Selkirk’s Pip appointed to national land review group

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Southern Uplands Partnership project manager Pip Tabor has joined the Scottish Government’s Land Reform Review Group (LRRG).

The appointment was announced by Holyrood last week when a spokesperson said the group’s membership is being expanded to broaden its range of expertise.

Pip, who joins the group in an individual capacity, said: “I hope to be able to bring to the table some of the rural development experience I have gained from working in southern Scotland for the last 17 years. The land and the way we use it is fundamental to all our lives, and the land reform debate is a fascinating one.”

The former high school science teacher has been project manager of SUP since it started in 1999. He taught in the UK and abroad with Voluntary Services Overseas before becoming the local Scottish Natural Heritage area officer for five years. He was also involved in the setting up of SUP and environmental charity Borders Forest Trust.

He said: “My feeling is there are huge opportunities and a significant need to encourage people to think differently about land and the way it’s used.

“I don’t think the big issue is land ownership by local communities. I don’t think there is any hunger among local people to take over land. I think there is more interest in how land is used. I’m keen to feed some of that thinking into the debate and I’m hoping I can bring a southern Scotland component to it.”

The Scottish Government spokesperson said Pip had “extensive experience of rural development in the South of Scotland”. He and two others have been appointed.

Environment and climate change minister, Berwickshire’s Paul Wheelhouse, said: “The Scottish Government is totally committed to land reform, which is why we set up the LRRG. This additional expertise and capacity will greatly assist the group as they develop recommendations for the final report.”