Introduction   Overview   The shape of the debate   Themes Theme 1 - A National Heritage Collection Theme 2 - Heritage for Communities Theme 3 Making heritage accessible Theme 4 Heritage and Tourism after 2014    
       
Introduction Connecting with conservation Case study Land Reform
Advocating Community Interests The options for the Trust Video Package Your views 
     
  Land Reform The National Trust for Scotland and Land Reform Inalienability Conservation Agreements Criticisms and responses Land reform review group report 2014 Community Empowerment (Scotland) Bill Conservation and communities Alternative models  
     
 

The Scottish Government introduced a Bill on 11th June 2014 to amend the Land Reform (Scotland) Act 2003. Scottish Government Minister Derek MacKay commented that the Bill’s purpose was to “Empower communities who wish to take over public land and buildings where they think they can make better use of them than their current public sector owners and ensure their ambitions are supported by public bodies".

In its media release announcing publication of the Bill, the Scottish Government stated that:

•The existing community ‘right to buy’ will be streamlined and extended to cover all parts of Scotland, both urban areas and larger rural towns, as part of plans to have one million acres into community ownership by 2020.

• Examples where communities might take over public assets could include land for community groups to grow their own food, develop play facilities for young people or a place for older people to meet and socialise.

• Rules on Scotland's local authority allotment sites will also be simplified strengthening the duty on councils to provide sites triggered by actual demand. The Bill will also protect allotment sites from closure.

The ‘public sector owners’ referred to include organisations like Forestry Commission Scotland and local authorities.  

For clarification, the National Trust for Scotland is an independent charity and not a public sector organisation and is therefore not subject to those proposals within the Bill.

The Trust’s land may, however, fall within other provisions in the Bill which permit the compulsory acquisition of abandoned land by local groups.  The Bill does not set out a clear definition of ‘abandoned land’ and the Trust wishes to ensure that its inalienable land held for conservation could never be deemed to be abandoned.