ESTATES are willing partners in delivering for rural Scotland, Scottish Land and Estates has said this week.
The organisation, which represents land-based businesses, said its members embraced many of the goals outlined in the Scottish Land Commission’s first strategic plan, published recently. 
Chairman of Scottish Land and Estates, David Johnston, said: “We recognise that land reform is an ongoing process, and the Scottish Land Commission’s first strategic plan brings with it the hope that the ability of private landownership to deliver benefits for all of Scotland will be more readily acknowledged as this reform evolves over the next decade.
“Estates are at the forefront of delivering housing in rural areas, often at reduced market rates and with a higher provision than that made available by local authorities. Land-based businesses play an active role in sectors such as agriculture, forestry, food and drink, energy and tourism, providing thousands of jobs as well as driving prosperity in our rural areas. 
“We want to deliver further growth in our rural economies in future years and all types of ownership, whether private, community or public, will have a part to play in achieving that. The work of the Scottish Land Commission, delivering independently-led research and analysis, can ensure a joined-up approach is taken to policy affecting land.”
Scottish Land and Estates added that the new Land Rights and Responsibilities Statement, which was published this week, aligns with many aspects of the organisation’s Landowners’ Commitment which was published in 2014.
Mr Johnstone continued: “Our Landowners’ Commitment, published three years ago prior to the recent land reform legislative process, outlined our clear undertaking to be open, inclusive, enabling and responsible. The Land Rights and Responsibilities Statement reflects some of the themes we identified at this point and sets out many aspects of good land stewardship which is practised across Scotland.
“We welcome the recognition given by the government to landowners that are delivering for their communities across Scotland. The new document sets out principles by which estates will continue their efforts but it should also be acknowledged that the statement does not just apply to landowners – local authorities, businesses, tenants, land users and communities will also have a part to play in ensuring decisions taken that relate to land can balance public and private interests.”