Scottish Land & Estates, representing landowners across Scotland, has launched a Landowners Charter which sets out a commitment to the principles and responsibilities of modern landownership in Scotland.
The charter underpins the major social, economic and environmental contribution landowners and their businesses make to Scottish life, and provides a clear statement on how business, land based activity and partnership working should be conducted.
David Johnstone, chairman of Scottish Land & Estates, said: “This commitment sends a clear message of what constitutes good practice in land ownership and provides a framework within which landowners can continue to deliver a range of benefits while demonstrating best practice at all times.”
“There are those who take great delight in stigmatising private landownership regardless of the overwhelming evidence of the positive contribution we make. Time and again we are reminded that the admirable efforts of the majority of landowners are undermined by a minority who make little or no effort to engage with their communities or the people they work with and live alongside. Numerous examples of good practice can be negated by isolated cases of bad practice within the sector”
“We recognise that there is always scope for improvement in the way landowners operate in a modern Scotland. We are responsive to constructive criticism and it is right we do everything we can to ensure land based businesses and estates operate to the highest standards and in an open and transparent manner.
“Landowners are an essential part of the rural community fabric throughout Scotland. They are involved in a wide-range of sustainable operations and activities including renewable energy, farming, niche food and drink diversification, forestry, housing, leisure, sporting and tourism Operating in line with the principles of the commitment will further enhance and increase activity across these areas.”
The four main pillars of the charter form a clear undertaking to be open, inclusive, enabling and responsible. These categories include a wide range of recommendations that will help landowners and businesses achieve their objectives.
Douglas McAdam, chief executive of Scottish Land & Estates, said: “We have always had a Code of Good Practice for our members but this commitment goes beyond just our membership, simplifying and underlining the message of what good practice entails and reinforcing what modern landownership should look like in Scotland. We call on all landowners in Scotland, large and small whether private, public, community, NGO or charities, to adopt these principles without delay.”