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Community Benefit

We have published guidance for a responsible approach to delivering community benefits from land. This guidance was prompted by the rapidly developing context of natural capital but is also relevant much more widely.

The guidance clarifies the expectations for what community benefits are and how they can be delivered. It sets out six key points about community benefits and provides some examples of current practice. We have used the Land Rights and Responsibility Statement and Community Wealth Building principles to explain some ways in which social and economic community benefits can be delivered from land. An FAQ document provides useful additional information, including how the guidance was developed and how it can be implemented.

The guidance is aimed at landowners and land managers in all sectors, investors brokers and project developers involved in land, communities and their representatives, professional advisers and grant and policy advisers. It should be used alongside the following protocols: Transparency of Ownership and Land Use Decision-Making, Community Engagement in Decisions Relating to Land, Responsible Natural Capital and Carbon Management and Good Stewardship of Land.

Case Studies

Delivering community benefit from natural capital development and investment is at an early stage in Scotland. Although interest from the private sector has grown in recent years, many projects have not yet reached the point of delivering community benefit, and a variety of different approaches are being taken. At such an early stage in the development of community benefit as a field, we have selected six case studies that are illustrative of current practice on the ground. The results can be used to shape what will be considered good practice as the concept continues to develop.

Case Studies

Ardura Community Forest

Mull & Iona Community Trust (MICT) undertook a community asset transfer to acquire a publicly owned timber plantation on Mull with funds from the Scottish Land Fund.

link to Ardura Community Forest case study

Natural Course

Natural Course is a nine-year EU LIFE Integrated Project based in northwest England that is a collaboration between public, private and third sector organisations funded by EU grant and match funding.

link to Natural Course case study

Sleat Community Trust

Sleat Community Trust (SCT) on the Isle of Skye purchased forest from Forestry Commission Scotland with a mixture of income from the local community, grant and loan funding.

link to Sleat Community Trust case study

Threave Nature Reserve

The National Trust for Scotland (NTS) owns Threave Nature Reserve, a former dairy farm, and manages the land in partnership with Galloway Glens Partnership Scheme (GGLP), a coalition of multiple local and specialist organisations.

link to Threave Nature Reserve case study


Thorlux, a manufacturer of industrial and commercial lighting, purchased land to afforest for carbon offsetting purposes in Devauden, Monmouthshire, Wales.

link to Thorlux case study

Trees for Life

Trees for Life is an environmental charity which owns and manages Dundreggan Estate in Glenmoriston. Its vision is for revitalised wild forestry in the Highlands of Scotland, providing space for wildlife to flourish and communities to thrive.

link to Trees for Life case study