2.1 Under Part 4 of the Land Reform (Scotland) Act 2016  (“the Act”), Scottish Ministers have a duty to issue “guidance about engaging communities in decisions relating to land which may affect communities” (“the Guidance”).
2.2 The tone and emphasis of debate around land reform has been positive over recent years, with benefits emerging as a result of land owners and land managers engaging with local communities in decisions relating to land. Many land owners and land managers have supported their local communities by allowing the sale, lease or use of land for a wide range of purposes.
2.3 The purpose of the Guidance required by the Act is to encourage land owners and land managers to develop co-operative and positive working relationships with local communities. The Guidance aims to support good working practices that can lead to mutually beneficial solutions to land-related problems and better local outcomes for economic, environmental, social or cultural issues. It will not replace or duplicate statutory requirements for community consultation and engagement where these exist.
2.4 The Guidance will respond to seven of the Scottish Government’s National Outcomes:
- We live in a Scotland that is the most attractive place for doing business in Europe.
- We have tackled the significant inequalities in Scottish society.
- We live in well-designed sustainable places where we are able to access the amenities and services we need.
- We have strong, resilient and supportive communities where people take responsibility for their own actions and how they affect others.
- We value and enjoy our built and natural environment and protect and enhance it for future generations.
- We reduce the local and global environmental impact of our consumption and production.
- Our public services are high quality, continually improving, efficient and responsive to local needs.
2.5 The Guidance will also relate to a range of land-related policies, such as the Land Use Strategy and the Scottish Land Rights and Responsibilities Statement.
2.6 Scottish Ministers published a public consultation on the draft Guidance  on 24 March 2017 with views invited by 16 June 2016, on the approach taken to drafting the Guidance and on the draft Guidance itself.
2.7 Responses to the consultation were encouraged via Citizen Space, which around half of respondents used; the remaining respondents submitted their responses by email. All responses were combined by the analyst onto one comprehensive Excel database, in order to undertake the analysis.
2.8 The Scottish Government received 43 responses to the consultation. Table 2.1 shows the distribution of responses by category of respondent. A full list of respondents is in Annex 1. The respondent category applied to each response was agreed with the Scottish Government policy team.
Table 2.1 Distribution of responses by category of respondent
|Category||No. of respondents||% of all respondents*|
|National Non-Governmental Organisations ( NNGOs)||14||33|
|Private Sector and Professional Bodies||9||21|
|Community Organisations and their Representative Bodies||8||19|
|Government and National Non-Departmental Public Bodies ( NDPBs)||5||12|
*Percentages may not add to 100% exactly due to rounding.
2.9 93% of responses were submitted by organisations; three responses were submitted on an individual basis. The largest category of respondent amongst the organisations was NNGOs comprising 33% of all respondents.
Analysis of responses
2.10 The analysis of responses is presented in the following four chapters which follow the order of topics raised in the consultation document. The consultation posed 17 key questions, most containing both closed and open elements.
2.11 The analysis is based on the views of those who responded to the consultation and is not necessarily representative of the wider population.