What strikes you when you hear the expression ‘land reform’? Land reform allows local communities to register an interest in an area of land. If and when that land is subsequently put up for sale, that community then has a right of pre-emptive purchase, or ‘right to buy’.
This is the form that land reform has taken in Scotland, where the Land Reform Scotland Act became law as long ago as 2003. A small but growing percentage of land there has now begun to be acquired by community trusts in this way. Could the rest of the UK follow?
Community land trusts as a wider movement began in the USA in the 1960s, and are non-profit organisations led by volunteers.
In essence, land reform could become an opportunity to defend local interests and open spaces. Land reform enables communities to own local land and prioritise local needs.
Land could be used for:
*community woodlands or forests
*community renewable energy
*community orchards or gardens
Land reform legislation could empower active communities.
Could you send the following letter to your MP or councillor, your local planning authority or newspaper, to publicise the need for reform?
As the trend for localisation grows, I am writing to ask you to support community initiatives and to consider the need for land reform.
Across the world, many countries have seen active movements for reform. Land reform became law in Scotland in 2003, when the Land Reform Scotland Act allowed communities to register their interest in local land and granted them a right of pre-emptive purchase if that land were to be sold. If the rest of the UK is truly to empower local communities, then land reform legislation is needed here as well.
So many community initiatives depend on land if they are to address local needs and build more independent futures. As one example, community-owned wind turbines provide renewable energy – and also an income to fund local amenities (like a sports ground) or affordable housing. Land reform would open doors to more vibrant communities – without this, true independence will remain limited.
Communities across the UK need land reform legislation.
Thank you for your time.
a) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Land_reform – for an overview of land reform
b) Land Reform in Scotland – for an example of land reform in action
c) www.communitylandtrusts.org.uk – more emphasis on affordable housing