Land reform discussions often revolve around the relative importance of land ownership versus land use, but in practice both of these aspects interact and are equally important. As the demands put upon our land increase to meet economic, social, and environmental needs and ambitions, framing ownership and use together as a question of governance shifts the focus and presents new opportunities.
The need to develop more diverse governance models is integral to modernising the pattern of land ownership – and questions of governance are currently gaining increased focus as new opportunities and value in land is understood, particularly relating to natural capital investment.
New governance approaches will not only help address the longstanding structural issues Scotland’s current land governance system experiences, but also provide the opportunity for Scotland to be a world leader in how we think about power and control over land, driving new investment and innovation, sustainably balancing risk and reward, and ensuring benefits are fairly shared.
Our work in this field has been, and will be, wide ranging, from undertaking research on international examples, to partnership working on project opportunities, to providing good practice advice, to developing policy advice. All of which will serve the dual aims of making the most of the opportunities available within our current legislative and policy frameworks, as well as leading the culture change Scotland needs for the next stage of our land reform journey.