, and I hope that everyone with an interest will respond.
Cabinet Secretary for Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform
Email: Land Reform Team