EMMA COOPER has been appointed as head of land rights and responsibilities for the Scottish Land Commission, where she will spearhead the organisation’s work to ensure more people benefit from Scotland’s land.

Formerly CEO of Scottish Rural Action, Ms Cooper will lead work to support the practical implementation of the Scottish Government’s Land Rights and Responsibilities Statement, which was the first of its kind anywhere in the world, setting out a vision for a 'strong and dynamic' relationship between Scotland’s land and its people. This applies to all urban and rural land, buildings and other infrastructure in Scotland, and underpins the work of the Land Commission in promoting change and setting expectations for the way the country's land is owned and used.

To this end, the Land Commission has begun publishing a series of Land Rights and Responsibilities Protocols, to set out in practical terms what should be expected as normal practice, for example in community engagement and transparency of ownership. Ms Cooper will be responsible for further developing the Commission’s Protocols and the supporting programme of guidance, advice and training to promote change in the way land is owned and used in Scotland.

The Commission is also examining other ways to strengthen implementation of land rights and responsibilities through legislative measures as well as changes in practice to realise people's rights in relation to land, and the responsibilities that are associated with land.

Chief executive Hamish Trench said: “I’m delighted to welcome Emma to the Commission’s team. Her experience will further strengthen our ability to lead positive change on the ground in the ways Scotland’s land is owned and used.

“It is even more critical in current times, as we shape an economic recovery, that Scotland’s land is owned and used in a fair and productive way, to deliver on the needs and ambitions of people, communities and businesses across rural and urban Scotland. The Land Commission’s role will continue to combine driving change on the ground in current practice as well as shaping proposals for the next stages in Scotland’s land reform programme.”