Response 771793996

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About You

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Name
Annie McKee

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Organisation
The James Hutton Institute

Questions

1. Have we captured the range of policy areas to which you think the land rights and responsibilities statement should be relevant?

Please select one item
Ticked Yes
No
Comments:
The James Hutton Institute (hereafter ‘the Institute’ or ‘we’) support the Scottish Government’s recognition of the importance of presenting a clear vision for land rights and responsibilities. We welcome the statement of principles, and its detailed revision to the draft published in the ‘Consultation on the Future of Land Reform in Scotland’ (Scottish Government, December 2014). The table in Chapter 2 of the consultation document represents a comprehensive compilation of the range of policy areas that would encompass land rights and responsibilities. It is heartening to read that the LRRS will complement existing frameworks (such as the Land Use Strategy for Scotland, National Planning Framework 3, and Scotland’s Economic Strategy), and guide the creation of future land-related policies, which we anticipate will be significant in light of the United Kingdom leaving the European Union. However, it is important to avoid the appearance of duplication with existing frameworks for land use policy in Scotland. For example, the structure of the LRRS into six ‘principles’ may be considered repetitive with regard to the ‘Principles for Sustainable Land Use’ as presented in the Land Use Strategy for Scotland (LUS), and questions arise as to how the LRRS principles interact with the LUS principles. To ensure that the LRRS is considered a legitimate and important document by the wider land management community there would be benefit in making certain that it is clearly distinct from existing frameworks. We welcome the intention of the LRRS to ‘inform the practices of all those who own, manage and use land, to achieve culture change’ (paragraph 32). However the current document does not provide sufficient detail on how this will be achieved. In particular, there should be a clearer definition of the link between the necessity to adhere to the LRRS by all landowners and land managers, and the sustainable development ‘test’ to be implemented within Part 5 of the Land Reform (Scotland) Act 2016. As a steering instrument the LRRS is significant, but there is insufficient detail within the LRRS regarding how the layers of governance in land use will interact (i.e. the different rows of the table in Chapter 2). Without sufficient allocation of resources and clear responsibilities, the implementation of the LRRS may be problematic. The LRRS would benefit from further detail regarding how the principles are to be enacted and by whom (e.g. the role of the Scottish Land Commissioners).

2. Do you agree with the Scottish Government’s proposed “human rights based approach” to the Land Rights and Responsibilities Statement?

Please select one item
Ticked Yes
No
Please give any further thoughts on the best way to ensure that the Statement is based on human rights or gives full consideration to human rights.
Yes, we agree with this approach, in particular the intention that the LRRS will inform the practices of all those who own, manage, and use land, to achieve a ‘culture change’. This aspiration is in alignment with the research findings presented by the ‘Sustainable Estates for the 21st Century’ project (cf. McKee, 2015; Glass et al., 2013a). Recent work by Oxfam on the ‘Scottish Doughnut’ suggests a ‘social foundation’ below which no one in Scotland should fall (Sayers, et al., 2014). Research is ongoing that explores the ‘doughnut’ model within the Scottish Government Strategic Research Programme (SRP) 2016 – 2021, in particular on the sustainable and integrated management of natural assets. Furthermore, the principles of the human rights based approach as outlined in the consultation document comply with established good practice in deliberative and consensus planning (Healey et al., 2003; Healey, 2006). We welcome this approach, but recognise the challenges in operationalisation which are not detailed in the consultation document. References: Glass, J., Price, M., Warren, C., Scott, A. (Eds.) 2013a. ‘Lairds, Land and Sustainability’, Edinburgh University Press. Healey, P. 2006. ‘Collaborative Planning: Shaping Places in Fragmented Societies’, Second Edition, Palgrave MacMillan, Great Britain. Healey, P., de Magalhaes, C., Madanipour, A. and Pendlebury, J. 2003. ‘Place, identity and local politics: analysing initiatives in deliberative governance’. In: Hajer, M. A. and Wagenaar, H. (Eds.) ‘Deliberative Policy Analysis: Understanding Governance in the Network Society’, Cambridge University Press, United Kingdom. McKee, A.J. 2015. Legitimising the Laird? Communicative Action and the role of private landowner and community engagement in rural sustainability. Journal of Rural Studies 41: 23-36. Sayers, M., Trebeck, K. and Stuart, F. 2014. ‘The Scottish Doughnut’. Oxfam Research Reports, July 2014.

