This week the Board of the Scottish Land Commission came to Galloway to meet land use agencies and partners, and visit examples of innovative responses to land use pressures.
On Monday evening, the Scottish Land Commission hosted a strategic land use roundtable discussion at the Selkirk Arms Hotel in Kirkcudbright with local agencies including South of Scotland Enterprise, CONFOR, Communities for Diverse Forestry, the Galloway & Southern Ayrshire UNESCO Biosphere, Dumfries & Galloway Council, and the Galloway Glens Scheme.
The following day, the Board toured Galloway, visiting the Upper Urr Environmental Trust near Corsock and the Carsphairn Community Woodland Group at Muirdrochwood – a recipient of support through the Galloway Glens Scheme.
Andrew Thin, Chair of the Scottish Land Commission Board, said:
“It is clear that Galloway is on the front line of rapid changes in land use and our visit showed us some of the risks and opportunities first-hand. I am very grateful to all the organisations who took time to meet with us. The visits and discussions have helped inform our board’s consideration of key issues, particularly in our current work on natural capital, land values and community benefit.”
The visit was arranged in partnership between the Galloway Glens Scheme with the Biosphere and the Communities for Diverse Forestry Group.
Morag Paterson, from the Communities for Diverse Forestry Group, said:
“We very much welcomed the visit from the Scottish Land Commission. It was great to meet the team in person and have a chance to discuss the challenges for communities concerning rapid land use change, for example, the cumulative effects of predominantly single-species afforestation for habitats and people. We also explored opportunities that might be afforded through collaborative working, encouraging community participation and embracing the community wealth building agenda.”
McNabb Laurie, Galloway Glens Team Leader, added:
“We are so grateful to the Scottish Land Commission for holding their board meeting in Galloway and taking the opportunity to meet a whole range of local voices. Land reform and land use challenges are still sometimes seen as a ‘North Scotland’ issue, but that simply isn’t the case – indeed some of the biggest pressures and most dramatic changes are currently being experienced in the South-West. It was useful to plug the Galloway experiences into the national discussion.”
For more information about the remit and role of the Scottish Land Commission, visit: https://www.landcommission.gov.scot/.
The Galloway Glens Scheme is a 5-year project based in the Stewartry region of Dumfries and Galloway. An initiative of Dumfries & Galloway Council’s Environment Team, it is funded by a range of partners including the National Lottery Heritage Fund. The Galloway Glens Scheme aims to connect people to their heritage and to support modern rural communities. www.gallowayglens.org.