Thursday, 26 March 2009

Gibson lodges Knoydart motion

News release
Immediate release

Highlands and Islands SNP MSP Rob Gibson has lodged a motion in the Scottish Parliament celebrating the 10th anniversary of Knoydart's land buy out.

The Peninsula which was cleared of crofters in the 19th Century and witnessed an unsuccessful land raid by the seven men of Knoydart in 1948 achieved community ownership in 1999.

Mr Gibson who attended the buy out 'independence day' celebrations ten years ago said…

"There are many stories of oppressive landlords and land raids in the Highland & Islands and Knoydart is certainly one of the most notorious. So it is a pleasure to witness and mark the 10th anniversary of successful community ownership."

"The work and ideas which were galvanised by the buyout is testament that land owned by the community works. The population has doubled and the community is self sustaining. That cannot be said of previous private Knoydart estates in the past or many other private estates today in the Highlands and Islands."

"This was once one for the most deprived areas of rural Scotland. The same cannot be said now. It is also an example of how remote and rural communities can become self sufficient in energy. They are progressing with increased green energy practices which will wean them off diesel generators. As happened with the hydro scheme."

"It is unfortunate that the incorporated membership structure model of community ownership which was used in Knoydart, Eigg and Assynt was not the one adopted by the Scottish Executive in their Land Reform Bill. I think there should be post legislative scrutiny of land reform to adopt a range of models such as the successful one which serves Knoydart."

"It has become clear that there is little if any money left in the Big Lottery fund to help communities follow the lead of other communities buy outs. However I am not convinced that the money which is being taken away form land buyouts to fund the London Olympics will deliver as long lasting and radical change for communities in the Highlands and Islands."

Copy of Rob's motion

Celebrating the 10th anniversary of Knoydart's land by out

That the Parliament congratulates the Knoydart Foundation on the 10th anniversary of the successful buy out; notes that the community buy out model adopted for Knoydart provided expert outside support incorporated in the membership structure; recalls that Knoydart along with Assynt and Eigg applied community models that were not adopted in the land reform legislation subsequently passed in the Scottish Parliament; celebrates the progress in developing sustainable services such as the hydro scheme to serve the peninsula's population; recognises the significant and well-deserved application of public support to aid the development of a severely disadvantaged community which had suffered severe decline under the whims of private landlords; and offers fulsome praise for the recovery of one of the most deprived rural communities in Scotland.

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