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Publication - Consultation Paper

Land Rights and Responsibilities Statement: a consultation

Published: 16 Dec 2016
Part of:
Environment and climate change
ISBN:
9781786527059

A consultation on the Land Rights and Responsibilities Statement.

45 page PDF

534.1kB

45 page PDF

534.1kB

Contents
Land Rights and Responsibilities Statement: a consultation
Chapter 4: Proposed Land Rights and Responsibilities Statement

45 page PDF

534.1kB

Chapter 4: Proposed Land Rights and Responsibilities Statement

33. We present the proposed Land Rights and Responsibilities Statement below. It is followed by an elaboration of the vision and each of the principles, along with examples of current and future policy, to illustrate how the principles are interrelated and coherent with the Scottish Government's wider work.

Vision for a strong relationship between the people of Scotland and the land of Scotland

The ownership, management and use of land and buildings in Scotland should contribute to the collective benefit of the people of Scotland. A fair, inclusive and productive system of land rights and responsibilities should deliver greater public benefits and promote economic, social and cultural rights.

Principles

1. The overall framework of land rights, responsibilities and associated public policies governing the ownership, management and use of land, should contribute to building a fairer society in Scotland and promote environmental sustainability, economic prosperity and social justice.

2. There should be an increasingly diverse and widely dispersed pattern of land ownership and tenure, which properly reflects national and local aspirations and needs.

3. More local communities should be given the opportunity to own buildings and land which contribute to their community's wellbeing and future development.

4. The holders of land rights should recognise their responsibilities to meet high standards of land ownership, management and use, acting as the stewards of Scotland's land resource for future generations.

5. Information on land should be publicly available, clear and detailed.

6. There should be wide community engagement in decisions about land.

Vision for a strong relationship between the people of Scotland and the land of Scotland

The ownership, management and use of land and buildings in Scotland should contribute to the collective benefit of the people of Scotland. A fair, inclusive and productive system of land rights and responsibilities should deliver greater public benefits and promote economic, social and cultural rights.

When the First Minister spoke at the opening of the Scottish Parliament on 25 May 2016, she put one central ambition at the heart of the Scottish Government's programme: "to make real and lasting progress towards true equality of opportunity for all." [22]

As part of Scotland's Economic Strategy and the Fairer Scotland Action Plan, the Scottish Government has made a commitment to the people of Scotland to take long-term action to change our society and make it a fairer and more productive place to live. The Scottish Government envisages a fairer society which allows those who suffer from disadvantage to participate, and empowers individuals and communities.

The Scottish Government recognises the relationship between land and the enjoyment of economic, social and cultural rights. We envisage a future where the framework of land rights and responsibilities allows the people of Scotland the opportunity to realise their aspirations in relation to land.

Adopting a human rights based approach and a wider definition of human rights helps to focus on the means of achieving the desired outcomes. This is reflected in the Statement through the balance of the vision and the principles, with the principles laying out a route map to achieving the vision. From 1 October 2017, the Scottish Ministers will have a duty to promote the principles of the Statement.

The Scottish Land Commission will have the overarching objective to monitor, advise on and improve understanding of matters relating to land in Scotland. The Commission will determine its own work plan and agenda, including conducting research reviewing the impact and effectiveness of laws or policies, and recommending changes. The Commission's remit will extend to all land in Scotland, whether urban or rural and will cover, among other things, ownership and other rights in land, management of land and use of land. The Commissioners will have regard to the Statement in fulfilling their functions.

Principle 1: The overall framework of land rights, responsibilities and associated public policies governing the ownership, management and use of land, should contribute to building a fairer society in Scotland and promote environmental sustainability, economic prosperity and social justice.

Scotland's land is a resource for Scotland's people. The ownership and management of our land and buildings should acknowledge that the wellbeing of our communities is dependent on the good stewardship of this resource.

Sustainability is a duty we owe to future generations. Inclusive growth is a long-term aim, and decisions taken about how to realise the full public benefits from Scotland's land and buildings must take the wellbeing of our environment and communities into consideration.

Viewing land rights and responsibilities through environmental sustainability, economic prosperity and social justice is central to the Scottish Government's aim of long-term sustainable development for Scotland. Decisions made on land ownership, management and use should consider these three outcomes.

