Land rights and responsibilities statement: consultation analysis

Analysis of responses to the land rights and responsibilities statement consultation, which closed on 10 March 2017.

Annex 2: Case Studies Illustrating the Vision or Principles (in response to Question 10).

Respondent Case Study/Studies Focus/Topic
The James Hutton Institute 1. ‘Sustainable Estates for the 21st Century’, including the project book ‘Lairds, Land and Sustainability’, presents case studies and lessons for sustainable upland land management that relate closely to the principles in the LRRS.

2. The recent film ‘Grazing on the Edge’, an output of the TRANSGRASS project, examines the challenges and competing demands of land management in upland grazing areas (funded through Scottish Government Underpinning Capacity 2011 – 2016).

3. The EU-funded ‘FarmPath’ project used a participatory visioning approach that involved farmers, community and local authority representatives to understand pathways towards the regional sustainability of agriculture in Europe. Similar lessons from successful visioning approaches are detailed in research reports by the Centre for Expertise on Animal Disease Outbreaks.

4. The contribution of green and open space in public health and wellbeing is demonstrated in the Scottish Government-funded ‘GreenHealth’ project, which included the case study of Finlathen Park, Dundee, to explore community visioning for urban greenspace.

5. A further case study from North East Scotland utilises visualisation techniques to support the public interpretation of future climate change and land use choices (funded by the Scottish Government Strategic Research Programme 2011 – 2016); see examples of use of the ‘virtual landscape theatre’.

6. A recent study monitored the decision making of a private estate as it attempted to widen participation in the governance and management of its land (Eastwood et al, forth.). The study identified a number of key factors which counteracted the estates desire to widen community participation. These included lack of organisational capacity, a perceived risk of losing control of the stewardship for the land, and the inability to reconcile divergent but equally valued perspectives.

7. The Ecosystem Approach Review, funded by the Scottish Government Strategic Research Programme 2011 – 2016, explored existing examples of the Ecosystem Approach, to identify implications for future equitable and holistic natural resource management.

8. Lessons can also be learned from the Aberdeenshire Land Use Strategy Pilot, which will support development of the Land Use Strategy 2016 – 2012. In particular, the Local Focus Area pilot participants indicated their support for greater integration of land use planning and improved coordination between different policy areas.
Research-based case studies – variety of topics
Development Trusts Association Scotland DTAS can provide examples of the benefits of community ownership, or where issues around land thwart community ambitions regarding sustainability. Community ownership and challenges
Highlands and Islands Enterprise 1. HIE can provide a number of case studies - written format and video - regarding community asset ownership.

2. We also provided a list of examples to support the Scottish Government's research titled. 'Exploring the barriers to community land-based activities', published in August 2015
Experiences of asset transfer and ownership
Scottish Natural Heritage 1. A recent partnership project in the Carse of Stirling, which was commissioned by SNH and SEPA, explored ways in which local communities, along with farmers, other land managers, and environment and recreation interests, could be more involved in decisions about land use and management. This project enabled both communities and others to gain a greater understanding of their relationships with the land and to develop a common vision for land use, maximising the benefits that it provides. This demonstrates one way in which wider community engagement in land use could be achieved in practice, and an evaluation report is available at

The principle of wider community ownership of buildings and land is demonstrated by the asset transfer which took place on Rum in 2009-10, pre-dating recent changes to land reform and community empowerment legislation. In 2007, the Isle of Rum Community Trust was established to acquire and manage land and buildings from SNH for the island community. This transfer took place in two phases in February 2009 and April 2010, and IRCT now has community ownership of approximately 65 hectares of mixed land, three crofts, 10 domestic properties and eight non-domestic properties in and around Kinloch village. We are also currently exploring the possible transfer of land at Loch Druidibeg, a former National Nature Reserve in South Uist, to community ownership for ongoing management as a local visitor attraction.
Stakeholder engagement

Experiences of asset transfer and ownership
Individual So often, the relationship is one of powerlessness for local people over the decisions of landowners. For example, when local fishermen are prevented from accessing a harbour that has been used for centuries by previous generations of local fishermen. If they are not quite powerless, then the hoops that must be jumped through to make headway are very demanding and difficult to satisfy, administratively or legally. New law coming into effect soon may help.

