Greens: new law needed to protect wealth of the nation

For immediate release 3 May 2011

During a visit today to Forres Mechanics' football ground, threatened by plans for a retail development, the Scottish Greens' co-convenor Eleanor Scott and local activist Fabio Villani announced the party's plans to introduce new legislation that would deliver greater democratic and community control of local assets across Scotland, and restore historic land rights originally awarded as part of burgh charters. 70% of local residents consulted objected to the sale of the ground Forres Mechanics play on.

A new Common Good Act, bringing in a new model of Common Good Trusts, will boost community resilience and democratic land rights. With Common Good Trusts in place, Greens argue, assets such as parks and land in regeneration areas can be transferred to community control and can generate revenue for the community through activities such as renewable energy, recycling and community work hubs.

Eleanor Scott, the Greens' top candidate for Highlands and Islands, said:

"There are hundreds of millions of pounds worth of common good assets across Scotland, land such as the under-threat Forres Mechanics' ground we're visiting today. All too often this land is unaccounted for, undervalued or simply unused, and in some cases Councils are actually selling off plots of land that arguably do not belong to them. Greens will protect these assets and bring them back into productive use for Scotland's communities. We are all aware of the impact of the Tory-LibDem cuts on public services, yet with this emphasis on greater decentralisation we can offer a clear and practical answer. Restoring community control over their land will bring civic renewal and regeneration opportunities across Scotland, opportunities which can deliver long-term, sustainable benefits.

"Every day during this election the Tories have tried to persuade Scotland that their single-minded fixation on cuts to public spending is common sense. Our 'common good' proposals deliver the exact opposite, and ensure that the benefits of Scotland's untapped potential for economic regeneration can be unlocked and shared by communities across Scotland. It's the logical next step for the land reform agenda, and only a strong second vote for the Greens can deliver this vision."