Number of land parcels/assets in community ownership
(showing types of area available in these data)
Note: These may be large files.
The data on community ownership are sourced from the experimental statistics Estimate of Community Owned Land in Scotland publication. The Scottish Government has a target of there being one million acres of land in community ownership in Scotland by the end of 2020. The Estimate of Community Owned Land in Scotland publication will track progress towards this target. The 2017 release, published in December 2017, was the first Estimate of Community Owned Land in Scotland publication. Revised data for 2017 was released in December 2018.
The data in the publication are based on combining administrative datasets from four organisations involved in community asset ownership. They are: Highlands and Islands Enterprise, who have responsibilities to support community ownership in their area; Big Lottery Fund,who administer the Scottish Land Fund for Scottish Government; the Development Trusts Association Scotland; and Community Land Scotland.
These organisations databases were identified as sources containing information on community groups who own land parcels/assets. Work undertaken showed that the most feasible way to collect data was from these overarching organisations initially, and then to verify the data held in the longer term with the community groups themselves. A survey of community groups is currently underway.
In relation to measuring progress towards the one million acre target the following definition was agreed upon:
'Community' is defined on a geographical basis, which can be defined by postcode units and/or a prescribed area. This definition of 'community' has been chosen to reflect the importance of place, reflected within current Scottish Government policy and current legislation as well as the implicit objectives of the one million acre target.
A relevant 'community body' is required to have a number of essential characteristics, which collectively ensure that community owned assets are used for the benefit of the wider community rather than one particular interest group. The community body should:
Have a clear definition of the geographical community to which the body relates;
Have evidence to demonstrate a sufficient level of support/community buy-in.
Ownership is defined in the legal sense: A legal title coupled with exclusive legal right to possession. While it is acknowledged that communities can and do lease (i.e. from the Forestry Commission Scotland), manage and jointly own (i.e. Equity stake) assets, it was agreed that for the purposes of the target the definition should be restricted to outright ownership.
Following the collection of data on community ownership, the data are cleaned and quality assured by Scottish Government statisticians. The quality assurance procedure involves:
The initial database used to produce the Estimate of Community Owned Land in Scotland publication had a number of issues. It was compiled by collecting data from a wide range of organisations involved in community land ownership. This approach was taken as it is not possible to identify community groups that own land from existing registers.
The Scottish Government is working to address these issues and improve the quality of the data currently held on community ownership. In order to do this a survey of all the community groups, known to the Scottish Government, to own land parcels/assets is being carried out.
Going forward, the data that will be collected on new land parcels/assets that are either purchased by community groups or are transferred to them will also be improved, with all the required information being collected at the outset.
It is acknowledged that there will potentially be a number of land parcels/assets, especially smaller land parcels/assets and those that have not received public funding, for example those bequeathed as legacies, in community ownership that are not known to the Scottish Government. Therefore, these land parcels/assets and any area associated with them will not be included in the estimates of community ownership. This will result in an underestimate, which cannot be quantified, in the number of land parcels/assets in community ownership.
When the initial estimates on community ownership were published in December 2017 the date of purchase or transfer of around a fifth on the land parcels/assets was unknown. When the year of purchase or transfer was unknown it was defaulted to 1990, the start of the series. This means that community ownership comparisons over time should be made with caution.
Following the survey of community groups it is hoped the date of purchase or transfer for most, if not all, of the land parcels/assets will be known. Thus allowing more accurate comparisons over time to be made.
The Estimate of Community Owned Land in Scotland publications are published as HTML and PDF. The accompanying tables and charts are published in Excel format.
Data are available at Scotland, Local Authority, Scottish Parliamentary Constituency, Scottish Parliamentary Region and UK Parliamentary Constituency levels.
The publications can be accessed at http://www.gov.scot/Topics/Statistics/Browse/Agriculture-Fisheries/Publications/CommunityOwnership
The Estimate of Community Owned Land in Scotland publications are the primary data source on community ownership in Scotland.
There is a National Performance Framework Indicator to increase the land in community ownership in Scotland.
They will also be used to track progress towards the Scottish Government target of there being one million acres of land in community ownership in Scotland by the end of 2020.
Following the publication of the initial estimates on community ownership for 2017, in December 2017, revised figures for the complete calendar year 2017 were released in December 2018.
For the data for the calendar year 2018 onwards the figures for the given calendar year will be released in the autumn of the following year. For example, the data for the calendar year 2018 will be released in autumn 2019.
Revisions to the data on community ownership will be made when community owned land parcels/assets not previously included in the database are made known to the Scottish Government or revised data are supplied. If any errors in the previously published data are identified they will also be corrected when the next edition of the Estimate of Community Owned Land in Scotland publication is released.
Where revisions are required to the data on community ownership they will detailed in the relevant edition of the Estimate of Community Owned Land in Scotland publication.
Following the publication of the initial estimates on community ownership in December 2017 a survey of community groups known to own land parcels/assets was undertaken, this was part of the on-going data improvement plan. As a result the revisions between the first estimate for 2017 and the updated figures for 2017, published in December 2018, were greater than would normally be expected. Due to the on-going improvement plan the data quality will be further improved via matching with Registers of Scotland records. As a result, the data that will be published in Autumn 2018 will potentially be substantially revisited to the previously released data. The revised data will more accurately reflect community ownership in Scotland though.
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