Although the traditional industries of farming and forestry remain key components of our members' businesses, many are increasingly reliant on income from tourism and enterprise activities.
Scottish Land & Estates emphasises to all levels of Government that profitable rural businesses are essential for sustainable rural communities, and has carried out a great deal of work in relation to both opening up new enterprise areas, and addressing some of the barriers which exist in current sectors. For example, we seek to address the disproportionate fire and licensing regulations applied to large country houses let out on an occasional basis.
We have also lobbied in relation to the planning and tax regimes to ensure that they support rather than hinder rural enterprise.
Scottish Land & Estates and its members are heavily involved in the provison of renewable energy and work in this area will continue in 2011 and beyond.
Over the last 12 months we have increased our activity in relation to tourism and will be prioritising work in this area in the coming year as we strive to increase opportunities in a range of tourism fields, including rural heritage tourism, agri tourism and country sports tourism.
Our Rural Future is the Scottish Government's response to last year's Speak up for Rural Scotland consultation. 'Speak Up for Rural Scotland' set out the Rural Development Council's views on what mattered for the rural economy. Our Rural Future was published on 9 March and identifies the key priorities arising from the Council's advice and the views of consultees, highlighting where action needs to be taken and commitments shared.
Our Rural Future sets out the main priorities needed to make rural Scotland even more successful. These are Infrastructure; Land Use; Community Participation; Community Enterprise; and Business and Skills. The Scottish Government recognises that one organisation or individual alone cannot make the difference that is needed to achieve a rural Scotland that is outward looking and dynamic - with a diverse economy and active communities. The members of Scottish Land & Estates will be central to delivering this vision.
Enterprise opportunities are diverse, covering issues as diverse as small scale hydro and wedding venues, and Scottish Land & Estates strives to provide members with the information they require to develop or expand their enterprise activities - maximising opportunities and minimising risk.
Scottish Land & Estates’ Rural Enterprise Demonstration Day programme provides farmers and land managers with an opportunity to explore a wide range of diversification opportunities.The Rural Enterprise Demonstration Days are designed to be practical and innovative, and to showcase a range of new opportunities and ideas for rural businesses to earn additional income or to add value to existing business.
As part of a three year project, part funded by the Scottish Government’s SRDP Skills Development Scheme, these events provide a training programme for land managers and farmers across a wide spectrum of rural enterprise and diversification opportunities.