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Hutton expertise contributes to parliamentary land reform inquiry

Dr Annie McKee taking part in the ECCLR Committee parliamentary session
"To achieve the overall objectives of the Right to Buy Land to Further Sustainable Development, the required specifications should be designed to be flexible throughout the application process, and community bodies offered professional support where appropriate"

The definition of ‘sustainable development’ and ‘community’, as described in the draft Right to Buy Land to Further Sustainable Development (Eligible Land, Specified Types of Area and Restrictions on Transfers, Assignations and Dealing) (Scotland) Regulations 2020, were discussed during a session of the Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform Committee of the Scottish Parliament, to which experts of the James Hutton Institute and other stakeholders gave evidence.

The regulations form the ‘final piece of the jigsaw puzzle’ of community right-to-buy mechanisms that have been created by the Land Reform (Scotland) Acts 2003 and 2016. The regulations discussed during this session of the ECCLR Committee provide community bodies with the power to compulsorily purchase land where such a transfer of ownership can be shown to be in the interest of furthering sustainable development and in the public interest.

The draft regulations detail the types of land and geographical communities that would be eligible within the ‘Part 5’ right-to-buy provisions. Stakeholders discussed the proportionality of the proposed regulations and the implications for landowners and community applicants.

Representing the James Hutton Institute, social researcher Dr Annie McKee said: “We welcome the opportunity to respond to Committee’s questions regarding the draft Part 5 regulations. We wish to reiterate our key concern regarding the scale of the public interest in comparison to local-level sustainable development, and that proposals and requirements are relevant and practicable for local community groups to achieve.

"We also observe that members of community bodies are contributing their time voluntarily, and effort in good faith. So, to achieve the overall objectives of the Right to Buy Land to Further Sustainable Development, the required specifications should be designed to be flexible throughout the application process, and community bodies offered professional support where appropriate.”

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Bernardo Rodriguez-Salcedo, Media Manager, Tel: +44 (0)1224 395089 (direct line), +44 (0)344 928 5428 (switchboard) or +44 (0)7791 193918 (mobile).


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The James Hutton Research Institute is the result of the merger in April 2011 of MLURI and SCRI. This merger formed a new powerhouse for research into food, land use, and climate change.