3. Do you agree with the Vision of the Land Rights and Responsibilities Statement?

Please select one item
Ticked Yes
No
Comments:
We agree with the Vision of the LRRS, and we are supportive of visioning approaches that seek to reach agreement amongst stakeholder groups with different viewpoints (cf. Duckett et al., 2017). However, we believe that a ‘vision’ represents an ideal situation, and should be supported by an action plan that sets out the steps required to achieve the vision. We suggest that the word ‘should’ is replaced by the word ‘will’, and that it details its intention to develop an associated action plan. References: Duckett, DG., McKee, A.J., Sutherland, L-A., Kyle, C., Boden, L.A., Auty, H., Bessell, P.R. and McKendrick, I.J. 2017.Scenario planning as communicative action: Lessons from participatory exercises conducted for the Scottish livestock industry. Technological Forecasting and Social Change 114:138-151.

4. Do you agree with Principle 1 of the Land Rights and Responsibilities Statement?

Please select one item
Ticked Yes
No
Comments
Yes, we agree with Principle 1, and have no specific comments at this stage.

5. Do you agree with Principle 2 of the Land Rights and Responsibilities Statement?

Please select one item
Ticked Yes
No
Comments
Yes, we agree with Principle 2, in particular that ensuring the provision of land for affordable housing is of considerable importance in the promotion of sustainable communities in both rural and urban areas. The research findings from the ‘Diversity of Ownership’ project indicate that agricultural output and population growth may be supported by more diverse landownership patterns, in conjunction with other factors related to local development (Thomson et al., 2016). The argument that economies of scale are necessary for agricultural production is well established (Freyfogle, 2002), and may be used to counter the implications of Principle 2 in terms of the increasing fragmentation of large land-holdings. It is suggested that opportunities for cooperatives and collaborative land management should be promoted and encouraged through providing illustrative case studies, peer-to-peer learning opportunities, and other incentives (e.g. training in cooperative governance) (cf. EU PRO AKIS project). We suggest that consideration be given to how Principle 2 interacts with the proposal within the Land Use Strategy regarding the establishment of regional land use partnerships (Policy 7). The opportunity to learn from the experience and collaborative governance model of deer management groups across Scotland could be valuable for understanding the consequences and successful enacting of Principle 2 (cf. Austin et al., 2014). References: Austin, Z., Smart, J. C.R., Yearley, S., Irvine, R.J. and White, P.C.R. 2014. Incentivising the collaborative management of mobile ecological resources. Land Use Policy 36: 485-491. Freyfogle, E. T. 2002. The tragedy of fragmentation. Valparaiso University Law Review 36: 307-337. Thomson, S., Moxey, A., Wightman, A., McKee, A., Miller, D., Brodie, E., Glass, J., Hopkins, J., Mathews, K., Thomson, K., Mc Morran, R. and Bryce, R. 2016. ‘The impact of diversity of ownership scale on social, economic and environmental outcomes: Exploration and case studies’. Report for the Scottish Government, March 2016.