Landowners / developers can persist with planning applications over decades despite consistent large-scale opposition by many local people, and despite previous public enquiries which have turned previous applications down. Park of Keir is an example.

Wealthy large-scale landowners often claim they have a key function in providing local employment in rural areas. While there is some truth in this, the employment is often poorly paid and sometime seasonal. However, when communities struggle through the process to take control over their own land, the economic situation usually improves significantly. with a much wider range of new and creative sources of income -developing, and populations starting to increase again after long-term decline.
Perceptions from community members
Individual Land donated in 1904 to form amenity space for bowling and tennis to serve the tenants of the new high quality tenement flats in North Gardner Street (and thereby maintain the rental levels sought by landlords) resulted in a club that thrived with both sports long after all the houses were in private ownership. The club eventually fell into the hands of a small group of elderly men and women who drove off the tennis members and started agitating to sell the courts.

I was part of a huge campaign in 2004, which included a petition to the Scottish Parliament and was successful at that time. Thereafter the club allowed the site of the tennis courts to deteriorate, the small club house burned down and all attempts in the locality to influence matters failed.

A year or so ago Glasgow City Council granted consent to a speculative developer to build an incongruous row of townhouses on the site, putting an end for all time to tennis in the immediate area.

In January 2017 Hyndland Secondary School, 500 metres from the site, is nominated as a "tennis school" with the support of Judy Murray and is now looking for space, either sharing facilities at a tennis club further away or acquiring land in an area of extremely high property values.
Impact of land use on local communities
Individual As a member of a community which fought for two years, ultimately successfully, to prevent an open cast mine application on an attractive rural corner of Midlothian we learned how important our environment is to our physical, mental and spiritual health. Benefits of community engagement
Individual Community-supported agriculture, where local residents have some input into what is grown locally and then are able to buy the produce, would help with reducing food miles, and meeting climate change targets. See for more info. Benefits of community engagement
Individual In 1981 I started a tech business in a totally rural location on the Black Isle. I built it up to 16 graduate employees turning over £1m and sold it in 1998. The buyers moved it to Inverness and it still serves customers all over the Highlands.

I bought a small 33 hectare mixed stock and arable farm which has run profitably and formed a major part of my income in the 18 years since. I have seen several of the small farms in the area absorbed by larger units largely to give the acquirers a larger income without being particularly more efficient.
Examples of successful businesses using Scotland’s land and people.
Scottish Wildlife Trust The Coigach – Assynt Living Landscape ( CALL) is one of the largest landscape restoration projects in Europe, aiming to benefit the land, the people and the local economy in the north west of Scotland. Working with landowners and local people, CALL aims to restore the health of the whole ecosystem by improving and reconnecting habitats (especially native woodlands) and creating rural employment and volunteering opportunities.

The Coigach & Assynt Living Landscape Partnership Scheme is a Heritage Lottery Funded project comprising 14 Partner organisations, of which the Scottish Wildlife Trust is the lead partner. The Partnership comprises community land-owners, community interest groups, charitable land-owners, private land-owners and charitable membership organisations working towards delivering the 2050 vision of: "the communities of Coigach and Assynt are working together to achieve a truly living landscape through improved understanding of their environment and the impacts of climate change; shared active management providing a diverse range of connected and resilient habitats; creation of local employment and training opportunities, and building on the communities’ strong cultural heritage linked to the land.
Collaborative working involving communities to the benefit of the environment.
Shelter Scotland 1. Impact of housing on poverty Land, especially housing, is directly linked to poverty. In 2015/14, an additional 60,000 children in Scotland were living in poverty after housing costs were considered. Throughout our work we see the impact that housing has on poverty across Scotland. Children living in housing that has damp or condensation, for example, face an increased risk of developing asthma and other respiratory problems. In addition, children growing up in bad housing are more likely to not complete school and experience poverty as adults.

