The Evolution of Sustainable Development in Scotland: A case study of Community Right-to-buy Law and Policy 2003–2018

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Effective ownership, management and access to land are central for sustainable development and can impact significantly on the opportunities for local enterprise. In 1998, Scotland’s Land Reform Policy Group concluded that ‘Land reform is needed on the grounds of fairness and to secure the public good’ Consequently, Scotland has introduced various schemes that facilitate or compel the transfer of land from an existing landowner to a community body. Sustainable development is a primary objective of all these regimes making them exceptional both in UK and global terms and worthy of in depth examination. This article critically explores how the laws and policies relating to sustainable development within these community right-to-buy regimes have matured and evolved from their introduction in 2003 to the present. It reveals the beginning of a fourth era in sustainable development policy in Scotland which moves away from a single ‘one size fits all’ approach to one where both sustainable development itself and wider sustainable development equations are tailored to land-use in Scotland and to the needs of each of the different community right-to-buy regimes. These developments evidence a significant maturity in the implementation and delivery of sustainable development in Scotland.
Original languageEnglish
Article number130
Pages (from-to)1-18
Number of pages18
Issue number1
Early online date27 Dec 2018
Publication statusPublished - 27 Dec 2018


  • Community right-to-buy
  • Human rights
  • Implementation of sustainable development
  • Land reform
  • Legislation
  • Public interest
  • Scotland
  • Sustainable development equations

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law


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