August 31, 2021
Of the MSP’s elected in May to the Scottish Parliament, a third were newbies. Whilst it’s reasonable to assume that all had a pre-existing interest in a wide range of policy areas it also seems reasonable to assume nothing in terms of their depth of knowledge. Which is why the land reform briefing delivered last week to all MSP’s by Community Land Scotland was a smart move. A recap on the history, an update on progress to date and a call for the early introduction of further legislation – all wrapped in the context of the climate emergency and covid recovery.
Full briefing from Community Land Scotland here
The central policy challenge facing Scotland and consequently the Scottish Parliament is to chart a path through the Covid-19 pandemic’s aftermath and the climate emergency towards a greener, wealthier, more inclusive and fairer Scotland. That necessitates a renewed focus on land reform – defined as measures that modify or change the arrangements governing the possession and use of land in the public interest1 – as a crucial foundation stone from which to build towards that better future with its emphasis on the common good.
The purpose of this briefing paper from Community Land Scotland is to provide MSPs with an overview of legislative progress on land reform since devolution and to show why further legislation is required early in the current session of Parliament to help achieve a sustainable Scotland.
The paper highlights the close relationship between land ownership and land use and the scope for Scotland’s unusually concentrated pattern of land ownership to act as a structural barrier to the sustainable development of local communities. It draws on findings and recommendations from a range of recently published research reports to illustrate the importance of land reform in tackling both post-pandemic recovery and the climate emergency in a fair and socially just way.
Community Land Scotland welcomes the prospect of a new Land Reform Act being introduced early in the current Parliamentary session. We are clear that the new legislation should form part of a wider cross-cutting programme of progressive land reform in support of a sustainable Scotland for the reasons discussed in this paper.