Introducing the new Scottish Land Fund committee

Introducing the new Scottish Land Fund committee
Colin Calder, Big Lottery Fund Scotland

The Scottish Land Fund was recently relaunched – expanded to apply to urban projects as well as rural projects. It will encourage more communities to buy land and buildings in the heart of their local area that matters – delivering social, environmental and economic benefits for generations to come. Here we introduce the new Scottish Land Fund committee, appointed by the Scottish Government, as detailed in their press announcement:


Land Reform Minister Dr Aileen McLeod has announced the appointment of seven members to the new Scottish Land Fund committee.

The committee will be chaired by John Watt – and is made up of Calum Macleod, Lisa Tennant, David Green, Duncan MacPherson, Anne Lear and Janet Miles. The appointments will run until March 2017 on a part time basis.

The Scottish Government’s £10 million Scottish Land Fund will support more communities – both urban and rural – to buy their land and other assets. The fund is being delivered by the Big Lottery Fund in partnership with Highlands and Islands Enterprise, and opens for applications on April 1.

The previous Land Fund awarded £9 million over three years to 52 communities throughout Scotland. Of the 500,000 acres of land already in community ownership, over 90,000 acres was purchased with help from the Land Fund, benefiting 71,000 people throughout the country.

Dr Aileen McLeod, Land Reform Minister said: “I am delighted to announce the new committee members for the Scottish Land Fund. Each member has a wide ranging experience and a deep passion for community land issues and I am confident collectively they will provide strategic direction and ensure the success of fund.

“With the passing of the momentous Land Reform Bill last week and the opening of the new fund next month – community ownership in Scotland is going from strength to strength. We are seeing a new dawn for radical land reform across the length and breadth of the country. The Scottish Land Fund has already made a real difference to many local communities across Scotland helping community groups to purchase their own land.

“I would encourage all those urban and rural communities with ambitions to own their own land to apply for the Scottish Land Fund. This Fund can help communities across the country acquire land and community assets which will make their communities stronger, resilient and more sustainable.”

The new appointments are:

Dr John Watt OBE from Inverness, will chair the committee. John has spent over 30 years working in the field of regional economic development. In 1997 he set up Highlands and Islands Enterprise’s Community Land Unit to assist communities to acquire and manage land assets. He is a retired Director of Strengthening Communities at HIE where he oversaw the Community Land Unit and other teams working in community-led rural regeneration. He has been involved in a number of community buyouts – including Gigha, Knoydart, North Harris, South Uist, Galson, and Eigg – both at acquisition and active management stages. John was also the vice convenor of the Land Reform Review Group as well as chair of the previous Scottish Land Fund.

Calum Macleod is a native Gaelic speaker from Finsbay in the Isle of Harris, who now lives in Glasgow. He is based in the School of GeoSciences at the University of Edinburgh and has an academic background in regional and rural development and a PhD in environmental policy implementation. He has also undertaken a variety of consultancy and research projects focusing on the relationship between community land and asset ownership, community empowerment and sustainable development. Calum provides commentary and analysis on land reform issues via his blog, Beyond the Horizon.

Lisa Tennant, from Glasgow, worked as a Consultant with Carbeth Hutters Community Company, leading their small team in developing and delivering the business plan for their ground-breaking £1.75 million community buy-out. Lisa also started, built and sold her own company, Book for Trees. The company was based in a rural area high on the Scottish Index of Multiple Deprivation and bought overstocked and damaged books from publishers, keeping them from landfill and creating jobs for local people, thus delivering economic, environmental and social benefits.

David Green OBE, from Achiltibuie, was an Independent Councillor and then Convener of Highland Council from 1999-2003. David was also Chairman of Cairngorms National Park Authority from 2006- 2012, where he was involved in setting up the Cairngorms Outdoor Access Trust an environmental, independently led charity to improve and maintain the large path network. David was also a board member of the Scotland Committee of the Big Lottery between 2006-14, as well as Chair of the Coastal Communities Highlands and Islands Panel. David was part of a community led enterprise as Chairman of Achiltibuie Village Hall Committee.

Duncan MacPherson, currently living on the Isle of Harris, has worked in community-led rural development in Scotland and Africa since 1993. Duncan is an experienced project manager in community land purchase, agricultural and conservation management, community woodland, construction, and renewables. Duncan is currently Commercial Development Manager of the West Harris Trust – community owner of 18,000 acres – overseeing the building of a combined community venue, office and business facility, as well as working on small scale renewable energy projects.

Anne Lear, from Glasgow is currently Chief Executive Govanhill Housing Association. From its roots as a small community based organisation, the Association now sits at the head of a group structure which includes the Govanhill Community Development Trust – which leases workspaces and supports wider community action – and GREAT Gardens, which provides training opportunities. Anne is also a lead member for the Glasgow and West of Scotland Forum of Housing Associations – with a special interest in community development and a former chair of the Scottish Federation of Housing Associations.

Janet Miles, a resident of Gairloch, has worked with community development trusts and social enterprises in rural Scotland for the past 17 years as part of her role in managing Gairloch and Loch Ewe Action forum. Janet has successfully secured loan funding from Social Investment Scotland and more than £2m of grant funding with almost 40 separate grants for community development projects. From being the only employee in 1999, the forum now employs a team of 11 staff, engages 40 volunteers and delivers a diverse range of projects over a vast geographic area. Janet is also a Non-Executive Director of the Development Trust Association Scotland.

Want to know more about the Scottish Land Fund – then get in touch:


Tel:         0300 123 7110