Scottish Land & Estates, which represents 2,500 landowners throughout Scotland, said today landowners and estates have a key role to play in making 21st Century rural Scotland a thriving and successful place.
First Minister Alex Salmond delivered the keynote address at the annual meeting of Scottish Land & Estates in Edinburgh in which he said a partnership approach can boost rural recovery in a way which delivers economic growth.
Luke Borwick, chairman of Scottish Land & Estates, told the meeting: “Landowners and estates can make things happen; things Government wants to happen and things communities want to happen.
“We can and do deliver on tourism, agriculture, employment, energy, housing and environmental stewardship – all of which are universal goals for those with the interests of rural Scotland at heart.
“We should be long beyond fighting the battles of the past. Landowners and estates are willing, ready and able partners – not the enemy as some people would still have.
“Working in partnership is the way forward and our members willingly work in partnership with all levels of government and all other stakeholder across the land-based sector. What is needed is recognition that we all have to deal in facts, not fiction and point scoring.”
Douglas McAdam, chief executive of Scottish Land & Estates, revealed that a new Centre of Rural Development was now being created, which will be chaired by Bruce Beveridge, Vice President of the Law Society of Scotland. Mr Beveridge was formerly Deputy Keeper at Registers of Scotland and Deputy Director, Rural Affairs, for the Scottish Government.
Mr McAdam said: “The Centre will involve representatives from across the rural sector working together to deliver positive change for everyone. The focus will include, but not be limited to, issues relating to land use, rural businesses and rural communities.
“Scottish Land & Estates believes that there is a gap in Scottish rural policymaking between policy development and actual practical delivery. As such, Scottish Land & Estates is keen to establish a new group that seeks to enhance Scottish rural policymaking by bridging that gap and seeking to drive change in policy delivery on the ground. We are hoping to bring together a group consisting of eminent, high-profile figures that have practical knowledge and who are experienced operators in the field with the ability to make things happen in the rural sphere.”