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Publication - Statistics Publication

Estimate of community owned land in Scotland 2017

Published: 8 Dec 2017

The estimate of community owned land in Scotland is an annual publication that will track progress towards the Scottish Government targets.

22 page PDF

356.7kB

22 page PDF

356.7kB

Contents
Estimate of community owned land in Scotland 2017
3. Commentary

22 page PDF

356.7kB

3. Commentary

3.1 Area of community owned land ( Table 1)

As at June 2017 there were 562,230 acres in community ownership this is 2.9% of the total land area of Scotland [1] , which is 19,252,132 acres. An additional 437,770 acres has to come into community ownership by the end 2020 to achieve the target of there being one million acres in community ownership.

The area of land in community ownership can decrease as well as increase. If a community group dissolves or sells one or more of their land parcels/assets to an individual/organisation other than another community group the area associated with these land parcels/assets will no longer count towards the target of there being one million acres in community ownership by the end of 2020.

Since 1990, there has been more than a fivefold increase in the area of land in community ownership from 112,158 acres to 562,223 acres. The area of land in community ownership has generally been steadily increasing since 1990, although in some years the increase has been much larger. The purchase of one or a small number of substantial estates or woodland areas in any one year can have a large influence on the increase in area of land in community ownership. This can be best illustrated by looking at the increase of 151,556 acres recorded in 2006. The purchase of just two land parcels/assets accounted for over 99% of the increase recorded in 2006.

The total recorded area of land in community ownership since 1990 is shown below in Figure 1.

Figure 1: Recorded Area of Community Owned Land, 1990 to 2017

Figure 1: Recorded Area of Community Owned Land, 1990 to 2017

Notes:

1. Where the year of purchase/transfer of the land parcel/asset is unknown it has been defaulted to 1990, the start of the series.

2. Data for 2017 are only until the end of June.

By the end of June, six additional land parcels/assets had come into community ownership during 2017. This equates to an additional 94.23 acres being in community ownership during the first six months of 2017. It is likely that when figures are available for the full calendar year, the increase in the area in community ownership seen in 2017 will be larger as in both 2015 and 2016 around 25 land parcels/assets were purchased or transferred into community ownership, accounting for around 40,000 acres. Although the large increases in area recorded in 2015 and 2016 were largely due to the purchase or transfer of three land parcels/assets, two in 2015 and one in 2016. Therefore, the overall increase recorded in 2017 will greatly depend on the size of any additional land parcels/assets that come into community ownership in the remainder of the year.

3.2 Size of and number of land parcels/assets ( Table 2)

The majority of land currently in community ownership has been acquired in the form of whole estates, predominantly crofting estates, and forestry or woodland. Table 2 illustrates this in that the six land parcels/assets that are greater than 30,000 acres, 1.2% of the total number of land parcels/assets, comprise 63.0% of the total area of land in community ownership. A further 22.8% of the total area of community owned land is made up of the seven land parcels/assets that are greater than 10,000 acres but are less than 30,000 acres in size. In contrast 39.0% of the land parcels/assets are less than or equal to one acre in size. These 192 land parcels/assets account of less 0.05% of the total area in community ownership. In addition, 89 (18.1%) of the land parcels/assets either have an area of zero recorded or no recorded area. In many of these cases these land parcels/assets are existing buildings that have been purchased or transferred into community ownership.

3.3 Local Authority breakdown ( Table 3)

When looking at the community owned land parcels/assets below Scotland level please refer to Section 4.2 for further information regarding how the location of the land parcels/assets are currently recorded, and the current data quality issues.

Community ownership is widespread across Scotland with only two of the 32 Local Authorities having no land parcels/assets recorded as being in community ownership, the two Local Authorities being Falkirk and Renfrewshire. While community ownership is widespread across Scotland the area of land in community ownership, is concentrated in just two Local Authorities: Highland and Na h-Eileanan Siar.

These two Local Authorities combined contain 93.7% (527,252 acres) of the land in community ownership in Scotland. Na h-Eileanan Siar on its own contains over two thirds (385,340 acres) of the area of land in community ownership and Highland contains just over a quarter (141,912 acres) of the area. The area of land in community ownership in Na h-Eileanan Siar accounts for 51.0% of the total area of the Local Authority. While for Highland the community owned land only accounts for 2.2% of the total area of the Local Authority.

While the number of land parcels/assets owned, as well as the actual number of community groups, remains around a quarter of the total in Highland this is not true for Na h-Eileanan Siar. Only 41 (8.3%) of the 492 land parcels/assets in community ownership are in Na h-Eileanan Siar. With 33 (8.2%) of the 403 community groups known to own land parcels/assets being in Na h-Eileanan Siar. Five of the six land parcels/assets that are greater than 30,000 acres are in Na h-Eileanan Siar. These five land parcels/assets consist of 309,571 acres, which accounts for the large proportion (55.1%) of the total community owned land being in Na h-Eileanan Siar.

3.4 Scottish and UK Parliamentary constituency breakdowns (Tables 4, 5 and 6)

Breakdowns on community ownership are also available by Scottish Parliamentary constituency ( Table 4), Scottish Parliamentary region ( Table 5) and UK Parliamentary constituency ( Table 6). Similarly to as shown by the Local Authority data community ownership is widespread across the country but concentrated in the highlands and island. This is best illustrated by looking at the 'Highlands and Islands' region in Table 5. This region contains 97.5% (548,128 acres) of the land in community ownership and 60.4% (297) of the land parcels/assets in community ownership.

Of the 73 Scottish Parliamentary constituencies 21 (28.8%) do not contain any community owned land and 13 of the 59 UK Parliamentary constituencies do not contain any community owned land. The constituencies that do not contain any community owned land parcels/assets are predominately more urban areas.


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