6. Do you agree with Principle 3 of the Land Rights and Responsibilities Statement?

Please select one item
Ticked Yes
No
Comments:
Yes, we agree with Principle 3, given the evidence of proactive change undertaken by community landowners in Scotland, with associated perceived benefits for community resilience (cf. Skerratt, 2013 and ongoing work in the Scottish Government Strategic Research Programme 2016-2021). The inclusion of land leasing rather than solely land ownership by communities is welcomed. In a report for the Scottish Government, Roberts and McKee (2015) describe the range of barriers to community land-based activity, including the acquisition of land and properties through sale or lease arrangements. One barrier to achieving Principle 3 may be that the current policy agenda favours asset transfer to communities, with some community funders (e.g. The Big Lottery Fund) making asset ownership a condition of funding. There are, however, positive examples of lease arrangements between landowners and communities that facilitate a ‘feasibility study in practice’ for later community ownership (Roberts and McKee, 2015). The LRRS could acknowledge the heterogeneity of how land rights are operated in practice, and the opportunity for the ‘bundle of rights’ to be re-negotiated between owner and community, considering the public goods arising from different land uses (cf. Quinn et al., 2010). To ensure that more communities benefit from an opportunity to be involved with how land is owned and managed, it is important for the Scottish Government to consider how best to support community lease arrangements, including funding provision. We suggest including an amendment to Principle 3, to highlight leasing as an option, in addition to ownership by communities. We would also suggest that the Scottish Government considers further the opportunity to offer ‘on-the-ground’ support to increase the likelihood of successful community land-based activities, and to avoid volunteer fatigue (cf. Mc Morran et al., 2014). References: Mc Morran, R., Scott, A.J., and Price, M.F. 2014. Reconstructing sustainability; participant experiences of community land tenure in North West Scotland. Journal of Rural Studies, 33, 20-31. Quinn, C.H., Fraser, E.D.G., Hubacek, K. and Reed, M.S. 2010. ‘Property rights in UK uplands and the implications for policy and management’, Ecological Economics 69: 1355-1363. Roberts, D. and McKee, A. 2015. ‘Understanding the barriers to community land-based activities’. Report for the Scottish Government, September 2015. Skerratt, S. 2013. Enhancing the analysis of rural community resilience: Evidence from community landownership. Journal of Rural Studies 31: 36-46.

7. Do you agree with Principle 4 of the Land Rights and Responsibilities Statement?

Please select one item
Ticked Yes
No
Comments:
Yes, we agree with Principle 4. It is well understood that the rights and responsibilities of land ownership are intertwined, and indeed, studies of private land ownership in Scotland describe the aspiration by landowners to be stewards and custodians of the landscape and natural resources under their ownership (cf. Sutherland et al., 2011; McKee et al., 2013). It is important that the LRRS seeks to build on these aspirations and ensure ‘buy in’ from private landowners, through continued review of the balance of regulation and incentives within land use policy. The Institute welcomes the Scottish Government’s intentions to bring forward proposals for Compulsory Sale Orders. Barriers arising from land speculation and so-called ‘corporate inertia’ are recognised as inhibiting community land-based activities (cf. Roberts and McKee, 2015; Adams et al., 2001). Such barriers may be removed through more proactive use of existing Compulsory Purchase Powers, yet there appears to be a reluctance on the part of local authorities to enact these powers, due to perceived risks and costs (McKee and Roberts, 2016). We suggest a cautionary approach in the introduction of ‘new’ powers and policies that may be considered duplicates of (and thus undermine) those already in existence. Instead, we would like to see further detail on what constitutes ‘high standards of land ownership, management and use’, and recommend the toolkit for sustainable land management developed by Glass et al. (2010, 2013b) as a relevant model. References: Adams, D., Disberry, A., Hutchison, N. and Munjoma, T. 2001. Ownership constraints to brownfield development. Environment and Planning A 33: 453-477. Glass, J.H., Scott, A.J. and Price, M.F. 2010. ‘Developing a Sustainability Assessment Tool for Upland Estates’. In: Marrs, S.J., Foster, S., Hendrie, C., Mackay, E.C., Thompson, D.B.A. (Eds.) ‘The Changing Nature of Scotland’, TSO Scotland, Edinburgh. pp. 425-428. Glass, J.H., Scott, A.J. and Price, M.F. 2013b. ‘The power of the process: Co-producing a sustainability assessment toolkit for upland estate management in Scotland.’ Land Use Policy, 30(1): 254-265. McKee, A. and Roberts, D. 2016. ‘Good practice in overcoming barriers to community land-based activities’. Report for the Scottish Government, June 2016. McKee, A., Warren, C., Glass, J. and Wagstaff, P. 2013. ‘The Scottish private estate.’ In: Glass, J., Price, M.F., Warren, C. and Scott, A. ‘Lairds, Land and Sustainability’, Chapter 3; Edinburgh University Press, Edinburgh. pp. 63-85. Roberts, D. and McKee, A. 2015. ‘Understanding the barriers to community land-based activities’. Report for the Scottish Government, September 2015. Sutherland, L.A., Barnes, A., McCrum, G., Blackstock, K.L. and Toma, L. 2011. Towards a cross-sectoral analysis of land use decision-making in Scotland. Landscape and Urban Planning 100: 1-10.

