October 7, 2015
Five years on
It’s sometimes worth stepping back and taking a pause from the daily grind to get some perspective on how the policy landscape has changed. Five years ago, a group of community landowners came to together because they felt that the appetite for land reform within Scottish Government had fizzled out. This week Community Land Scotland celebrate their fifth birthday with a real sense of satisfaction at what has been achieved over that time.
We’re 5 Years Old!
Community Land Scotland was established in the autumn of 2010 by 17 founding member communities who came together to give a space for knowledge exchange between Scotland’s community landowners and to address the fact that the issue of land reform was all but absent from the political agenda and public mind. Today, as we represent over 60 communities throughout Scotland, Lorne Macleod – Chair of Community Land Scotland – comments on our 5th anniversary;
“Just 5 years ago, Community Land Scotland was formed because its founder members thought the momentum had gone from the land reform debate, and today we can hardly cope with all that is happening.
“We have seen the Scottish Land Fund re-established, and then raised to £10 million a year; a Scottish Government target to double the area of land in community ownership has been introduced; a new Land Reform Bill is making its way through the Scottish Parliament; the community right to buy land has been extended to all communities in Scotland, with new rights to buy land even when the owner may not want to sell; the rights of tenant farmers are to be improved.
“But what is as important as these immediate gains, is that the nature of the debate has changed. Dealing with the land question has become a central part of public policy, with an emphasis on social justice, fairness and equality beginning to take centre stage. We are seeing the question of ‘land and human rights’ move to the human rights of the many, what is in the common good, and in the public interest.
“Scotland’s land ownership patterns remain concentrated in very few hands, but today more people are taking an interest in, and debating, how to change that more than at any time in recent memory.
“The journey to further change, building on all that has been done to establish basic land rights for citizens at large, and for communities in particular, is set to continue. The creation of the new Land Commission will help ensure land remains on the agenda and further change follows, and part of our agenda at Community Land Scotland is to make sure that remains the case.”
Help us celebrate our 5th birthday!
If you would like to support our work as we build on that of the past five years, you can add your voice to the call for a more diverse model of land ownership in Scotland by joining us a Community Land Scotland Supporter