Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park hosts a discussion on good practices
Landowners and managers within Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park came together to discuss good practices and help stimulate fresh thinking to ensure Scotland’s land is managed responsibly. The event at Kinlochard Village Hall was hosted by the Scottish Land Commission, in partnership with Scottish Land and Estates and Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park Authority, featuring sessions and discussion around fairness, engagement and opportunities for land in Scotland.
The event was part of the Scottish Land Commission’s ongoing efforts to promote the Scottish Land Rights and Responsibilities Statement (LRRS) – a statement articulating the best practice and vision for the ownership, use and management of land, setting out how there should be a balance between the rights of landowners, managers, local communities and society at large.
Emma Cooper, Head of Land Rights and Responsibilities at the Scottish Land Commission said: “It is encouraging to have such positive engagement from significant landowners and managers in the national park in developing good practice. Each participant took time away from their usual activities to consider what responsible landownership looks like, demonstrating leadership and commitment to good practice. The group of landowners and managers expressed their support for the principles of the LRRS. Insights were shared about practical good practices in community engagement and transparency and there was robust discussion about land reform legislation and voluntary approaches.”
Case studies showcase the benefits of collaboration
The discussion focussed on routes to collaboration between landowners, land managers and communities – citing case studies from Luss Estates and Lochgoil Community Trust showing the mutual benefits that collaborative planning brings landowners and communities.
Luss Estates is a diversified rural business that manages over 40,000 acres of land within the national park. The estate has been working closely with the local community to deliver a range of projects, such as affordable housing, tourism development, environmental enhancement and community empowerment. The estate has also supported the establishment of the Luss and Arden Community Development Trust, which aims to improve the quality of life and economic wellbeing of the area.
Lochgoil Community Trust is a charitable organisation that manages various assets and services for the benefit of the residents and visitors of Lochgoilhead and Carrick Castle. The trust has been involved in several initiatives, such as running a community bus service, maintaining footpaths and trails, developing a hydro scheme and acquiring land for community use. The trust has also engaged with the landowners and managers in the area to ensure that their plans and activities are aligned with the community’s needs and aspirations.
Land reform is a key issue for Scotland’s future
The event was timely, as Scotland is preparing for a new land reform bill from the Scottish Government, which is expected to introduce measures to diversify land ownership, increase transparency and accountability, and enhance community participation and empowerment. The bill is based on the recommendations of the Scottish Land Commission, which has played a major role in guiding the government on the pivotal subject, which is at the heart of the biggest issues of the time – from the transition to net zero, nature crises, housing shortages, economic prosperity and wealth inequality.
The Scottish Land Commission’s new strategy, which was launched in October 2023, focuses on people, power and prosperity – recognising the challenges in changing centuries of concentrated land ownership as well as the opportunities to deliver on Scotland’s ambitions for climate, communities and the economy. The plan outlines the Land Commission’s combination of bold thinking and research to shape changes in law and policy and its commitment to working with landowners, managers and communities to provide advice and support tangible change on the ground. In the next three years, it is set to expand its work to enable people to participate in and influence decisions about land; diversify power and control in land ownership and governance as well as how Scotland uses the value and benefits of land to create national economic prosperity.
Hamish Trench, Chief Executive, said: “People connect to Scotland’s land in many powerful ways. Land is central to Scotland’s big national ambitions for local democracy, climate, nature and economy and it matters enormously to people at a local level in both urban and rural communities. This is an exciting time in Scotland’s land when reforms to how we own and use land can really make a difference to individuals, communities and to our big national ambitions for net zero and economic transformation.”