What we are doing

  • Scotland's Economic Strategy has inclusive growth as a core priority. This combines the mutually supportive pillars of increasing competitiveness and tackling inequality.
  • The Fairer Scotland Action Plan outlines 50 actions around tackling poverty, reducing inequality and building a fairer and more inclusive Scotland.
  • The 2020 Challenge for Scotland's Biodiversity is Scotland's response to the United Nations Aichi Targets. It calls for increased efforts to halt the loss of biodiversity and to protect the wider benefits that a healthy natural environment provides.
  • The Low Carbon Economic Strategy sets the policy direction for low carbon economic opportunities, sets out proposals and policies for meeting annual emissions reduction targets.
  • The Scottish Government's Regeneration Strategy provides a framework for local action to tackle area inequality, create opportunities and improve communities. The strategy is supported by various targeted funding streams, aimed at meeting the needs of communities.
  • Marine Scotland's Strategic Framework 2013-16 categorises its objectives under the three themes of economic, environmental and social.
  • The Scottish Rural Development Programme 2014 - 2020 delivers Pillar 2 of the EU Common Agricultural Policy ( CAP). It funds economic, environmental and social measures for the benefit of rural Scotland.
  • The Scottish Government's plans to complete the devolution of forestry are driven by our ambition to maximise the sector's contribution to economic, environmental and social outcomes.
  • The Scottish Forestry Strategy will be reviewed during the period of the current Land Use Strategy (2016-2021), to ensure that the Strategy reflects changing priorities and aligns with key policies.
  • Scotland supports the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals internationally, via our International Development Fund and Climate Justice Fund, which were worth £9 million and £3 million respectively in 2016-17.

Principle 2: There should be an increasingly diverse and widely dispersed pattern of land ownership and tenure, which properly reflects national and local aspirations and needs.

There may be occasions when the scale or pattern of land ownership and control, and the decisions of land managers, can be a barrier to sustainable development for a community. A wide and diverse availability of land and buildings allows businesses, organisations and individuals to pursue projects of all scales and purposes.

Scotland needs to grow its existing businesses and encourage start-ups, including new business models such as social enterprise and development trusts. Access to land and premises is a key requirement for all forms of enterprise. We need to increase the number of houses in Scotland, and ensure the availability of a variety of tenure and ownership options which cater for the full range of people's needs, so that everyone in Scotland has a secure, comfortable and affordable home. In our rural communities a variety of farming models, from crofts and smallholdings to larger tenant farms and estates, provides greater choice to those looking to enter agriculture and is essential for the sustainability of the industry. In addition, a wide variety of charitable and public bodies manages our natural and built heritage and provides a valuable service to Scotland's economy.

What we are doing

  • Community Right to Buy legislation [23] allows community organisations to apply to register their interest in buying the land and building assets that would help them in achieving their aims.
  • Asset Transfer powers in the Community Empowerment (Scotland) Act 2015 give community organisations a right to request the transfer of ownership or other rights in land from public sector bodies, where they can make better use of that land.
  • Forestry Commission Scotland has published draft guidance for a new Community Asset Transfer Scheme for the National Forest Estate.
  • The Scottish Government's More Homes Scotland approach brings together several initiatives with the aim of making more land available for housing, increasing public and private investment in housing, and ensuring that this housing responds to the people of Scotland's needs.
  • Small Farms Grant Scheme and the Crofting Agricultural Grant Scheme provide grants to smaller agricultural businesses.
  • Since 2007, the Scottish Rural Development Programme's LEADER programme has supported over 2,200 initiatives across rural Scotland, including such diverse areas as food, tourism, transport, digital, access, biodiversity, landscape, culture, health, employment, leisure, youth, services, regeneration and historic environment.
  • The Land Reform (Scotland) Act 2016 amends the pre-emptive right to buy for tenant farmers of certain agricultural holdings to remove the requirement for tenant farmers to register their interest in land, making their pre-emptive right to buy automatic, should their landlord decide to sell.
  • In addition, the Scottish Government and a range of public, private and third-sector partners deliver a range of initiatives to encourage business start-ups and grow existing businesses, including financial support and advice.

Principle 3: More local communities should be given the opportunity to own buildings and land which contribute to their community's wellbeing and future development.

