Image: Aileen McLeod MSP speaking at conference on Scottish Land and Estates.

This month, the Minister for Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform, Aileen McLeod MSP gave two significant speeches. The first was on 19th May to the Annual Meeting of Scottish Land and Estates, a representative body of 1,351 landowners who own 2.27 million hectares of Scotland. The second was on 22 May 2015 to Community Land Scotland, a representative body of over 40 community landowners who own around 200,000 hectares of land across Scotland.

The two speeches are available below. They mark an important development in Scottish Government thinking on land reform policy. Notable among the topics covered was a focus on wealth inequality and human rights. Expect to hear more about these two topics in relation to land policy across urban, rural and marines Scotland in the years to come.

Speech to SLE 19 May 2015 (pdf)

Speech to CLS 22 May 2015 (pdf)


  1. The usual blether – collaboration, participation, influence over decisions, flexibility, creativity, empowerment, ownership, social justice etc. etc. blah blah blah – just hollow, vacuous crap leaving ordinary inhabitants of Scotland just as powerless as ever. The truth? If you want to empower Scots, give them power in their local communities – at least the same powers as England’s parishes.

    • Spot on michael.
      Its called government speak, saying nothing and taking a long time to say it.
      What did george orwell call it?

    • I’ve listening to basically the same speech on land reform since 1984.

    • In the words of an auld sang; “It’s the same the whole world over, it’s the rich who get the pleasure and the poor who get the pain.”

      This government (in Edinburgh) needs to stop making empty vacuous speeches and show that it is Scotland’s government and sort out the mess that we currently live with. A good start would be abolish these monolithic unitary authorities and move governance back to local level.

  2. Im sorry.. but what has all this talk got to do with land reform?… its solid up front action that is needed… not more tinkering…
    Did the native people of Canada & America & Australia & New Zealand sit down talking over YEARS and achieve nothing ?…
    This stolen asset favours the few… with the ‘law’ aided & abetted to by the various pseudo Scottish Governments very effectively lobbied by the wealthy & their hirelings. … given rights that no sane government would possibly consider as fair & equal in the present. Yet the SNP… with it’s mandate for change…. are creeping about the shadows and talking very quietly saying nothing.
    This blah blah blah surely can not be considered as a step forward…. it’s basically standing on the spot stamping loudly but going nowhere.

  3. Who are the Native People?How far back do you want to go?Interested to hear a definition.

  4. We have been trying to get rid of the House of Lords for well over a century and nothing has happened . The landed classes are safe and it is business as usual for landlords and their estates .

  5. ‘We will need flexibility and creativity to address future
    challenges, and a willingness to try new models, to work in new
    ways and with new partners.’

    Hold her to that!

  6. I heard Dr MacLeod’s speech at the CLS conference last Friday – I did not attend the S. L. and E. conference… In was interested to hear that the government wants to view land reform from a social justice/human rights perspective. There is to be a ‘consultation’ on the human rights declaration in the UK which may well see it endorsed nationally. The PM is back-tracking a little as some of his backbenchers have spoken out in support of human rights legislation. It might make sense then to link the land reform argument to human rights as thus far it has only been used (I think ) to support the rights of individuals to own unlimited amounts of land.
    At the conference I got the impression that the audience accepted that the proposed legislation was not an end point. I think the point was clearly made that it does not go far enough. I understand that this bill will seek to establish the Scottish Land Reform Commission which will drive land reform forward irrespective of the governing party’s manifesto. Last Friday Dr MacLeod was urged to ‘hold fast’ and resist pressure to water down the proposed bill in the face of opposition. Although this bill will not address all the inequalities/problems related to the ownership of land in Scotland it is perhaps a step in the right direction and should be supported. I recognise in saying this that I am a relative newcomer to the debate and therefore cannot fully understand what has been said before now.
    To push forward reform of anything a government needs a mandate to do so. I understand that the current government was elected in 2011 with the current review of land reform as a manifesto pledge. However I do wonder how much interest, awareness and support there is for land reform within the general population of Scotland. I think this is ironic as land ownership clearly affects many aspects of everyone’s lives. However, in this age of revitalised socialism, does anyone out with those who take an active interest in land reform understand this? If the government is going to ‘hold fast’ does it have the support of ‘the people’?