8. Do you agree with Principle 5 of the Land Rights and Responsibilities Statement?

Please select one item
Ticked Yes
No
Comments:
Yes, we agree with Principle 5. As the James Hutton Institute stated in its response to the Land Reform Bill (submitted in February 2015), the main advantages of a publicly available and comprehensive land register include: • Increasing transparency and accountability (especially through links to individual land-holdings); contributing minimum data availability to all and the democratisation of information; supporting the empowerment of different groups. • Allowing for better monitoring of policy efficacy/bench-marking and overseeing land manager actions (e.g. based on regulation/incentives). • Increasing the potential to increase accessibility to data for research, as suggested currently for the next phase of the Scotland’s Environment website. • Overcoming issues arising from diverse data sources and ‘messiness’ through dataset centralisation/compatibility. • Improving market efficiencies through greater knowledge about land holdings.

9. Do you agree with Principle 6 of the Land Rights and Responsibilities Statement?

Please select one item
Ticked Yes
No
Comments:
Yes, we agree with Principle 6 and welcome the progress of increasing community engagement in decisions about land across the policy landscape. We look forward to the forthcoming consultation on the ‘Guidance on Engaging Communities’ arising from Part 4 of the Land Reform (Scotland) Act 2016. It is suggested that case studies of successful engagement processes are presented, with detailed advice for landowners and communities as to how best to undertake similar processes. Case studies are presented in the booklet ‘Working Together for Sustainable Estate Communities’ (Glass et al., 2012), whilst more detailed guidance and facilitation support is requested by interviewees in the report ‘Good Practice in Overcoming Barriers to Community Land-Based Activities’ (McKee and Roberts, 2016). The academic literature identifies benefits from the engagement of landowners with communities, including public credibility and greater understanding, better decision-making, increasing potential for innovation, as well as financial and time-saving benefits when repeated interactions lead to trusting relationships (as described by McKee, 2015). Reducing uncertainty is considered a further benefit, and the question arises as to whether this would reduce drivers for community ‘buy-outs’. Similar, and mutual, benefits are displayed through a partnership approach; however, they are constrained by a lack of accountability, capacity, or clear goals, as well as manipulation (by other interests), the exclusion of interests, and a lack of integration or communication. These barriers are replicated in theoretical understandings of ‘Communicative Action’, which underpin new collaborative, inclusive, planning processes, and assert that through social interaction and debate, collective action can be achieved, contributing to mutual understanding and building relational resources (cf. McKee, 2015; Habermas, 1981). Returning to Principle 6, we recommend that further consideration is given to use of the term ‘wide’ with regard to the scope and scale of community engagement in decisions about land. Private and third sector landowners describe their challenges in undertaking community engagement processes, including perceived and actual resource costs, such as staff time, specialist advice, and facilitating community engagement activities (see McKee and Roberts, 2016; McKee, 2015, Eastwood et al. forth.). There is a perception that community engagement can be restricted due to resource limitations, as well as ‘defensiveness’ and mistrust (McKee and Roberts, 2016). It is anticipated that the assertion that community engagement should be ‘wide’ will be met with concerns regarding resource costs on the part of those required to undertake community engagement (e.g. landowners). Current support for facilitation and training in community engagement should be reviewed to ensure that larger proportions of community members are involved in decisions about land. Furthermore, it is important that advice on ‘who is the community’ accompanies Principle 6, as well as how best to engage different members of ‘communities within the community’ (Shucksmith et al., 1996; McKee, 2015). We have some concerns that pursuit of Principle 6 could lead to ‘consultation fatigue’, due to the many consultative bodies already operating (e.g. community councils, LEADER local action groups, Community Planning Partnerships, etc.). It is unclear how these different consultative groups interact, both currently (i.e. before implementation of further consultation processes through the LRRS), and are expected to interact in the future. It is also important that Principle 6 corresponds closely with the ongoing consultation by Scottish Government on the future of the Scottish Planning System. Finally, we suggest that consideration be given to the inclusion of the words ‘transparent and accountable’ within Principle 6. Community engagement processes that are transparent and accountable are critical to underpin genuine and trusting relationships between landowners and communities, aid overcoming power relations, and seek to achieve the best outcomes for all involved with, and influenced by, land management (cf. McKee, 2015). References: Eastwood, A. Fischer, A and Byg, A. (forth.) The challenges of participatory and systemic environmental management: from aspiration to implementation. Journal of Environmental Planning and Management. Under review. Glass, J., Mc Morran, R., Price, M. and McKee, A. 2012. ‘Working Together for Sustainable Estate Communities: Exploring the potential of collaborative initiatives between private estates, communities and other partners’, Centre for Mountain Studies, Perth College, University of the Highlands and Islands, 2012. Habermas, J. 1981. ‘The Theory of Communicative Action Volume 1: Reason and the Rationalization of Society’, Translated by Thomas McCarthy (1984), Heineman, London. McKee, A.J. 2015. Legitimising the Laird? Communicative Action and the role of private landowner and community engagement in rural sustainability. Journal of Rural Studies 41: 23-36. McKee, A. and Roberts, D. 2016. ‘Good practice in overcoming barriers to community land-based activities’. Report for the Scottish Government, June 2016. Shucksmith, M., Chapman, P., Clark, G., Black, S. and Conway E. 1996. ‘Rural Scotland Today – the best of both worlds?’, Avebury, Ashgate Publishing Ltd, England.

