Engaging communities in decisions relating to land - guidance: review

This review examines the effectiveness of the guidance on engaging communities in decisions relating to land and any further steps which should be taken to improve the effectiveness of the guidance.


1. On 26 November 2014, the First Minister, as part of the Programme for Government, set out the Scottish Government's vision that Scotland's land must be an asset that benefits the many, not the few. That vision was articulated in the Land Reform (Scotland) Act 2016 ("the 2016 Act") which received Royal Assent on 22 April 2016.

2. The passage of the 2016 Act was a substantial step forward in the development of Land Reform in Scotland. The 2016 Act represented the culmination of a significant debate with contributions from across Scottish society, and the proposals introduced in the Bill were developed and strengthened during its Parliamentary stages.

3. The inter-related provisions of the 2016 Act provide a range of measures to progress land reform, driving change in how Scotland's land is owned and used. These provisions include:

  • The Scottish Land Rights and Responsibilities Statement[1] (LRRS) which was published in September 2017 and aims to support a strong relationship between the land and people of Scotland, where rights and responsibilities in relation to land are fully recognised and fulfilled.
  • The Scottish Land Commission (the Commission) became operational on 1 April 2017 with a remit to review the effectiveness and impact of laws and policies relating to land, and to make recommendations to Scottish Ministers. A key part of its Strategic Plan is to examine options for future land reform including the concentration of land ownership in Scotland.
  • Guidance on Engaging Communities in Decisions relating to land (the Guidance)[2], was published in April 2018 and sets out expectations of land owners and those with control over land to engage constructively with communities across rural and urban Scotland.
  • A new Right to Buy Land to Further Sustainable Development came into force in 26 April 2020.
  • This follows the Community Right to Buy Abandoned, Neglected and Detrimental Land which came into force in June 2018. These will deliver increased opportunity for Scotland's communities to own land.
  • Section 39 of the 2016 Act requires Ministers to make regulations requiring information to be provided about persons who have controlling interests in owners and tenants of land, and about the publication of that information in a public register kept by the Keeper of Registers of Scotland ("RoS"). These regulations were unanimously passed by Parliament on 10 Feb 2021 and the new register will be operational on 1 April 2022.


Email: LandReform@gov.scot

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