The relationship between the land and the people of Scotland is fundamental to the wellbeing, economic success, environmental sustainability and social justice of Scotland and her communities. The system and structure of land ownership is a defining factor in that relationship: it can facilitate and promote development, but it can also hinder it.
In recent years, various approaches to land reform, not least the expansion of community ownership, have contributed positively to a more successful Scotland by assisting in the reduction of barriers to sustainable development, by strengthening communities and by giving them a greater stake in their future. The various strands of land reform that exist in Scotland provide a firm foundation for further developments. I look forward to considering how the Land Reform Review Group's recommendations can further promote the public interest, in both urban and rural environments, for individuals and communities alike.
The Land Reform debate in Scotland has evolved and now is the time for everyone with an interest in Land Reform, to contribute constructively to the debate and consider the future of Land Reform in Scotland. We have the opportunity to build a better Scotland for future generations, by ensuring that we optimise the use of Scotland's wealth of natural resources, not least our land and seas, to promote the wellbeing of Scotland and her people. My vision is for a fairer and wider distribution of land in Scotland where individuals and communities have access to land that they need to fulfil their economic and social aspirations. We need to build a society with a modernised system of land ownership, and, where it is in the public interest, a greater diversity of land owners, to enable people and communities to achieve their potential. We need to support business and employment in both urban and rural areas to achieve greater distribution of land to communities, make more land available for housing, encourage sustainable development and realise increased economic vitality and employment. Scotland is on a journey delivering land reform and changes to land use. Land must be used to benefit the wellbeing of the people of Scotland; not just in terms of economic benefit, but in improved environmental and social outcomes for all.
Land Reform covers a very wide spectrum of topics and I would like to thank the Land Reform Review Group, their advisers and support team for their hard work in producing this report. I would also like to acknowledge and thank those who have provided submissions or made contributions to the Review, either at the meetings held by the Group, hosting visits of the Group, and by providing written evidence to the Review. You have all shown that Land Reform is a key area that is important to the whole country, and across a wide range of organisations, communities and individuals. I look forward to studying the Group's report and recommendations and, with support from all sectors, taking Land Reform in Scotland forward and ensuring it reflects Scotland's needs for the 21st century and beyond.
Paul Wheelhouse MSP
MINISTER FOR ENVIRONMENT AND CLIMATE CHANGE
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