A report which examines private land ownership in the Scottish uplands encourages landowners to work more closely with local communities to gain mutual benefits.
Part of the ‘Sustainable Estates for the 21st Century’ research coordinated by the Centre for Mountain Studies at Perth College UHI, the project was presented on Wednesday 4 July 2012 at the Royal Geographical Society conference in Edinburgh. Primarily funded by the Henry Angest Foundation, with further support by the Economic and Social Research Council, Scottish Government and Scottish Land and Estates, the findings will be of interest to both the landowning community and stakeholder organisations concerned with the management of land and the sustainability of rural communities.
An accessible reference booklet was developed using comments and feedback from research participants and other stakeholders at workshops in Braemar, Lochinver and Cairndow. It uses examples from case studies across Scotland to illustrate the benefits and challenges of partnership working between private estates and local communities.
Dr Jayne Glass, Centre for Mountain Studies Research Associate said: “The research illustrates the impact of landowners’ decisions on community resilience, and highlights their role in facilitating business and lifestyle opportunities through sustaining rural employment and supporting community-generated entrepreneurship.
“Despite inherent difficulties such as lack of affordable housing, an aging population, and limited access to services and employment opportunities, our work has found that community engagement surrounding community enterprises and renewable energy developments can bring multiple benefits for both estate and community sustainability. One example is an estate that leased land to a local community to develop a hydro-electricity scheme.”