New report on rural Scotland welcomed

A report outlining the economic, social and demographic characteristics of Rural Scotland is being published today (Monday).

Produced by the Scottish Agricultural College’s Rural Policy Centre, ‘Rural Scotland in Focus 2012’ is the second in the Rural Scotland in Focus series and aims to provide a fast-track to evidence, commentary on key themes, and an extensive compendium of resources.

The 2012 report sets out the economic, social and demographic characteristics of rural Scotland, how these are changing and the implications of these changes for policy and practice. Topics covered in the report include rural housing and migration, rhe role of towns and the private and third sectors, high speed broadband provision and the implications of a ‘low carbon’ future.

The evidence and commentary are aimed at stimulating debate around securing thriving communities, a strong economy and a sustainable environment for rural Scotland, now and in the future. The launch of the report - in Edinburgh today - will kick-off the debate through an ‘SAC Rural Question Time’ chaired by writer, broadcaster and commentator Lesley Riddoch and featuring five high profile panellists with expertise and influence in the rural sector.

Welcoming the SAC Rural Scotland in Focus 2012 report, David Cameron, Chairman of Community Land Scotland said: “This is a most welcome `state of the nation’ overview of rural Scotland.

“We are particularly pleased to see, in the report, recognition of the growing importance of community ownership of land in rural development. We believe it is through community ownership of land that the interests of rural Scotland’s development will be best served.

“We want to ensure that, by the time of the next such SAC report in a couple of years, the amount of land in community ownership will have grown substantially and that the policy and legislative developments that are necessary to keep progress moving, for example to the Land Reform Act, will have happened.

“We also welcome the recognition that access to next generation broadband is an essential for rural development and we believe local communities have a strong part to play in helping deliver that, in partnership with development agencies.”

The report will be available to download from the SAC today.