Engaging Communities in Decisions Relating to Land

The purpose of the consultation (which ended on 16th June 2017) on Engaging Communities in Decisions Relating to Land is to find out how land owners and managers should consult with local communities. This consultation seeks the views of key stakeholders on the draft version, therefore it is important for both land owners, managers and local communities to take part and respond. The guidance resulting out of this consultation could be transformative for communities, if it’s done well. To ensure your concerns and views on the draft guidance are heard you need to respond before the 16th June here.

Under Part 4 of the Land Reform (Scotland) Act 2016 (“the Act”), Scottish Ministers have a duty to issue “guidance about engaging communities in decisions relating to land which may affect communities” (“the Guidance”).

The purpose of the Guidance is to encourage land owners and land managers to develop co-operative and positive working relationships with local communities. The aim is to support good working practices that can lead to mutually beneficial solutions to land-related problems and better local outcomes for economic, environmental, social or cultural issues. The consultation seeks the views of key stakeholders on the draft Guidance.

The Guidance is quite comprehensive in its scope. It applies to all land in Scotland, including buildings and structures on the land and watercourses. It is relevant to all land owners and managers taking decisions which could impact on a local community, including private, public or third sector organisations and individuals. The Guidance is to be used when decisions could have a potentially significant impact on a community’s economic, environmental, social or cultural opportunities are included. It potentially relates to a range of contexts and circumstances, including government policy on land use and land reform.

The guidance covers the following areas:

· Why should I engage with communities?

· Best practice principles for fair engagement

· When should I carry out engagement?

· How should I engage?

· Who should I engage?

· References

It contains proposals and methods for assisting people to implement successful engagement.

The consultation asks questions 14 questions relating to the Guidance. These include its relationship to legal and statutory requirements and to the application of the Guidance (see below for details).

1. Does the draft Guidance respond appropriately to the considerations of Section 44(2) of the Act?

2. Do you agree with our proposed scope for the Guidance?

3. Do you agree with our approach to the relationship with existing statutory requirements?

4. Do you agree with our approach to using the National Standards for Community Engagement to inform this Guidance?

5. Have we identified appropriate uses for the Guidance in section 1 of the draft Guidance? Please explain you answer.

6. Have we identified appropriate reasons for why community engagement should take place in section 2 of the draft Guidance? Please explain your answer.

7. Have we identified appropriate best practice principles in section 3 of the draft Guidance? Please explain your answer.

8. Have we identified appropriate situations for when engagement should or should not take place in section 4 of the draft Guidance? Please explain your answer.

9. Have we identified appropriate methods for engaging with communities in section 5 of the draft Guidance? Please explain your answer.

10. Have we identified appropriate ways of identifying who to engage with in section 6 of the draft Guidance? Please explain your answer.

11. Considering the draft Guidance as a whole, do you agree that it has proportionate and reasonable expectations of land owners, land managers and communities? How could we improve the Guidance in this respect?

12. In relation to Part 5 of the Land Reform (Scotland) Act 2016, we consider the Guidance should contain sufficient certainty so that land owners and land managers can demonstrate that they are fulfilling the expectations of the Guidance, or so that communities can demonstrate that this is not the case. This must be balanced against being overly prescriptive and failing to account for the specific local contexts in which the decision is being taken. Do you agree that, as a whole, the draft Guidance balances these concerns? How could we improve the Guidance in this respect?

13. In the final published Guidance we would like to include examples of when engagement should be carried out. Can you provide examples of situations in which you think that engagement either is, or is not, necessary?

14. Any other comments?

Emma Cooper

Emma_SRA

Emma joined SRA in 2014 and is our Chief Executive. She is resident on the Isle of Bute in Argyll where her partner runs a small business.

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