Land rights and responsibilities statement: consultation analysis

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

6. Views on Principle 1 of the Land Rights and Responsibilities Statement

Principle 1

The overall framework of land rights, responsibilities and associated public policies governing the ownership, management and use of land, should contribute to building a fairer society in Scotland and promote environmental sustainability, economic prosperity and social justice.

Question 4: Do you agree with Principle 1 of the Land Rights and Responsibilities Statement? Please provide comments.

6.1 47 (76%) respondents answered the first part of Question 4. Of these, 38 agreed with Principle 1 of the Statement. Table 6.1 summarises views by category of respondent.

Table 6.1 Views on Principle 1 by category of respondent

Category Agree Disagree No. of respondents providing a view
National NGOs 9 1 10
Private Sector and Professional Bodies 4 2 6
Community Organisations and their Representative Bodies 3 2 5
Government and NDPBs 1 0 1
Academic 1 0 1
Total Organisations 18 5 23
Total Individuals 20 4 24
Grand total 38 9 47

6.2 The balance of views in support of Principle 1 was broadly similar across both organisations and individuals, with a significant majority of respondents supporting Principle 1.

6.3 35 respondents provided further relevant commentary in response to Question 4, and their views are summarised below.

General views in support of Principle 1

6.4 Several respondents welcomed Principle 1 in broad terms as encompassing the key elements of a land rights and responsibilities framework. Aspects singled out for particular support were: mention of a duty to future generations; promotion of environmental sustainability; and reference to building a fairer society (although one individual suggested that “building a fairer society” should be referenced after the key outcomes, to give more emphasis to the latter).

6.5 Two individuals were generally supportive, but both considered that the Principle was more rhetoric than substance. Others were of the view that the Principle could go further, one individual suggesting that further consideration be given to bringing all land ownership into the hands of the people of Scotland; a National NGO suggested the Principle could be strengthened by replacing “promote” in the title to “leading to”.

6.6 Although supporting the Principle, one National NGO expressed concern that it provided scope for different interpretations across stakeholders. One professional body requested that the management of the Crown Estate be encompassed by this Principle.

Views on possible additions to Principle 1

6.7 A few community organisations and a National NGO considered that the Principle should include fulfilling or progressive realisation of human rights, explicitly, at the end of the title. This was viewed as being in line with the human rights based approach and adding value to the title.

6.8 One National NGO requested that good quality, affordable housing be added as another outcome along with environmental sustainability, economic prosperity and social justice. They also recommended that the section on “What are we doing” contain mention of affordable housing and the Scottish Government’s commitment to this.

6.9 Another National NGO suggested that “community resilience” should be included as a key outcome.

Views on realising Principle 1

6.10 A recurring view was that the Principle heading and the listed policies need to be more explicitly connected to show how the policies reflect the Principle and what will be done in future to strengthen and further align policies with the Principle.

6.11 A few other policies were identified for possible inclusion: Land Use Strategy; town and country planning policies. One National NGO welcomed in particular the mention of the Regeneration Strategy in realising Principle 1.

6.12 A community organisation gave their view that the text accompanying Principle 1 should recognise that the most effective lever for delivering this Principle is the alignment of Government fiscal (grant, subsidy and tax) mechanisms.

6.13 Two respondents (a National NGO and a private company) both referred to the need for stronger engagement and empowerment of local communities in enabling this Principle. They considered that structures should be in place for informed local decision-making involving local communities.

Views opposing Principle 1

6.14 An individual and a professional body considered that public right to private ownership and enjoyment of their land was not given sufficient emphasis. A contrasting view from another individual was that the Principle could give more emphasis to ownership of land being exercised in the interests of the community.

6.15 The term “fairer society” attracted comments with a few respondents considering this to be a subjective and abstract concept. They argued that different parties may have competing notions of what is “fair”. A National NGO considered that this phrase suggested that the current system is not fair, which they did not perceive to be the case. Another National NGO recommended removing the reference to “fairer society” as they considered that issues of fairness are already encompassed within social justice.


Email: Chris Bierley,

Phone: 0300 244 4000 – Central Enquiry Unit

The Scottish Government
St Andrew's House
Regent Road

Back to top