Scotland's land is one of our most valuable assets. It is a vital component of our economy, our environment, and our national identity. Our Land Rights and Responsibilities Statement ("the Statement") articulates our vision for the ownership, use and management of land, setting out how we see the balance between the rights of landowners, managers, local communities and society at large.
The Statement, which exists by virtue of the Land Reform (Scotland) Act 2016, together with the related Protocols and Good Practice Programme led by the Scottish Land Commission, has delivered culture change. It has helped, in many cases, to normalise proactive engagement with communities. It has also created the conditions for increasing numbers of land transfers and sales between landowners and community groups being taken forward through negotiation and not formally through land reform legislation.
This refreshed version of the Statement reflects the times in which we now live, with the aftermath of a pandemic and a deeply challenging cost crisis – and that while the climate and nature emergencies continue apace. Amid these multiple challenges we must do all we can to ensure that our land supports a sustainable future for the benefit of all the people of Scotland.
The Statement is rooted in a human rights based approach to land rights. It was the first statement of its kind in the world. It underpins the Scottish Government's approach to progressive and innovative land reform. We continue to progress land reform, as evidenced by this refreshed Statement, and the consultation that has taken place this summer on proposals for the next land reform Bill.
While we are proposing to introduce measures that will put compliance with the Statement on a statutory footing for owners of large-scale landholdings, the Statement will continue to play a vital role as a voluntary code for all landowners whatever the scale of their landholding.
Minister for Environment and Land Reform
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