2. Security of tenure

In the Scottish private rented sector, Short Assured Tenancies, are the most common type of tenancies, and generally only provide a protection from eviction for no reason for 6 months. The following case study illustrates the huge impact that the lack of tenure security in the Scottish private rented sector can have on individuals and families: A woman in her mid-forties, who is married with a young son, has been renting since the age of 18. Over this time period, she had to move over 40 times – not through her own choice. The longest her family has been able to live in a home was five years. Each move costs them time and money, diminishing their savings that they were hoping to use to buy their own home. To this day, they haven’t had a single family holiday. Besides the constant moving, the family has endured some terrible and even life-threatening house conditions, such as unsafe chimneys. Her son, who is nine years old, has already lived in five different homes and was only two weeks old when the family received a notice to leave. She and her husband have decided to educate him at home partly due to the constant moving, as they don’t want him to start at a school only to have to tear him away from it soon after. The insecurity of tenure means that she generally cannot plan for the long term, saying she would love to garden but has given up on planting, as she doesn’t know if her family will be around to see the flowers or eat the vegetables.

3. Need for accurate and up-to-date information on accessible databases

Shelter Scotland would therefore like to highlight a case study, which demonstrates some of the issues our advisers deal with on a regular basis. The particular case involved a rented property, which had been sold with our client, a single woman, as the sitting tenant. The new owner entered the property on various occasions without prior warning and demanded that the tenant moves out. Feeling threatened, she decided it was no longer safe to live in her home, moved out and contacted Shelter Scotland in order to deal with the landlord. Our advisor contacted the local authority’s Landlord Registration team. The advisor was told that the property was still registered under the previous owner’s name and that the new owner could not register until the old owner had de-registered. The local authority therefore had no contact details for the current landlord. The local authority seemed to have no system in place for dealing with such a situation and were unable to provide further help. This example clearly demonstrates that it is not merely enough to have a publicly accessible database but that its content must also be updated on a regular basis. Clear mechanisms, for example, need to be implemented for this to work efficiently.

4. Participatory methods to engage communities

Shelter Scotland runs a project supporting families in Renfrewshire called Foundations First. This project is one of the ways that we engage with people, who experience poverty. Most of them face both financial and housing difficulties. Shelter Scotland tries to identify creative ways to work and engage with people, who require support, and with the wider community. This has helped Shelter Scotland to develop a greater understanding of some of the issues they face. A prime example of meaningful and mutually beneficial participation is a participatory photography project called “Photo Voice”, which Shelter Scotland ran to study the experiences of private tenants in Renfrewshire. The project provided a way for the participants to tell their stories using their images rather than printed words. By the end of the 8-week course, our participants had highlighted some of their housing concerns and ambitions through the use of photography. As the participants grew in confidence, they shared some very illuminating stories about their personal housing experiences. This especially focused on the impact their housing and neighbourhood had on them and their children in terms of health, wellbeing, community involvement and their children’s education.

Participatory methods, such as this one, are often more meaningful and therefore more likely to elicit responses from hard-pressed families, who are not likely to have time to wade through lengthy consultations and may struggle to participate in meetings due to travel and childcare costs. In Shelter Scotland’s experience, participants might also feel uncomfortable engaging with ‘suited and booted’ professionals and are therefore more likely to participate in more informal, creative projects. This again stresses the importance of finding ways to support community involvement that encourages wide participation, takes people’s individual needs, desires and circumstances into account and actually empowers participants. 5. Human Rights

Together with the Scottish Human Rights Commission, Edinburgh Tenants Federation and Participation and the Practice of Rights (an organisation based in Belfast) have developed a human rights project focusing on housing. Social tenants in Leith have led this project, after having received training on housing as a human right and on how to adopt a human rights-based approach. These tenants have identified key indicators related to their living conditions that they want to see clear improvements on and have advocated for change by engaging with Edinburgh City Council.

