Collaborative and constructive solutions required to deliver for rural communities

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Press Release

Modern and innovative policymaking on the use of land is required to help rural communities meet the challenges they face, Scottish Land & Estates said today.

Speaking following a debate in the Scottish Parliament today, Sarah-Jane Laing, Executive Director at Scottish Land & Estates, said: “Landowners and rural businesses – who make a valuable contribution to Scotland - are keen to play a key role in helping develop innovative policy solutions to the many challenges that rural communities face. 

“In recent years landowners have embraced many aspects of land reform and accept that this is viewed as an ongoing process by politicians. 

“We are pleased that the debate in parliament highlighted how land-based businesses are heavily involved in delivering Scottish Government policy in key areas such as forestry and renewable energy and we have a very strong track record in rural housing. 

“We are now in the 20th year of the Scottish Parliament and believe we should be looking to developing collaborative and constructive policies for delivering more productive rural land use and thriving rural communities rather than seeing the ownership pattern in Scotland as the primary issue.”

SLE added that the amended motion passed in parliament to endorse a Scottish Land Commission report on land ownership – which was only released yesterday – was premature without sufficient time to study and debate its conclusions.

Ms Laing continued: “Proposals such as a public interest test for land sales bring significant questions over an individual’s right to freely buy and sell property in Scotland. As the Scottish Government said itself, this needs to be thoroughly investigated especially in its compliance with human rights legislation.

“It is surprising that many MSPs have rushed to endorse the report’s recommendations despite having little time since its publication to investigate what they would entail.”