Scottish Parliament comes to Falkland and Kinghorn

01.09.2015

The future of Scotland’s land will come into local focus when a Scottish Parliamentary Committee meets the people who run the Falkland Centre for Stewardship, Falkland Estates, Falkland Palace and Kinghorn Community Land Association.

The Scottish Parliament’s Rural Affairs, Climate Change and Environment (RACCE) Committee is coming to Fife on Monday 14 September to hear expert opinions as it scrutinises the Scottish Government’s Land Reform (Scotland) Bill.   

Ninian Stuart of the Falkland Estates Trust and Falkland Centre for Stewardship; Richard Brewster of Kinghorn Community Land Association; and the National Trust for Scotland’s (NTS) management team for Falkland Palace, all people with direct, ‘on the ground’ experience will tell the Committee how the Scottish Government’s planned changes could affect key issues such as community right-to-buy to benefit  local people now and in the future; gathering and accessing information on people and organisations who control land; and use of common good land.  

Strong, informed opinions are also likely to be heard on the question of the Scottish Government producing a clear statement of land rights and responsibilities; and how a Scottish Land Commission could guide future policy.

Rural Affairs, Climate Change and Environment Committee Convener Rob Gibson MSP commented: 

“For people and organisations in Fife who may be affected by upcoming changes to land ownership and management this is an opportunity for us to hear local views on the issues that matter. 

“We are hugely looking forward to visiting Falkland and Kinghorn and hearing about the opportunities and challenges that may lie ahead.” 

Mr Gibson continued:  

“The Committee hopes to hear views and opinions on the fundamental and important issue of how Scotland’s land should be owned and managed to benefit us all.

“It’s crucial that the valuable knowledge, experience and expertise of everyone in Scotland with a vested interest in our land’s future feed into our work where possible.” 

This September the Committee is scrutinising the Land Reform Bill with visits to Skye, Islay, Jura, Fife and the Scottish Borders. They will hear views and opinions from a range of organisations and people, including estate owners, gamekeepers, policy makers, tenant farmers, environmental experts and community groups. 

The Committee will produce a report on its scrutiny of the Scottish Government’s Land Reform Bill by the end of the year.

Formed in 2005, the Kinghorn Community Land Association (KCLA) is currently working to develop the Kinghorn Loch area. With a plot of land already purchased, plans are underway to tackle the shortage of local burial sites by developing a community woodland multi faith cemetery. KCLA is also exploring the possibility of establishing a green corridor linking Kinghorn to the Loch potentially including a community orchard, garden, wildlife area and recreation space. 

At the Pillars of Hercules organic farm shop and café, the Committee will find out more about its organic farming project and sample organic fare. Established in 1983, the farm has grown from one hectare to six, growing a wide range of organic fruit and vegetables, and is home to 150 laying hens.  

The challenges and opportunities of working with the local community will be up for discussion when The National Trust for Scotland team meets the Committee. The NTS aim to improve the local area through a wide range of projects involving primary schools and conservation volunteers, a developing community partnership project for Falkland Town Hall and the Annual Open Doors Day event.  

The Falkland Centre for Stewardship covers 1500 hectares of land, farm, forest and hill. As well as caring for the A listed House of Falkland, it is now developing Falkland Estate as a place where people are learning how to live and work more sustainably. Projects include Free Play in the Woods, where young children from disadvantaged families come for a week at a time to play in the woods, with low key but attentive supervision from skilled play workers, and Lomonds Landscape Partnership, which aims to re-connect people with the living legacy of the Lomond and Benarty Hills through a range of community based activities, volunteering opportunities and projects. 

In Fife and Falkland the Committee will meet: 

  • Ninian Stuart, Chair of the Falkland Estate Trust (legal owners of Falkland Estate), Head of Strategy for the Centre for Stewardship Scheme
  • The National Trust for Scotland’s management team for Falkland Palace
  • Richard Brewster, Chair of the Kinghorn Community Land Association

Tweet your comments and questions using #landreformbill

Follow live tweets of the visits at @SP_RuralClimate

Read what people have told the Committee so far about land reform: http://www.scottish.parliament.uk/parliamentarybusiness/CurrentCommittees/91072.aspx

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