This website uses cookies. Continue browsing if you consent to this, or view our privacy policy.

Good Practice in action – Becoming a Good Practice Advisor

Alex Currie

In our latest blog, Good Practice Advisor Alex Currie reflects on his first six months in post, what lead to his interest in working with land reform, and what he has learned so far.

I come from a village in rural Aberdeenshire and have worked as an agricultural contractor for around ten years, so how our land is owned, used and managed has always been important to me. Although previous roles took me across Scotland – from the northeast to the northwest and the Central Belt – land remained at the epicentre of discussions in the communities I came to live in, highlighting its importance to Scotland’s past, present, and future. I was struck not only by the prevalence of the importance of land, its use and ownership in different communities, but also by the variety of opinions and sense of urgency that underpins land reform in Scotland.

This left me with a burning question: how can communities have a greater say and presence in the monumental changes that are taking place with increasing pace across Scotland? I reflected on this during my previous role working with the Agri-Environment Climate Scheme as a Good Practice Advisor at NatureScot, and continue to explore this through my ongoing doctorate research with UHI on incorporating peatland restoration into common grazings on the Isle of Lewis. As the deadline for the Scottish Government’s ambitious net zero targets rapidly approaches, I am proud to have joined the Good Practice team at the Scottish Land Commission to help shape discussions in the field.

Since joining the Commission, I have learnt about the seven core principles which underpin its guiding document, the Scottish Government’s Land Rights and Responsibilities Statement (LRRS). The LRRS covers a range of topics, such as promoting diversity in the types of landownership in Scotland, and increasing opportunities for communities to own, lease, or use land and buildings contributing to community wellbeing and development. My role as a Good Practice Advisor involves raising individuals and organisations’ awareness of the principles that underpin the LRRS, meetings with multiple stakeholders with an interest in land across all sectors, and contributing to an impartial front-line casework service.

The Commission has developed numerous protocols, tools, and guidance, and case studies which enable a better, more inclusive, and accessible understanding of the rights and responsibilities that come hand in hand with the land in Scotland: these are freely available on our website, or you can get in touch with us for more bespoke assistance on the casework service which offers guidance and advice in matters relating to land, how it is used and managed, and how to embed the principles of the LRRS in day-to-day practice.

Also available on our website are a range of publications, such as the recently-released Rural Land Market Insights Report. This offers a unique insight into the shifting trends and changes in Scotland’s rural land market and details how these changes affect land ownership and land use across the country. What I found particularly intriguing about the report was the growing influence of forestry and natural capital investment on Scotland’s land market, the increased opportunities for community wealth building, and the risks of further concentration of land ownership. The Report clearly illustrates the relationship between how land is used and how land is owned, and the “importance of developing effective and well-aligned market-based and public-support mechanisms to counteract existing structural barriers (e.g. landownership concentration) and avoid inherent policy conflicts and ensure land use transitions are viable across a wide range of land managers and holding types and sizes”.

I look forward to working with more community bodies, public, private, and community landowners, institutions, and stakeholders to help carry land reform forward at this exciting and crucial time for Scotland. Get in touch with the Good Practice Team now at


A view of Inverness High Street with church and shops.