This example demonstrates what a human rights-based approach to housing and land can and should operate like. It not only needs to be based on the experiences of the people impacted by the relevant decisions but should be led by the people with lived experience themselves. Meaningful participation is of vital importance if Scotland is to ensure that everyone can have a say in how we use our land and buildings.
Impact of housing on poverty

Impact of security of tenure on families

Need for accessible and up-to-date databases

Participatory methods to engage communities

Human-rights awareness-raising
John Muir Trust We are currently in the process of developing a grass roots community land partnership based around woodland expansion: 'The Heart of Scotland Forest Partnership' which brings together neighbouring public (Forest Enterprise), community, private and NGO landowners to collaborate on environmental enhancement, creating increased training, employment and recreational opportunities. We think this model is useful as a pointer to where collaborative working based on environmental enhancement can produce public and private benefit. Collaborative working involving communities to the benefit of the environment.
RSPB Scotland 1. Baron’s Haugh. RSPB Scotland has been working closely with Phoenix Futures for more than 10 years. They are a drug and alcohol addiction rehabilitation group which volunteers at the reserve as a way of both carrying out maintenance and habitat management tasks which satisfy requirements of the RSPB reserve management plan, and aids the group’s active recovery through a connection to nature. The group attends the reserve every Friday for six week periods, four times per year. This equates to many more staff hours than would otherwise be possible and means that we can carry out far more work than would otherwise be possible. In addition, we have a regular volunteer session every Thursday throughout the year, and once a month on a Saturday where local volunteers carry out similar tasks on the reserve. Many of the volunteers started as visitors who were keen to protect and help improve a site that they loved and the extent and variety of roles these volunteers play is broad. These volunteer programmes are mutually beneficial – the reserve tasks get completed, whilst the individuals involved gain useful and rewarding experience and skills which are transferable to other walks of life. The reserve aspires to increase its profile both locally and further afield, and to this end, we are constantly recruiting more volunteers.

2. Our work with local schools also helps to garner a strong affiliation between the local community and the land: In the past year, we have worked with six local primary schools as well as three local high schools and several other local community groups. These groups have been kept abreast of happenings at the reserve and school children have experienced visits from reserve staff as well as experiencing follow-up visits to the reserve. In the past, vandalism and anti-social behaviour was a challenge at this urban site. Now, whilst it is unlikely that this problem will ever be removed completely, the rate of incident has decreased and the severity of these incidents has lessened. It could be argued that this is, at least in part, due to our investment in local community affiliation and continued liaison with the local police.

3. RSPB Scotland’s Balranald nature reserve on the Isle of North Uist celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2016 with a special event aimed at young children. Every primary school aged child from the island of North Uist took part in the celebration which was widely reported in the local media. In some cases the children playing at Balranald were the grandchildren of crofters who were themselves children who played at the reserve when the RSPB designated it as the Society’s first reserve in the Western Isles in 1966. One of the most significant facts about the Balnarald nature reserve is that the RSPB owns no land on the reserve. It is all owned by other bodies, including the Church of Scotland, and is, in turn managed by more than twenty local people under the tenured system known as crofting. Since 1966, a succession of RSPB Scotland wardens has negotiated a series of management agreements with a succession of crofters at Balranald. The results, in terms of biodiversity, are there to be seen – a glory of arable wild flowers and one of Scotland’s highest densities of breeding corncrakes and waders – and all achieved through goodwill and community consent. Balranald has, ever since, come to be seen as an exemplar of how traditional crofting can be sustained and the wildlife that goes with it. The Balranald approach has been replicated across the Western Isles through RSPB Scotland’s advocacy and is the major factor behind the recovery of the corncrake population.