10. We would like to hear real life stories about the relationship between Scotland’s land and people. Please provide any case studies which you feel illustrate the vision or principles.

Comments:
Through interview techniques, focus groups, questionnaires, and innovative visual and ethnographic methods, researchers at the James Hutton Institute have conducted and continue to explore questions around the relationship between Scotland’s land and people. Selected examples that are relevant to informing the vision and principles of the LRRS include (please also refer to document submitted by email with accessible web links): - ‘Sustainable Estates for the 21st Century’, including the project book ‘Lairds, Land and Sustainability’, presents case studies and lessons for sustainable upland land management that relate closely to the principles in the LRRS. - The recent film ‘Grazing on the Edge’, an output of the TRANSGRASS project, examines the challenges and competing demands of land management in upland grazing areas (funded through Scottish Government Underpinning Capacity 2011 – 2016). - The EU-funded ‘FarmPath’ project used a participatory visioning approach that involved farmers, community and local authority representatives to understand pathways towards the regional sustainability of agriculture in Europe. Similar lessons from successful visioning approaches are detailed in research reports by the Centre for Expertise on Animal Disease Outbreaks. - The contribution of green and open space in public health and wellbeing is demonstrated in the Scottish Government-funded ‘GreenHealth’ project, which included the case study of Finlathen Park, Dundee, to explore community visioning for urban greenspace. - A further case study from North East Scotland utilises visualisation techniques to support the public interpretation of future climate change and land use choices (funded by the Scottish Government Strategic Research Programme 2011 – 2016); see examples of use of the ‘virtual landscape theatre’. - A recent study monitored the decision making of a private estate as it attempted to widen participation in the governance and management of its land (Eastwood et al, forth.). The study identified a number of key factors which counteracted the estates desire to widen community participation. These included lack of organisational capacity, a perceived risk of losing control of the stewardship for the land, and the inability to reconcile divergent but equally valued perspectives. - The Ecosystem Approach Review, funded by the Scottish Government Strategic Research Programme 2011 – 2016, explored existing examples of the Ecosystem Approach, to identify implications for future equitable and holistic natural resource management. - Reiterating our response to Questions 1, 5 and 9, lessons can also be learned from the Aberdeenshire Land Use Strategy Pilot, which will support development of the Land Use Strategy 2016 – 2012. In particular, the Local Focus Area pilot participants indicated their support for greater integration of land use planning and improved coordination between different policy areas.

