A leading Highland MSP has welcomed Community Land Scotland’s desire to reverse the trend of depopulation in the Highlands.
Last week CLS published a report on the subject, which called for land that was previously lived and work on to be repopulated – an issue that Kate Forbes MSP has previously highlighted.
The MSP for Skye, Lochaber and Badenoch has been one of the most vocal politicians about the need to reverse depopulation across the Highlands.
Kate Forbes MSP said: “The current planning system has a lot to answer for in terms of restricting rural regeneration.
“One of my hopes is that the Scottish Government’s welcome new planning bill will actively transform rural communities, by giving them more of a say, by reducing the burdens of planning applications and by making planning more proactive.
“I would love to see policies which are built round the importance of repopulation and resettlement of empty glens.
“I have previously argued for more incentives to turn old, decrepit buildings into homes across rural Scotland as we all know of run-down, abandoned buildings which have been neglected for too long.”
The MSP for Skye, Lochaber and Badenoch added: “I like the suggestion by Community Land Scotland that land which has been abandoned is once again full.
“My own ancestors were cleared off fertile soil on the Applecross peninsula and left to make a living on the barren coastline. These communities are now essentially empty.
“Whilst the Highlands has seen something of a population revolution in the last 15 years with many people choosing to move to the Highlands, we still need to do more to attract skilled people to the Highlands – particularly those who left as youngsters to learn or train and would love to come back but can’t.
“There aren’t enough affordable homes, and the cost of land plays a big role in that. so, anything that reduces the cost and increases the availability of land should be welcomed.”