Church of Scotland welcomes pledge on land reform

Church of Scotland welcomes pledge on land reform

By staff writers
11 Jan 2014

The convener of the Church of Scotland's Church and Society Council has welcomed affirmative comments by Scottish Environment Minister Paul Wheelhouse on land reform.

Responding to the Environment Minster's call for a fairer distribution of land in Scotland, the Rev Sally Foster Fulton said: "I welcome the minister's aspiration for a fairer distribution of land ownership in Scotland and look forward to proposals coming before the Scottish Parliament in the near future.

"The growth of renewable energy offers the opportunity for communities across Scotland, both rural and urban, to reverse years of population and economic decline. Some communities, such as islands like Westray and Gigha, show what can be done.

"I believe land reform would offer the opportunity for many more communities to benefit from renewable energy developments and help reduce fuel poverty."

The Church of Scotland submitted evidence to the Review of Land reform in 2013 stressing its longstanding commitment to land reform.

It specifically argued its case in theological terms, drawing an a statement of the Kirk's General Assembly in 1998.

This declared: "If it is to reflect biblical priorities then land reform needs to be directed towards reversing the treatment of land as a status symbol or a commodity and dispersing the concentration of land ownership. In so far as the Bible recognises the deep interconnection between the justice and health of human society and the health and fertility of the land, so land reform needs to reconnect the people and the land and place much greater emphasis on the need for the owners of land to adhere to a land use policy aimed at restoring the biodiversity of the land and directing its use to the benefit of the community as a whole."

A submission was also made by the Christian political think-tank Ekklesia, which is based in both Edinburgh and London.

It argued the need to address historic and present inequity in the distribution and use of land, set out an understanding of what constitutes meaningful land reform, and proposed a series of specific reforms.

* Land Reform in Scotland: submission to LRRG: http://www.ekklesia.co.uk/landreformscotland

[Ekk/3]

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