A key reason for Balranald’s success has been that RSPB Scotland has always recognised that the community is fundamental to the Society achieving its conservation goals. Each warden has been, in effect, a community engagement officer. Each warden’s success has been measured by the number and effectiveness of the management agreements that they have signed up. Each warden’s success has been determined by earning the trust and understanding of the local crofting community. 4. The Inner Forth Landscape Initiative contains several discreet projects connecting people to the land. Wildlife Connections aims to work with farmers and land managers throughout the Inner Forth to help them find out more about the wildlife that uses their land. This will be achieved through bird surveys and conservation audits carried out largely by volunteers. This includes land around historic buildings. The project also aims to help them to re-establish wildlife corridors, to create a landscape flourishing with biodiversity, by fencing, buffer strips and hedgerows, and working with local schools to erect and monitor bird boxes. Creating a better environment for nature also creates a more pleasant place for people to walk and cycle. The project also hopes to bring land managers together to share knowledge and experience.
Collaborative working involving communities to the benefit of the environment.
SURF – Scotland’s Regeneration Forum 1. Tomintoul and Glenlivet Regeneration Project, Moray. The Cairngorms village of Tomintoul struggled economically in the first decade of the 21st century, epitomised by a major fall in tourism and the closure of its two main hotels. A local regeneration strategy, initiated by Tomintoul and Glenlivet Development Trust, delivered a number of projects in response, including taking the local youth hostel into community ownership, reopening a Visitor Information Centre and Museum, improving local footpaths, and establishing popular mountain bike trail routes. This all led to a sharp increase in tourism, the revitalisation of the local economy, and the reopening of the two hotels. The project won the ‘Community Led Regeneration’ category in the 2016 SURF Awards.

2. Helmsdale Affordable Housing Project, Highland. The remote village of Helmsdale has suffered strong social and economic decline in recent decades, with effects including high out-migration, a lack of social housing, and a withdrawal of amenities and public services. In 2012, a group of local volunteers established a Development Trust to reduce further population deterioration by fundraising, planning, and managing the building and maintenance of four affordable family homes. They were successfully constructed in December 2014 and fully occupied by the end of that month. The initiative was selected as the winner of the ‘Community Led Regeneration’ category in the 2015 SURF Awards.

3. ‘The Playz’, Kilwinning, North Ayrshire. A derelict former public house in the deprived Pennyburn neighbourhood, which the local community group, Pennyburn Community Association, purchased and transformed into a popular community facility. It opened in March 2012, and functions as a sustainable income-generating social enterprise, providing, among other things, a community café and meeting place, several youth clubs, adult learning classes, and music tuition and production facilities. The project won the ‘Community Led Regeneration’ category in the 2012 SURF Awards.
Examples of input of local Development Trusts using land and people to benefit the local economy.
The National Trust for Scotland 1. St Kilda – Scotland’s only dual World Heritage Site, and with no immediate local community to care for it. Yet descendants of the St Kildans, Hebrideans, Scots at home and abroad, and people around the world can all identify with this special place and its heritage. Under National Trust for Scotland management, a community organisation has been able to help sustain the natural and cultural heritage of the islands and ensure it can be enjoyed by everyone.

2. Falkland Town Hall – an early 19th Century civic survival in the village of Falkland, which was taken over by NTS when the then local authority was disposing of assets, and which is now in the process of being put into local community use.

3. Hutcheson’s Hall – built in 1805 as a school, and one of Glasgow’s most elegant buildings, Hutcheson’s Hall has been in NTS care since 1982. The Trust has maintained the building,operating it as a visitor attraction and an office, and has recently entered into a partnership with a private company to open the property as a restaurant.

4. Mar Lodge – a Highland estate covering some 30,000 hectares, with internationally significant landscapes, species and habitats. Under Trust ownership since 1995, the Trust maintains and enhances its heritage, providing a national resource that benefits local communities, visitors and the wider economy.
Communities providing public benefits through land and property management.
Scottish Land & Estates We believe that a number of the case studies developed for our Helping it Happen Initiative illustrate both the vision and our own Landowners’ Commitment. These includes examples as diverse as the Queensberry Initiative which has undoubtedly delivered a new relationship between young people and the land and the Scrib Tree where the local estate has provided premises for a local business to thrive. See for more information. Illustration of the vision and commitment of landowners


Email: Chris Bierley,

Phone: 0300 244 4000 – Central Enquiry Unit

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