The James Hutton Institute’s deputy chief executive and director of science, Professor Deb Roberts has been appointed to the board of the Scottish Land Commission (SLC).

The Commission’s role is to stimulate fresh thinking and change in how Scotland, as a nation, owns and uses land, and to advise the Scottish Government on an ongoing programme of land reform.

"It is a huge honour and privilege to be joining the Scottish Land Commission as a commissioner and to have the opportunity to build on the progress made by my predecessors,” said Professor Roberts.

“The importance of land for Scotland’s economy, environment, and society has never been clearer and we are at a critical stage in the Land Reform process. I look forward to collaborating with my colleagues in shaping Scotland's land policies for the benefit of all."

Professor Roberts joins new SLC chair Michael Russell and Dr Craig Mackenzie on the board as new land commissioners.

They were appointed by Scottish Ministers and replaced outgoing Chair, Andrew Thin, and Commissioners Megan MacInnes and Professor David Adams.

The incoming chair, Michael Russell, served as a Scottish Government minister and member of the Scottish Parliament at various times between 1999 and 2021.

He said: "Land is a vital resource for every citizen of our country and how we share it, care for it, and use it is a key issue at the heart of Scotland’s continuing story. I am strongly committed to a process of land reform that ensures that all communities benefit from this national asset and that it contributes to our sustainable well-being as a vital part of the process of building a fair and equitable Scotland."

"The first chair and commissioners, appointed as a result of the 2016 Act, have done a superb job and created a huge resource in terms of research and positive practice and helped to develop a strong staffing base with an enviable reputation for openness and fair dealing. Andrew Thin has led the organisation with dedication and enthusiasm and I am very aware of the legacy to which I and the new Commissioners will have to live up as they learn from those still in office.”

Dr Craig Mackenzie is a senior lecturer at the University of Edinburgh Business School with more than 20 years of experience in investment management, combining financial and sustainable investment roles.

The commission thanked outgoing chair, Andrew Thin and members of the board, Megan MacInnes and professor David Adams for their significant leadership contributions over the last seven years. Thin was appointed as the first chair of the SLC in 2016 and led the organisation through its establishment as a new public body.

The commission’s current focus will see it continue to advise on opportunities for reforms in how land is owned and used, including the forthcoming land reform bill, as well as providing leadership to shape responsible land ownership in practice.