Land rights and responsibilities statement: consultation analysis

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

5. Views on the Vision of the Land Rights and Responsibilities Statement


The proposed Statement is in Annex 1. It comprises a vision followed by six principles. The consultation sought views on each of these in turn.


“The ownership, management and use of land and buildings in Scotland should contribute to the collective benefit of the people of Scotland. A fair, inclusive and productive system of land rights and responsibilities should deliver greater public benefits and promote economic, social and cultural rights.

Question 3: Do you agree with the vision of the Land Rights and Responsibilities Statement? Please provide comments.

5.1 47 (76%) respondents answered the first part of Question 3. Of these, 30 agreed with the vision of the Statement. Table 5.1 summarises views by category of respondent.

Table 5.1 Views on proposed vision of the Statement by category of respondent

Category Agree Disagree No. of respondents providing a view
National NGOs 8 4 12
Private Sector and Professional Bodies 1 3 4
Community Organisations and their Representative Bodies 3 3 6
Government and NDPBs 1 0 1
Academic 1 0 1
Total Organisations 14 10 24
Total Individuals 16 7 23
Grand total 30 17 47

5.2 Individual respondents who provided a view were more supportive of the vision than organisations, almost half of whom disagreed with it. Three of the four private sector and professional bodies who gave their view disagreed with the vision, whereas most of the National NGOs supported it.

5.3 47 respondents provided further relevant commentary in response to Question 3, and their views are summarised below.

General supportive views

5.4 A few respondents provided general views in favour of the draft vision. According to one NDPB, the vision is pro-active and supports a collaborative approach; it introduces, for the first time, the concept that with land ownership, management and use, come responsibilities to others; and it encompasses the key objectives of economic and social impact.

5.5 One individual considered it particularly useful in view of what was perceived to be the increasingly urbanised nature of our society and the loss of connection with the land. Another individual supported the vision as it stood and argued against making it more prescriptive, for example, by enshrining it in detail in statute.

Views on the vision title

5.6 Two respondents suggested that the title should recognise the changing relationship between people and the land. A community organisation proposed that the words “and developing” appear before “relationship”; and a National NGO recommended the insertion of “and dynamic” before “relationship”.

5.7 One National NGO suggested that at the end of the title, “and the land of Scotland” is replaced with “and its land”.

Views on the body of the Vision

5.8 The most frequent comment, largely from National NGOs, was that explicit mention of “environment” is missing from the vision. Some remarked that environmental sustainability had been included in a previous draft of the vision and should be included in the latest version. One respondent commented:

“….we are concerned that without explicit reference in the vision to delivering environmental sustainability and mitigating and adapting to climate change that these crucial priorities may not be given the same weight as economic and social considerations in the application of the Statement” (Nourish Scotland).

5.9 A few respondents suggested that adding environmental to the list of rights in the vision would be appropriate.

5.10 Another recurring view, across three different sectors, was that with rights come responsibilities, and these are not given sufficient emphasis in the vision.

5.11 Other views expressed by only a few respondents were:

  • Replace “promote” with “fulfil” or “progressively realise”.
  • Should include reference to the importance of transparency on all land matters.
  • Should make clear that communities in cities should be given the same opportunities as those in more rural areas.
  • Should be a reference to property rights.
  • Should make mention of the future, as sustainable development is about meeting present needs without compromising those of future generations.
  • Perception that the outcome sought is not simply the promotion of rights but what those rights can then deliver, so amend the last part of the vision to, “promote economic, social and cultural wellbeing”.
  • There could be different interpretations of “benefit” and “benefits” which could lead to tension. These should be defined and approaches to addressing emerging conflicts developed.

General critical views

5.12 A few respondents were wholly critical of the vision. In particular, one individual was simply opposed to the concept of public benefit in land management and use; a National NGO considered the vision lacking in inspiration and lacking in clarity on what the Statement aims to achieve.


Email: Chris Bierley,

Phone: 0300 244 4000 – Central Enquiry Unit

The Scottish Government
St Andrew's House
Regent Road

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