What is the Scottish Land Rights and Responsibilities Statement?
1.1. The passage of the Land Reform (Scotland) 2016 Act (the 2016 Act) was an important step in the ongoing development of land reform in Scotland. The 2016 Act was the result of a debate with contributions from across Scottish society, and the proposals included when it was introduced to Parliament were developed and strengthened during its Parliamentary stages.
1.2. Part 1 of the 2016 Act placed a requirement on Scottish Ministers to publish a statement on land rights and responsibilities, which is designed to set out the principles for land rights and responsibilities in Scotland. The 2016 Act includes seven specific aspects that Ministers must consider when developing the statement, including respecting human rights, supporting and facilitating community empowerment and furthering sustainable development in relation to land.
1.3. In September 2017, the Scottish Government published the Scottish Land Rights and Responsibilities Statement (the Statement), the first of its kind anywhere in the world. Drafting of the first Statement was informed by sessions held with stakeholders, and the draft was then subject to public consultation.
Why is it so important?
1.4. The Statement takes a human rights approach and sets out a vision of a strong and dynamic relationship between Scotland's land and its people. In this vision all land contributes to a modern and successful country, and land rights and responsibilities are recognised and fulfilled. It is founded on six principles that should underpin every decision about land. The first Land Rights and Responsibilities Statement was supported by advisory notes and case studies for each principle. These advisory notes and case studies provide further background and explanation of how the principles can apply in practice and how they link to other policies. The Scottish Land Commission (SLC) has also developed a series of protocols to help people to understand and apply the principles.
1.5. The 2016 Act placed a statutory obligation upon Scottish Ministers to review the Statement every five years. The first review is due by September 2022, by which date Scottish Ministers must lay before Parliament either their proposals for amendment or their reasons for not making any changes. This consultation aims to gather views from stakeholders and the public on the current Statement and whether it should be updated. An analysis report on consultation responses will form part of the evidence base for deciding whether to update the Statement.
What to expect in this consultation
1.6. First, we outline the wider context, focusing on what has changed since the publication of the first Land Rights and Responsibilities Statement. We then go on to set out key questions where your responses will help shape the review of the Statement before asking about your views on implementation and awareness. The final set of questions is dedicated to assessing the impact of policy making. For ease of reference, Annex A lists all the questions in this consultation.
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