Please send me SCA's fortnightly briefing:

October 10, 2012

Advisors in place

Last week the Scottish Government’s Land Reform Review Group announced the names of those who would be sitting on its advisory group.  It’s not yet clear what role is envisaged for these advisors or how much influence they will have on the final report, but we do have some idea of the rough timescales that the Review Group are going to be working to, and how they propose to go about gathering evidence.


All information in relation to the names and background of advisors, timescales for the review and the process for submitting evidence can be obtained from the website that was launched this week. Click here Land Reform Review

The members of the Advisory Group 

Professor David Adams – Ian Mactaggart Chair of Property & Urban Studies, University of Glasgow. Chartered Surveyor, chartered town planner, member of the Society of Property Researchers, Housing Studies Association, Regional Studies Association and the Royal Society of Arts. Research interests include State-market relations in land and property, with a particular interest in land, planning and regeneration policy. Previously undertaken extensive research on “Land ownership constraints to urban redevelopment” and more recently published RICS report on “Discovering property policy: an examination of Scottish Executive policy and the property sector”.

Andrew Bruce-Wootton – General Manager at Atholl Estates since 2000. Atholl Estates, which extends to some 145,000 acres of Perthshire, is one of the largest privately owned estate in Scotland. Formerly Assistant Factor, Buccleuch Estate (September 1993-April 2000). Director of Scottish Land and Estates (2008-2011). Deputy Chairman, Scottish Estates Business Group. Educated at Acadia University, Applied Science, Engineering (1984-87)

Amanda Bryan – Rural and Community Development consultant, specialising rural development and community development in the Highlands and Islands (trading as Aigas Associates). She was Chair of BBC Scotland’s Scottish Rural Affairs and Agriculture Advisory Committee from 2001 to 2006 and a former Development Manager with Ross and Cromarty Enterprise. She was employed by SNH as the Minch project Officer 1993-1995. She has served on the North Areas Board of SNH since 1997 and was previously depute Chair of that Board. She is also a Director of Kilmorack Community Hall. She has participated in a report for the Community Woodlands Association on an evaluation of partnerships between community groups and Forestry Commission Scotland (May 2006). She has worked with Stòras Uibhist on community engagement, and with Sleat Community Trust to review the Trust’s management structures. She is a Forum Member of Highland and the Islands Regional Forestry Forum. She is currently involved with the purchase of the Aigas Community Forest from Forestry Commission Scotland. In 2012, Amanda was appointed as Commissioner for Forestry Commission Scotland

Ian Cooke – Director of the Development Trusts Association Scotland (DTAS). DTAS promotes and supports development trusts – community led organisations who use enterprise activity and assets to regenerate their communities. DTAS has recently being involved in Scottish Government funded work around the transfer of public sector (predominantly local authority) assets to communities. Ian has been involved in community development for over 25 years, including posts as manager of the North Edinburgh Trust and the Pilton Partnership.

Simon A. Fraser OBE – Solicitor at Anderson-MacArthur, Stornoway. He is accredited by the Law Society of Scotland as a specialist in crofting law. He has been a past Dean of the Western Isles Faculty of Solicitors. He has advised many community buyouts and has also advised and acted for private estates. He is currently the Interim Crofting Administrator for Urras Oighreachd Ghabhsainn. He is a former Board Member of SNH (1998-2004), and Chair of its North Areas Board. He has been Chair of the Isle of Eigg Heritage Trust and is vice-chair of Urras nan Tursachan (the Callanish Standing Stones Trust). He is a Deputy Lord Lieutenant for the Western Isles. He is a fluent Gaelic speaker with a lifelong interest in the social and natural history of the Western Highlands and Islands, and has a particular interest in rural development. He lives in the west of Lewis.

Priscilla Gordon-Duff – Manager of a family business and holder of a first-class degree in anthropology and sociology. Mrs Gordon-Duff is responsible for the business’s planning, policy and management in partnership with her husband and son. The business is involved in agriculture, forestry, property, commercial leases and community engagement. Chair of the National Forest Land Scheme Evaluation Panel since its establishment in 2005 ( She was chair of the Grampian Woodland Company and Forum, a board member of Paths for All, and was on the RSPB’s Scotland committee. She was the founding Chair of Drummuir 21, which is a local partnership working on sustainable development of the locality, including a community woodland, and has taken part in rural development study tours to Sweden and Norway.

