I submitted a response to the Scottish Government’s Consultation (PDF) on the Land Rights and Responsibilities Statement today. This Statement is provided for in Part 1 of the Land Reform (Scotland) Act 2016. You can find my response here (PDF).
Despite this topic seemingly falling squarely in my research interests, I almost did not respond to this exercise. In her excellent post on the topic, Dr Frankie McCarthy of the University of Glasgow explained her reservations about responding to this consultation. I do not have much to add to her reservations. I suppose the two factors that made me succumb to the consultation exercise and respond were: a) the fact that I plan to host an event at the University of Aberdeen’s May Festival on Friday 26 May which will touch on the Statement; and b) some direct encouragement from someone involved with the Scottish Government to participate in the exercise (you know who you are).
I will let my response speak for itself rather than set it out again in detail here. For those skim readers seeking edited highlights without clicking to a PDF, it is quite difficult to object to much of what appears in the proposed Statement: it is not quite the land reform equivalent of motherhood and apple pie, but it is difficult to imagine too many people being able to cogently argue against the thrust of the Statement. There are some potential issues though, and I do wonder how expectations will be managed to stop people feeling disgruntled if (when?) decisions are made relating to land that do not measure up to the aspirational Principles of the Statement.
The consultation exercise finishes tomorrow. I hope my own response is of interest, both to readers of this blog and indeed to the Scottish Government. I have probably left it too late for anyone to plagiarise from my response, but by all means do so if you find something of interest in it. Alternatively, if you disagree with me and/or think I have said something daft, please do let me know. (Although it is too late to stop me looking daft in my submission, as that is already in.)