14. Impact Assessment
The Scottish Government is committed to promoting equality and removing or minimising disadvantage which may be experienced by different groups of people. The Scottish Government has a legal duty to consider the impact of policies on people who may be differently affected in relation to the “protected characteristics” under the Equality Act 2010. The protected characteristics are age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or belief, sex and sexual orientation.
Question 12: Please tell us about any potential impacts, either positive or negative, that you consider the proposals in this consultation may have.
14.1 16 respondents provided relevant comments in response to question 12. Most envisaged potentially positive impacts as a result of the proposals in the consultation. These are listed below from most commonly mentioned to least frequently mentioned:
- Reduction in inequality.
- Better use of land/better stewardship.
- Community empowerment.
- Increase in collaborative working between landowners and communities.
- Sustainable economic growth.
- Landowners exercising their rights in the public interest.
- Strengthened local democracy.
- Improved housing.
14.2 A few potentially negative impacts were identified. These were:
- Removal of property rights of landowners.
- Risk of poorer land management due to smaller pockets of land/break up of larger, managed areas.
- Risk of community groups not having the capacity to manage land effectively.
14.3 Three respondents considered that the proposals in the consultation will have no impact on those with protected characteristics. One individual remarked that the proposals were ineffective as the Statement had no legal underpinning and could not be enforced.
Business and regulation
The Scottish Government does not consider that a business and regulatory impact assessment is required, as the Statement will not directly impose new regulatory burdens on businesses, charities or the voluntary sector.
Question 13: Please tell us about any potential costs and burdens that you think may arise as a result of the proposals in this consultation.
14.4 13 respondents provided relevant comments in response to question 13. Four of these did not consider that costs or burdens will arise from the proposals, as they do not introduce any new regulatory burdens, nor are they enforceable.
14.5 A number of potential costs were identified, with some viewed as necessary in order to reap benefits over the longer-term:
- Increased funding requests to asset transfer funding schemes, such as the Scottish Land Fund.
- Community engagement processes including costs to the Scottish Government for capacity-building.
- Cost to the Scottish Government of developing associated guidance.
- Costs to landowners of registering ownership.
- Costs to farmers due to the potentially negative impact of division of land on agriculture; and requirement to engage with communities on decisions about land.
- Costs of disputes which go to court.
- Possible disincentive to inward investment.
The Environmental Assessment (Scotland) Act 2005 ensures those public plans that are likely to have a significant impact on the environment are assessed and measures to prevent or reduce adverse impacts are sought, where possible, prior to implementation of the plan in question.
Question 14: Please tell us about any potential impacts, either positive or negative, that you consider that any of the proposals in this consultation may have on the environment.
14.6 22 respondents provided relevant comments in response to question 14. Most of these identified potentially positive impacts for the environment, as a result of the proposals in the consultation. Their views are summarised below:
- Generally, positive impacts will emerge over time.
- Decision-making on land will be in the public interest and therefore, is likely to have positive environmental impacts.
- The proposals recognise the importance of land management and use alongside ownership so improved stewardship will result.
- Increasingly diverse land ownership is likely to lead to greater diversity of land use, which could lead to increased bio-diversity.
- The proposals will promote pro-environment behaviour by communities.
14.7 Two respondents raised the possibility of greater use of brown and green field land for housing and economic development as a result of increased community involvement in decision-making, with negative impacts on the natural environment.
14.8 Three respondents identified a risk of more diverse land ownership leading to diminishing attention and skill required for sustaining effective stewardship of land.
Email: Chris Bierley, firstname.lastname@example.org
Phone: 0300 244 4000 – Central Enquiry Unit
The Scottish Government
St Andrew's House