Donald MacRae OBE – Chief Economist Lloyds Banking Group Scotland.  He founded the Business Forum – the networking organisation devoted to the development of new businesses.  He was appointed to the Board of Scottish Homes in 2002 and to the board of Scottish Enterprise in 2004.  He is a Trustee of the David Hume Institute and a fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh.  He holds the Chair of visiting professor of Business and Economic Devlopment at the University of Abertay, Dundee

He was a member of the Scottish Executive Purchasers Information Advisory Group (PIAG), reforming the selling and purchase of residential property and a member of the Scottish Executive Statistics Group.

He was a member of the 2007-08 Committee of Inquiry into Crofting.  He as been a Member of the Rural Development Council.  He became a member of the Board of Governors of the University of the Highlands and Islands in January 2011 and the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland in July 2012.  He was awarded the OBE at the beginning of 2011.

Dr David Miller – Research Leader of Realising Land’s Potential, at the James Hutton Institute. He is Co-ordinator of the Land Use Theme of the Scottish Government Strategic Research Programme 2011-2016. He leads areas of the James Hutton Institute’s knowledge exchange programme, including for public engagement using the Virtual Landscape Theatre, and co-ordinates research and commercial projects relating to landscape and spatial modelling, including applications in renewable energy, urban greenspaces and wider land use planning. His research interests are in better understanding human uses, preferences and interpretation of land use and landscapes.

Bob Reid – Former Convenor of the National Access Forum. He was a former President of the Mountaineering Council of Scotland (1990-1994) and was its representative in the early days of the Forum, and through his work for Grampian Regional Council and then Aberdeen City Council, was the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities representative throughout the long run-in to the enactment of the Land Reform (Scotland) Act 2003 from 1995 to 2004. He has considerable experience of upland access work, along with knowledge of low ground access issues from his local authority work and his interest in land management issues and stalking that have developed through his involvement in the NTS Mar Lodge Management Group. He has worked extensively with government and non-government organisations, business and politicians. He is a keen mountaineer, skier, sailor and naturalist

Agnes Rennie MBE – Lives with her family on her croft at South Galson on Lewis and is a native Gaelic speaker of long standing. She is Director of Acair, the Gaelic Book Publisher. She is retiring as a non-aligned Councillor at with Comhairle nan Eilean Siar. She was a former Area Commissioner for Lewis and Harris, and was appointed as a Crofting Commissioner in 1998. She has been a Chair of Iomairt nan Eilean Siar (Western Isles Enterprise). She is also Chair of Urras Oighreachd Ghabhsainn (UOG), which is the new community owner of the 56,000 acre Galson Estate. She was a member of the Committee of Inquiry on Crofting (Shucksmith).

Dr Madhu Satsangi – Senior Lecturer in Housing and Applied Social Science at the University of Stirling. Convenor of the Rural Housing Service which is much involved with rural communities across Scotland and has attracted John Swinney and Alex Neil, among others, to its annual conferences. Madhu Satsangi’s doctoral thesis dealt with social aspects of rural housing provision and his is qualified in Environmental Science and Town and Regional Planning. He has researched into, and published widely on, rural housing associations, the role of private landowners in affordable housing, community land ownership and the impact of rural home ownership grants. His latest publication, written with Nick Gallent and Mark Bevan, is The Rural Housing Question: Community and Planning in Britain’s Countrysides, Policy Press. He has two higher qualifications in French – the Diplôme de Langue Française and Diplôme Superieur d’Etudes Françaises Modernes – and a working knowledge of Gaelic

Dr John Watt OBE – Recently retired as Director Strengthening Communities at Highlands and Islands Enterprise, where he had responsibility for HIE’s work with social and community development, including community land ownership and the growth of social enterprises.  He has been involved in rural development for over 30 years, through his work for HIE and its predecessor the Highlands and Islands Development Board.  This included a range of activities including grass roots social and community development work and also economic research and strategy development while he was Head of Corporate Planning.

In 1997 he established HIE’s Community Land Unit and managed this for several years. The Unit was set up to promote community-led land purchases; provide advice and support for such initiatives through financial assistance and technical advice; and contribute to the research and development of land policy and legislation.  He was involved in many of the high profile community land buyouts and managed HIE’s contracts with the Lottery to run the Scottish Land Fund and the Growing Community Assets programme.

He is currently a non-executive director of New Start Highland and High Life Highland, two social enterprises based in his in home town of Inverness.