11. Do you have any further comments?

Comments:
We believe that there is a need for a monitoring framework or ‘impact assessment’ to be established for the LRRS (see earlier research on ‘Monitoring and Evaluating the Effects of Land Reform on Rural Scotland’; Slee et al., 2008). This will support an effective review process, to be undertaken every five years, similar to that established for the Land Use Strategy. References: Slee., B., Brown, K., Blackstock, K., Cook, P., Grieve, J. and Moxey, A. 2008. ‘Monitoring and Evaluating the Effects of Land Reform on Rural Scotland: A Scoping Study and Impact Assessment’, Scottish Government Social Research. Sutherland, L.A., Barnes, A., McCrum, G., Blackstock, K.L. and Toma, L. 2011. Towards a cross sectoral analysis of land use decision-making in Scotland. Landscape and Urban Planning 100: 1-10.

Impact Assessment

12. Please tell us about any potential impacts, either positive or negative, that you consider the proposals in this consultation may have.

Comments:
We anticipate that if the principles are enacted through current and future land policies, there will be a positive impact in terms of community empowerment, with associated benefits for the democratic process and overcoming inequalities in Scotland. Negative impacts could arise as a result of the proposed Compulsory Sale Orders, which may lead to the removal of property rights of landowners. However, consideration of these potential impacts reiterates the importance of reflecting on individual versus collective, versus societal human rights, as well as the distribution of responsibilities and rights (i.e. benefits) between these categories, and according to the nature of the resource (e.g. public or common pool resources) (cf. Ostrom, 1990). We refer the Scottish Government to the land-related Sustainable Development Goals, which are underpinned by good land governance and human rights (cf. Enemark, 2017). References: Enemark, S. 2017. Supporting the 2030 global agenda. RICS Land Journal, March/April 2017: 10-12. Ostrom, E. 1990. ‘Governing the Commons. The Evolution of Institutions for Collective Action’, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press.

13. Please tell us about any potential costs and burdens that you think may arise as a result of the proposals within this consultation.

Comments:
We anticipate that if the LRRS Principles are enacted, funding requests for the Scottish Land Fund (and other asset transfer funding sources, e.g. local authorities and the Big Lottery) will increase, as community land ownership and leasing increases. There may also be costs arising from increasing community engagement processes, which will be required to be met by landowners, and possibly community groups themselves (e.g. where they invite the landowner to initiate a dialogue to progress proposals for a community land-based activity).

14. Please tell us about any potential impacts, either positive or negative, that you consider that any of the proposals in this consultation may have on the environment.

Comments:
As stated in the James Hutton Institute’s response to the Land Reform Bill in 2015, the proposal for an increasingly diverse and widely dispersed landownership pattern raises the prospect of an increase in diversity of land uses and landscape mosaics, which may consequently increase biodiversity. It is also anticipated that environmental impacts may arise with greater community involvement in decision-making around land. In particular, it is likely that local community wishes for housing and economic developments may lead to greater development proposed for both green and brown field sites, with impacts on biodiversity and access to green space. New community landowners could adopt different land management approaches to those undertaken historically, e.g. including decreasing emphasis on game management, which could lead to environmental changes. Finally, it would be hoped that with greater access to and involvement in the management of land and natural resources, pro-environmental behaviours by communities could be promoted, leading to positive impacts on the local and global environment.