Friday, 27 February 2015

Land Reform - Letter to the Minister

The Land Reform consultation was discussed during the Chairman's working Group meeting on 6 February, which took place just 4 days before the close of the consultation on the 'Future of Land Reform in Scotland'.

To summarise the discussion that took place, this is an extract from the Minutes of the meeting:
  • There is value to the Forum in understanding which proposals would create challenges or opportunities in the uplands.
  • The Forum should not miss the opportunity to express opinion on something considered to be important. There were concerns that the timescale for response (by Tuesday 10th February) was extremely tight.
  • Also, it was felt that, in order to be in place by May 2015, the Bill is not following the usual sequential process, it was short on detail and it was being rushed through at breakneck speed. 
  • Concern was raised about the unintended adverse consequences resulting from this fast-track process.
  • From the Consultation report, it was suggested that Forum members should focus their attention on proposals: 
    • 4 - Sustainable development test for land governance, 
    • 5 - A more proactive role for public sector land management, 
    • 6 - Duty of community engagement on charitable trustees when taking land management decisions, 
    • 7 - Business rates for shooting and deerstalking, and 
    • 10 - Wild Deer. 
A multi-signature submission to a Minister attracts more attention than individual letters and the most effective Forum response would be an immediate letter to the Minister expressing interest, some concern and an offer to support the process.
  • A letter would be drafted for the Chairman’s signature.
  • The letter should include a strong plea for more time to consider the potential unintended consequences in more detail.
The letter was sent to the Minister for Environment and it was submitted to the Consultation Team through the formal response system.  The letter can be viewed here.

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