Revised Land Rights and Responsibilities Statement - Principle 7
This principle was supported by a majority of respondents, with open and honest collaboration between landowners, managers and those in the public, private and third sectors seen as critical in achieving wider benefits and addressing significant local and national challenges. There was a distinction made between 'on paper' community engagement and meaningful engagement, with a suggestion that this principle be made stronger. There was, however, also a concern that this principle does not recognise the difference between encouraging effective community collaboration to shape and inform decisions, and communities having the right to decide on land use where they themselves do not own it.
Scottish Government Response
The Scottish Government notes the high levels of support for this principle (formerly Principle 6, now renumbered Principle 7 following the creation of new Principle 5) in the consultation responses. Engaging local communities in land remains a key aspect of responsible management and use of land. Since the first Land Rights and Responsibilities Statement was published the Scottish Government, as required by Part 4 of the Land Reform (Scotland) Act 2016, has published Guidance on Engaging Communities in Decisions Relating to Land, which was reviewed in 2021.
The Scottish Government notes that some organisations would like to see communities of interest, or wider stakeholders emphasised. The Scottish Government considers that the focus should remain on empowering local people and local communities, so has not made a change to reflect this. However the revised Advisory Notes continue to include a reference to the need to look outward to wider society.
The Scottish Government has made one change to Principle 7 to clarify that the aim is meaningful engagement. It is imperative that any engagement with the community is meaningful as high quality engagement is important to achieving positive outcomes. The revised Advisory Notes provide further detail around what is meant by meaningful engagement.
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