Scottish Land & Estates has revealed that a new Centre for Rural Development is to be created, to be chaired by Bruce Beveridge.
Mr Beveridge is a Vice President of the Law Society of Scotland and was formerly Deputy Keeper at Registers of Scotland and Deputy Director, Rural Affairs, for the Scottish Government.
The Centre for Rural Development will play a key role filling the gap that currently exists in the development of rural policy in Scotland. Early practical input into such policy development is needed to ensure that such policies are fit for purpose and that they can be implemented successfully on the ground.
First Minister Alex Salmond gave particular recognition to the role landowners play in supporting rural Scotland and also welcomed the creation of the Centre for Rural Development during a speech to members at the Scottish Land & Estates AGM. He said:
“As a body which represents more than 2,500 landowners, with estates, farms and rural businesses, your (Scottish Land & Estates’) actions and decisions have a huge, lasting impact on the Scottish economy, and therefore on the prosperity and wellbeing of communities who live on the land...the Scottish Government is already working closely with Scottish Land & Estates on the wide range of issues where we share a commonality of interest.
“I warmly welcome the announcement of a Centre for Rural Development, chaired by Bruce Beveridge. That is a first class initiative and I think that the Centre will add a valuable voice of expertise to the wide-ranging discussions that we will have on land use in the coming years.
Mr Salmond also praised the work done by landowners in the fields of renewable energy, rural housing, partnership working and skills development amongst many others.
Douglas McAdam, Chief Executive of Scottish Land & Estates, said: “The Centre will involve representatives from across the rural sector working together to deliver positive change for everyone. Issues relating to land use, rural businesses and rural communities will all be covered amongst other core issues relating to the rural sector.
“We were very keen to establish a new group that seeks to enhance Scottish rural policymaking and, most crucially, its successful delivery on the ground, by bridging the gap that currently exists and seeking to drive this needed change in policy delivery. We intend 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.”
Scottish Land & Estates Chairman Luke Borwick added:
“The Centre is a huge step forward which will allow those at the delivery end, not just our members but a range of interests across the rural sector, to have a much better say in the development of rural policy which ultimately they have to deliver and implement on the ground.
“We are extremely pleased that the role of landowners and estates running rural business has been recognised by the First Minister and the Centre for Rural Development as a key part of supporting that. We will continue to encourage policy measures to be supported by the Scottish Government which help our members who enable fragile communities to survive and thrive every day”.
The full text of the First Minister’s speech is available on the Scottish Land & Estates website: www.scottishlandandestates.co.uk.