Project Updates

The Scotland's Land Reform Futures project began in April 2022. Key achievements during the second year (2023 - 2024) include: 

- Conclusion of the technical and social feasibility studies, with the report ‘Review of land ownership data in Scotland’. The research team were informed that the Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs, Land Reform and Islands wished to be kept informed of progress made on the report’s recommendations. The research team has also provided direct analytical support to the Land Reform Bill team and RESAS analysts in the development of the Business and Regulatory Impact Assessment related to the forthcoming Land Reform Bill. The report is published on Zenodo and also available on our website.

- An approach to undertaking citizen science around land data has been developed, with input from the Stakeholder Advisory Group (SAG). Initial approaches to rural community groups currently undertaking local place planning processes have commenced, with a view to their involvement as ‘citizen scientists’. A milestone report, 'Developing a citizen science initiative to support community land-based activities', can be found here.

- Two processes of case study scoping and selection have been completed, the first regarding policy alignment across multiple scales and exploring innovative land governance initiatives, with a milestone report found here, and secondly, to capture experiences of change over time in community landownership. 

- The development of an online questionnaire to capture public land values from rural communities under different land reform scenarios is ongoing and will include an interim stage to better understand the motivations of aspiring and eventual community landowners.

- A literature review and in-depth interviews are progressing, which aim to learn about the opportunities and challenges relating to long-term land management agreements and approaches for biodiversity enhancement. A milestone report covers initial findings from research exploring the breadth of land management agreements for biodiversity enhancement that exist in Scotland, focussing on what enables voluntary uptake and challenges that impede use. In the context of the wider project, this aims to uncover new knowledge around engagement in land-management decision making and how these decisions could contribute to policy goals. It can be found here.

- The Stakeholder Advisory Group continues to play a key role supporting and advising on research design, as well as policy and practitioner relevance. Two new members have joined the group where gaps in expertise have arisen. SAG input has informed the typology of public values of land, supported case study selection across WP2, advised on a collaborative approach to working with communities, as well as provided connections to interviewees regarding long-term land management for biodiversity. 

Key achievements during the first year (2022 - 2023) include: 

- Recruitment and completion of baseline interviews with the Stakeholder Advisory Group. The first meeting of the Stakeholder Advisory Group was held in Edinburgh and online on 31st August 2022. An online meeting was held in December 2022 and a further hybrid meeting was held in Inverness in March 2023. Prior to the March meeting, members of the Stakeholder Advisory Group and the project teams enjoyed visits to Tornagrain and Bunloit Estate. A report on the baseline interviews can be found here.

- A technical feasibility study exploring options for the integration of land data was established, including meetings with key stakeholders such as the Scottish Government's Rural Payments and Inspections Directorate and Registers of Scotland. A social feasibility study was developed to understand community land data needs, which involved interviews with representatives of community landowners across rural Scotland. The first report for this task can be found here

- A literature and evidence review was completed that explored international models of ownership and control of land that are different from those predominant in Scotland, and what analysis of these models might contribute to achieving land reform outcomes in Scotland. The report explores in detail seven case studies representing a range of different countries, goals, ownership and governance models. The final report is available here and a visual summary is available here.

- A literature review was undertaken to understand how members of the public value land in non-monetary ways. This literature review informs the development of valuation methods and impact evaluation methods using public questionnaires that will seek to enhance understandings of the impact of land reform on ‘new’ values of land. This report is published on Zenodo and also available on our website.