Success of land reform
One community a month funded to buy land since 2012.
Over 45,000 people in 32 communities are benefiting from land bought with help from the Scottish Land Fund, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said today as two additional areas received funding.
Residents in Newburgh, Fife have been awarded £51,925 to buy a former town reservoir and associated land while the residents of Culbokie, on the Black Isle, will receive £96,691 to buy local land for community uses, following an announcement from the Scottish Land Fund today.
This means total funding of over £6.5 million capital and £850,000 revenue has been awarded since June 2012 – helping the equivalent of one community a month achieve their goal of owning the land they live and work on.
The First Minister and Rural Affairs Secretary Richard Lochhead marked these figures with a visit to Aigas Community Forest which is run by the local community as a working forest that provides economic, social and environmental benefits to the local area and residents.
Ms Sturgeon said:
“The land and people who form part of a community can often be its best and most valuable assets. Owning their land can help realise their aspirations and dreams, make a real difference to long term sustainability and build stronger, resilient and supportive communities.
“As Aigas Community Forest shows, when land is locally owned and managed for the good of the community, people reap the benefits. That’s why I am pleased that an average of one community a month has been helped to buy land since the land fund opened – with two more communities now set to follow in these footsteps thanks to today’s announcement.
“These figures show this government’s land reform agenda is helping communities in tackling inequalities – that’s why I’m pleased we’ve committed to £10 million a year from 2016 to help more communities purchase land.
“Together with the Community Empowerment (Scotland) Bill, our proposed dedicated resource within the Scottish Government to promote and facilitate land ownership across the whole of Scotland, and further legislative proposals, this will help more communities realise the dream of owning their land.”
Mr Lochhead said:
“Land reform has already delivered significant benefits to rural communities across Scotland. How we manage rights over land in Scotland determines the benefits our land can bring to our economy and our communities, as we can see from examples such as Aigas Community Forest.
“Many communities across Scotland are already benefitting from owning their own land. I’m pleased that residents of Newburgh, Fife and the Black Isle village of Culbokie will be the latest to benefit from the Scottish Land Fund, which will allow them to realise their dreams of bringing land under community control and deliver the wider aspirations of their communities.
“We want to build on this progress and that’s why we’ve recently consulted on a number of proposals to improve the fairness of our system of land ownership in Scotland and will bring forward legislation in the Land Reform Bill in this parliament.”