Scottish Land Commission seeks views on community engagement
The Scottish Land Commission has launched a new survey seeking views of communities across Scotland about community engagement in decisions relating to land.
The Commission wants to make sure that all people in Scotland have the opportunity to be involved in decisions about land that significantly affect them. The Commission is supporting communities, land owners and land managers to work together to make better – and fairer – decisions about land use with the publication of its first protocol on Community Engagement in Decisions Relating to Land.
The Commission’s protocol supports the guidance on engaging communities in decisions relating to land, which was published by the Scottish Government in April last year. Over the next couple of years, the Commission will review the effectiveness of the guidance, and recommend improvements if needed. The survey will establish a baseline against which progress can be measured and identify where further support needs to be developed by the Commission or other organisations.
Individual residents and community organisations in both urban and rural Scotland are being asked to complete the survey. The Commission hopes to:
- learn more about how the way land or buildings are managed impacts communities
- know what opportunities people have to influence decisions made when land-use changes
- hear what type of support is needed to make engagement more effective.
Clear and open communication is increasingly a key part of public life, with organisations creating mechanisms for ordinary people to be involved in decisions that affect them. A key area where people want to have their say is about local land use and management.
Helen Barton, community engagement advisor at the Scottish Land Commission, said: “We want to hear from communities in both urban and rural Scotland, to find out what level of community engagement is taking place around decisions related to land.
“Individuals can respond but also anyone who is involved with community organisations such as community councils, tenants’ or residents’ groups or local government.
“The information provided will not include any personally identifying information and we will collate and analyse the responses to see where there are trends.
“It is important to get an idea of what community engagement is happening now to not only use as a baseline measure but also to see if there are any lessons we can learn from current practices.”
In the survey, the Commission will also be looking to find out how many respondents are aware of the Scottish Government’s guidance as well as the Commission’s own Protocol for Community Engagement, which sets out general and specific expectations for owners and managers of land.
The survey will be open for responses until the end of September.