The Scottish Countryside Alliance welcomes the Final Report and Policy Recommendations from the independent Scottish Rural Commission, which sets out 97 recommendations to improve the lives of rural Scots.
The commission was chaired by Hughie Campbell Anderson, a land agent and former chairman of the Association of Salmon Fishery Boards. He and the five other commissioners have spent more than a year examining all aspects of rural life, including agriculture, housing, planning, transport and environmental issues.
Around one in five Scots live in rural areas, which make up as much as 94 per cent of the country’s land area.
The Rural Commission received written and oral submissions from experts and ordinary members of the public from across Scotland also heard how many communities are struggling to survive because of poor broadband access.
The commission has called for broadband providers to be held to a universal service obligation, to ensure that parts of rural Scotland do not miss out.
It also suggested a more pragmatic attitude to wildlife conservation, with farmers and other land owners able to get a licence to kill species such as buzzards if required and that current council tax freeze should be lifted to allow spending decisions to be made at a local level.
Countryside Allaince, director for Scotland Jamie Stewart said: This report reflects many areas of campaign interest for the Scottish Countryside Alliance and we are encouraged by the immediate reaction of the Scottish Conservatives.
“We will take some time to review the document in its entirety including the 97 recommendations and hope that we can work with MSPs to further reinforce the importance of meeting the needs of those in our wider countryside and reiterate our own commitment in helping Scotland’s rural communities prosper.”