Land is a key asset for delivering a range of economic and community activities that contribute to sustainable economic growth. Land and buildings are required for projects such as housing, allotments, renewable energy generation, and community businesses and these activities give communities greater opportunities to realise their economic, social and cultural human rights. The ownership or lease of land and buildings empowers communities, by strengthening local people's voices in the decisions about the resources and services that matter to them.

Community-based organisations deliver countless benefits for their local communities, in both rural and urban areas. Community ownership supports community wellbeing by giving local people the opportunity to identify and respond to their own needs. This can mean creating jobs through enterprise, supporting vulnerable people, giving children opportunities, or celebrating local culture, food or sport.

What we are doing

  • Under the Community Empowerment (Scotland) Act 2015 the Community Right to Buy powers have been extended to urban Scotland, so that every local community has the opportunity to benefit from the advantages of community ownership under this right to buy.
  • The Scottish Land Fund supports communities to buy land and buildings which will enable that community to become more sustainable and resilient. The Fund has been increased to £10 million for 2016-17.
  • Since 2008, the Climate Challenge Fund has awarded over £61 million of funding to 696 community led projects which reduce carbon, and create a legacy of low carbon behaviour assets.
  • The Community Energy Policy Statement lays out Scottish Government's target of 500 MW community and locally-owned renewable energy by 2020.
  • The Scottish Government continues to support and encourage communities and organisations towards the ambitious target of having one million acres of land in Scotland in community ownership by 2020.
  • The Regeneration Capital Grant Fund provides £25 million per annum for projects where local communities and local authorities work together and the community is empowered to undertake the management and ownership of newly created or refurbished assets.
  • The Empowering Communities Fund supports community-led regeneration activity throughout the country to help tackle inequality, empowering communities to deliver on the priorities that matter to them the most.
  • The Community Ownership Support Service provides advice and information to those communities considering asset ownership.

Principle 4: The holders of land rights should recognise their responsibilities to meet high standards of land ownership, management and use, acting as the stewards of Scotland's land resource for future generations.

Those who own or manage land are responsible for the good stewardship of that land, and ensuring that Scotland's resource is maintained for future generations.

The Scottish Government considers that the goal of sustainable development is to enable all people to satisfy their basic needs and enjoy a better quality of life, without compromising the quality of life of future generations.

This links with the Voluntary Guidelines on the Responsible Governance of Tenure, which states that the principle of "responsible investment" should be acknowledged by Government and non-government bodies. Responsible investment recognises the land as a resource, which should be invested in so as to ensure a sustainable future and continued prosperity.

What we are doing

  • The Land Use Strategy for Scotland 2016-2021 provides a policy agenda for all land in Scotland and a set of principles for sustainable land use.
  • Scotland's National Food & Drink Policy - Becoming a Good Food Nation reaffirms the Scottish Government's commitment to promoting the sustainable economic growth of the food and drink industry, which is underpinned by our farming and natural environment.
  • The National Planning Framework 3 provides a clear long-term national vision for development and investment across Scotland for the next 20-30 years, with a focus on supporting sustainable growth and a low carbon economy.
  • The Future of Scottish Agriculture: a discussion document lays out a vision for a resilient agricultural community and details the next steps to be taken for a sustainable and prosperous agricultural sector.
  • Since 2013, the Scottish Natural Heritage led Peatland Action initiative has supported restoration of over 10,000 hectares of peat.
  • The Scottish Plant Health Strategy recognises that plant health is at the heart of Scotland's rural economy, natural environment and wellbeing and it sets out how, by working together, we can protect crops, trees, and other plants from new and existing pests and diseases.
  • The Scottish Government has agreed to bring forward proposals for Compulsory Sales Orders which will provide a further tool to address the problem of abandoned buildings and small plots of land in town centres and communities whilst also adequately protecting the rights of owners.

Principle 5: Information on land should be publicly available, clear and detailed.

Information about land and buildings provides the foundation for open and transparent decision-making for public and private sector organisations, communities and individuals.

It is the first step to empowering communities to have more influence over decisions which affect them in both our rural and urban settings, and which can impact on local businesses, employment, housing, and public services.

When more information about land is available it assists organisations and individuals to influence land ownership, management and use in a positive manner and enables more informed decision making, and efficient land use and management, creating benefit for the local economy, environment and society.

