Scottish Land & Estates, which represents landowners throughout Scotland, said today that landowners and private estates are committed to a major long-term economic investment programme.
Speaking ahead of the broadcast of a BBC documentary on landownership due to be screened tonight (Wednesday 8 January 2014), Douglas McAdam, chief executive of Scottish Land & Estates, said: "From what we have seen in advance of this programme, the contribution of estates is questioned by those who are opposed to their existence.
"The reality however is that estates do make a very substantial social, economic and environmental contribution. A recent survey of a cross section of our membership recently revealed that their combined investment plans in rural development projects are in excess of £820 million. Our very conservative estimate is that across the membership that figure would be well in excess of £ 1 billion.
"When you take into account that land based businesses employ around 10,000 people, provide many thousands of affordable rural homes for rent, and are committed to significant energy and tourism projects we believe that adds up to a substantial and very worthwhile contribution to the rural Scottish economy.
"If those who are obsessed with the issue of ownership were to recognise that landowners and estates are willing and enthusiastic delivery partners then the land reform debate could move forward in a far more productive way.
“We will continue to put forward progressive proposals to government on land reform that will make a difference to Scottish rural life rather than focus on out of date arguments.”
Watch the programme now on the BBC iPlayer (available to view until 11:09PM on Wednesday 15 Jan 2014)