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Our approach to community empowerment

Community empowerment offers new ways to do more for Scotland’s nature. We’re here to help communities take up these opportunities.

Scotland’s nature and landscapes help to support economic growth, improve our health and well-being, and provide us with a strong sense of identity. They also play a vital role in how Scotland adapts to climate change.

Getting the most from nature and landscapes – and improving the health and resilience of these natural assets – is central to an ecosystem approach. Empowering communities to look after nature and landscapes, and be involved in decisions around them, only strengthens this approach.

Helping more communities – communities of place or communities of interest – to care for local nature assets is a top priority for the Scottish Government and Scottish Natural Heritage.

The Community Empowerment (Scotland) Act 2015 strengthens the powers that communities have to act and get involved.

We support more communities to get actively involved in environmental issues and in helping to shape decisions that affect the environment.

Supporting community empowerment

To help support communities, we:

  • listen to the needs of communities and look at the skills, knowledge, energy and ideas they can add
  • encourage a wider range of communities to get involved – particularly those for young people or people who are excluded in some way
  • engage with Gaelic-speaking communities in line with our Gaelic Language Plan
  • tell the communities we work directly with how their input has informed our thinking and decision-making
  • learn from and share good practice
  • find ways for communities to get more involved in our land holdings
  • find ways to help more communities take control or ownership of local greenspace, reserves, path networks and other natural assets
  • find ways to help more communities get involved in shaping the decisions that affect nature and landscapes
  • involve communities more in how we design and deliver some of our services