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Landowner’s charter launched in Scotland

Words: Roger Milne

A new “landowner's charter” setting out a commitment to the principles and responsibilities of modern ownership has been launched by Scottish Land & Estates (SL&E).

The organisation, which represents landowners and rural businesses, has insisted that its membership will “take reasonable steps” to ensure that ownership of land is visible. The body has also stressed that its members will “communicate estate plans to those who will be affected by them”.

SL&E chairman David Johnstone said: “We recognise that there is always scope for improvement in the way landowners operate in a modern Scotland. We are responsive to constructive criticism and it is right we do everything we can to ensure land based businesses and estates operate to the highest standards and in an open and transparent manner."

The charter stipulated that SL&E members will “work with tenants and the wider community to encourage and support enterprise and business development where this fits with estate or farm objectives”.

The document also committed members to “work with the community to assist in the delivery of its social, economic and environmental aspirations”.

However, David Cameron, chairman of Community Land Scotland, questioned whether the charter would make much of a difference.

“You have to ask how it will empower communities to develop the land on which they live and work and directly share the benefits of that development; how it will prevent land being bought and sold for the wrong reasons; and how it will give a community long-term stability when land passes from one generation or individual to another,” he commented.