What we are doing

  • The Scottish Government's Open Data Strategy states our aim to make non-personal and non-commercially sensitive data available, via the internet, in a format which allows it to be easily used.
  • The Scottish Government and the Registers of Scotland are currently developing ScotLIS, an online land and information system that will allow anyone access to comprehensive information about any piece of land or property in Scotland through a simple, single online search.
  • In May 2014, Scottish Ministers announced the target of registering the ownership of all of Scotland's land within 10 years. All public land is to be registered within five years.
  • The Scottish Government is developing proposals for a Register of Controlling Interests, which will give further information about persons who have controlling interests in owners and tenants of land.
  • Other publicly held data is made accessible by mapping tools such the National Biodiversity Network's Atlas of Living Scotland, and those managed by Marine Scotland and Scotland's Environmental Web.
  • Forest Enterprise Scotland is working on making information on the National Forest Estate, currently available through the Forestry Commission Scotland map browser more accessible, and will publish a new map-based Register of Land for the National Forest Estate in January 2017.

Principle 6: There should be wide community engagement in decisions about land.

Decisions relating to land and buildings can have social, economic and environmental impacts that are felt by the local community. Wide public engagement on decisions taken in relation to land and buildings can help to build trust between the land owner or land manager, and the community.

Strong relationships between those who manage or own land and buildings and the affected communities helps both to understand the issues that the other is facing. Good engagement supports communities to express themselves on local issues and become involved in the decisions that affect them.

Engagement enables land owners, land managers and communities to develop positive and co-operative working relationships. This can lead to creative and innovative solutions to issues, and better economic, environmental, social and cultural outcomes for all parties.

What we are doing

  • The Scottish Parliament has built in public engagement to the Land Rights and Responsibilities Statement, by requiring that it undergo consultation and review every 5 years.
  • The National Standards for Community Engagement were reviewed and updated in 2015-16 in order to reflect the developing legislation and policy relating to community empowerment.
  • The National Standards for Community Engagement are supported by VOICE, a digital tool to assist individuals, organisations and partnerships with delivering meaningful community engagement.
  • In 2017, the Scottish Government will consult on and publish specific guidance on engaging communities in decisions relating to land which may affect communities.
  • The Low Carbon Scotland: Public Engagement Strategy was created in recognition of the fact that achieving Scotland's climate change targets can only be done through a joint approach, with contribution from government, private, public and community organisations and individuals.
  • The Place Standard is an assessment tool for evaluating the strengths and challenges that exist in a particular place, in order to support communities and the public sector, private sector and third sector to work together to deliver high quality, sustainable places.
  • The Design Charrettes Programme and Activating Ideas Fund provide funding to help community groups, local authorities and third sector organisations improve the design and quality of their areas. For 2016-17, £300,000 is available across the two grant schemes to help support design-led participation and empowerment initiatives, with a focus on improving outcomes in disadvantaged areas.
  • Under the Local Government in Scotland Act 2003, local authorities, health boards, the enterprise networks, police, fire and regional transport partnerships have a duty to carry out Community Planning, working in concert with the community to plan and deliver better services
  • Participation requests are a new process which will allow a community body to enter into dialogue with public authorities about local issues and local services.

Question 3:

Do you agree with the Vision of the Land Rights and Responsibilities Statement?

Please provide comments:

Question 4:

Do you agree with Principle 1 of the Land Rights and Responsibilities Statement?

Please provide comments:

Question 5:

Do you agree with Principle 2 of the Land Rights and Responsibilities Statement?

Please provide comments:

Question 6:

Do you agree with Principle 3 of the Land Rights and Responsibilities Statement?

Please provide comments:

Question 7:

Do you agree with Principle 4 of the Land Rights and Responsibilities Statement?

Please provide comments:

Question 8:

Do you agree with Principle 5 of the Land Rights and Responsibilities Statement?

Please provide comments:

Question 9:

Do you agree with Principle 6 of the Land Rights and Responsibilities Statement?

Please provide comments:

Question 10:

We would like to hear real life stories about the relationship between Scotland's land and people. Please provide any case studies which you feel illustrate the vision or principles.

Question 11:

Do you have any further comments?


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