Land Fund will empower Scottish rural communities
The announcement of a £6million land fund to enable more rural communities to buy their land has been welcomed by today.
Environment Minister Stewart Stevenson launched the scheme at the Galson Estate in Lewis where locals took part in a successful buyout five years ago.
Mr Stevenson said such deals can "bring tremendous benefits both to communities themselves and Scotland as a whole".
He praised the Galson Estate as a "fantastic example of what a community buyout can achieve. Land ownership is key to building independent, resilient rural communities and creating a sense of confidence and community empowerment.
"That’s why the Scottish Government continues to fully support buyouts and is committed to providing opportunities for rural communities to acquire land."
Caithness Sutherland and Ross SNP MSP Rob Gibson said the fund, which will be delivered by Highlands and Islands Enterprise and the BIG Lottery fund, will give communities the means to help shape their own future and stand on their own two feet.
Mr Gibson, convener of the Scottish Parliament’s Rural Affairs Committee, continued:
"This news will be welcomed by aspirational communities the length and breadth, not just of my constituency, but across rural Scotland. I have long argued for a new land fund and am particularly happy to see this SNP government delivering on it, especially during some of the toughest economic times that we have faced."
"Allowing communities the chance and means to take control of their destiny is key to a vibrant, fair and sustainable future. The land fund is a way to help them do that, so today’s announcement is testament to the Scottish Governments belief that local community ownership delivers positive results for the local area and country as a whole."
"Communities still want the chance to take over their own affairs and this fund will help them on their way. The appetite for local control is growing in many communities that I represent – there is a mood that they can do things for themselves and need not be held back by others."
"Land reform and local empowerment are two of the core beliefs of the Scottish government. I am glad that they have acted on those principles with today’s announcement and look forward to putting the case for more community control and ownership in the years to come.