Scotland’s Estates were given a resounding ‘thumbs up’ in a poll conducted by Scottish Land & Estates at the SNP annual conference in Inverness last weekend. An impressive 75% of the 116 conference delegates polled in a short questionnaire on rural issues said their overall impression of estates in Scotland was positive.
Douglas McAdam is Chief Executive of Scottish Land & Estates. He attended the SNP conference over three days, bringing his members’ interests to the forefront of the political scene, and found the short questionnaire to be a hugely valuable exercise. He commented:
“As representatives of over 2,500 landowners across Scotland it was important for us to be at this important political forum, in order for us to lobby and brief MSP’s, on our members’ behalf. We held talks on a range of topics, with numerous MPS’s including: Stewart Stevenson, Nicola Sturgeon, Mike Russell, Richard Lochhead, Graeme Dey, Aileen McLeod, Rob Gibson, Chic Brodie, Stuart McMillan, Roseanna Cunningham and Paul Wheelhouse'. We also spoke with Alyn Smith MEP specifically on CAP Reform."
Over 70% of respondents to the poll said they go to Scottish estates at least once a year with 43% regularly visiting once a month or more. The same survey asked what people felt was the most important issue facing rural Scotland at present. The top ten recurring responses included:
- Lack of affordable housing in the countryside
- CAP reform
- Rural Infrastructure and service
- Loss of farmland to development
- Rural employment
- Protection of the environment and a sustainable economy
- Renewable Energy (both for and against)
- Fuel costs and fuel poverty
- Active and small community farming not prevalent enough
- Depopulation and lack of investment
The simple interactive poll that we conducted during the conference proved to be very useful in helping us get a feel for how those interested in SNP politics respond to rural business issues important to our membership. It was interesting to find that over 55% of those who completed our questionnaires lived in rural areas with almost as many also working there. While we were very heartened to find that at least 75% of those surveyed took a positive view of Scottish estates, it was also invaluable to glean direct views from grassroots SNP members and delegates on what they feel are the major issues facing rural Scotland today. This information allows us to feed back to our members and engage on their behalf with a clearer idea of how we communicate to their best advantage as landowners trying to prosper for the good of their estates and communities against the rapidly changing face of rural Scotland”.