The Land Reform (Scotland) Act 2003 gives everyone rights of responsible access over land and inland water throughout the country, with Scotland enjoying some of the most progressive access rights in the world. The Scottish Outdoor Access Code is the reference point for guidance on responsibility, both for land managers and access takers. Three basic principles underpin all the advice in the Code – respecting the interests of other people, caring for the environment and taking responsibility for your own actions.
We work with our members to increase the public understanding of land management activities and to encourage responsible behaviour by access takers.
We are a full and active member of the National Access Forum (NAF), established by Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) to advise on national issues linked to Scottish access rights. The NAF often develops small working groups to discuss specific issues in more detail, ensuring SLE members interests are represented. Recent work we have been involved with has included:
- preparing draft guidance for the use of mediation when tackling difficult access disputes
- discussing the growing issue of irresponsible camping and developing targeted messaging to counteract this
- developing consistent key messaging for both land managers and access takers on responsible dog ownership
In terms of targeted messages on responsible dog ownership, the below messages have been developed and will be promoted by a wide range of stakeholders throughout the 2020 campaign. This will ensure messaging is clear and consistent across the board.
Advice to dog owners
- Do not allow your dog to approach animals or people uninvited (in open country, it may not be obvious when animals are around).
- Where possible avoid animals - release your dog if threatened.
- Keep your dog in sight and under control – if in doubt use a lead.
Advice to land managers
- Consider public access and assess relevant risks.
- If necessary, use helpful signs to highlight issues to users, removing them when not required.
- Suggest reasonable alternative routes if needed.