Community Empowerment and Landscape: Changing Policy

Our work in partnership with Community Land Scotland (CLS), an association of 90 community organisations that own and manage land for community benefit, has been transforming ways of thinking surrounding ‘development’ and ‘justice’ at the heart of the conservation debate.

There are too few people in Scotland’s rural places. Half of Scotland is now home to just 2.6% of the population and this is predicted to fall by a further 25% in the next generation. This has serious implications for people and the environment. Without action, many communities will not survive; the local and national economy will be affected; rural skills and knowledge will decline; distinctive cultural heritage will be lost and our society’s capacity to care for our land, landscapes and ecology will be diminished.

Development is needed to address these challenges, sustain rural communities and help them thrive.

We have been working with CLS to identify specific barriers to such development, advocating changes in policy and practice that will overcome them and enable much-needed rural development. Specifically, our focus is on the conservation and use of heritage in this context.

We are helping to change current policies for the protection of cultural, landscape and natural heritage, which are acting as a barrier to sustainable development.

CommunityDavid Scott