The Community Empowerment Act and Coastal communities
At the Marine Communities Workshop organised by Flora and Fauna International in May 2016, we heard the Scottish Community Alliance on the community empowerment agenda.
On the back of that presentation, Fauna and Flora international thought it would be useful to review the Community Empowerment Act (Scotland) 2015 to see how it might apply to coastal communities and inshore waters.
The key points which the document attached explores include:
- The CEA is all about local communities having a stronger role in local decision making;
- This will be done through improving public services for communities through better community planning and other direct mechanisms for getting involved in local decision-making;
- The CEA also directly empowers communities through the acquisition of land and buildings;
- There are positive principles built into community planning and Community Planning Partnerships such as prioritising local needs and embedding communities in processes from the beginning to the end;
- Participation Requests can be made to SNH and SEPA for environmental protection purposes;
- Aligning with the Community Right to Buy Land, the use of the Crown Estate’s Local Management Agreements could be investigated for the purpose of leasing the seabed for nature conservation;
- Coastal community groups seeking land or property as a base can explore Asset Transfer opportunities within council or publicly owned land;
- Guidance and regulations are being prepared for each section of the Act. It is anticipated that the guidance for asset transfer and participation requests will be operational towards the end of 2016.
- Participatory Budgeting isn’t included in the Act. Scottish Government is however investing heavily in its promotion.
These are useful starting points to interpreting the Act.
Let us know what you think!