Scottish Land Commission publish survey results
Results from two surveys carried out by the Scottish Land Commission last year are now available.
The Scottish Land Commission surveyed land owners and communities in order to establish a baseline understanding of the level of awareness and participation in engagement activities.
Over 40% of land owners and managers answered yes to the question 'are there land assets that could be sold, leased or made better use of in conjuntion with communities?'.
Land owners saw proper engagement as valuable, as it:
- enhances understanding between communities and landowners
- builds trust
- leads to improved relationships
- saves time
- reduces conflict and controversy
- promotes sharing of ideas and suggestions
The responses show that there is a difference between rural and urban communities when it comes to knowledge about land ownership and plans for land use. Around half the respondents in urban areas did not know who landowners were or how to contact them, compared to only around 15 percent in rural areas.
Community respondents said that engagement could improve by:
- effecting cultural change
- proper listening, dialogue and transparency of decision making
- getting more and better-quality information
- having a range of activities to engage a broader spectrum of people to participate
- helping communities to be better organised and better supported with resources to take part in and respond to engagement activities
Both surveys indicate a need to promote greater understanding between landowners and communities, and that support in engaging and developing relationships would be welcomed. The Commission recently launched a good practice programme which includes protocols, guidance and training in relation to land rights and responsibilities.
The programme’s aim is to strengthen relationships between everyone with an interest in land and property, and the Commission’s surveys will help to establish baseline detail on what both land owners and communities know and feel about local land issues and practices, including awareness of the Scottish Government’s Guidance on Engaging Communities in Decisions Relating to Land and the Land Commission’s Protocol on Community Engagement in Decisions Relating to Land.
Gemma Campbell, Good Practice Manager at the Scottish Land Commission, said:
"From our surveys we see there is a need for greater transparency around ownership and decision-making processes regarding land. We continue to work with membership organisations to promote the good practice programme. We have plans for workshops and training for key intermediaries, including membership organisations and land agents, to strengthen understanding and use of the guidance and protocol.
"Through our Good Practice Programme, we will be developing a Protocol on Transparency in Relation to Land Ownership and Management and publishing additional guidance on producing Management Plans that will enable landowners to share information about land use and management with communities.
"Our work on Community Engagement will continue to be a key part of the Good Practice Programme as it develops. We will promote and share information, including practical advice and case studies, which will provide clarity about expectations and reasonable and fair behaviour."