The Scottish Parliament's think-tank

Scotland 2030: A Sustainable Future for Rural Scotland

Scotland’s sparsely-populated areas are predicted to lose a quarter of their population by 2046, with the working age population likely to shrink by 33%.

At the same time, the challenge of enabling the development that is needed to sustain rural communities is delicately balanced with the environmental imperatives of conserving our environment and protecting its biodiversity.

In this context, how can Scotland develop a shared vision for the future of its rural areas?

These questions and more were considered by an expert panel at a Futures Forum event on 14 May 2019. They discussed the challenges and trends, explored the potential futures ahead of us, and considered the outcomes we want to achieve by 2030.

Chaired by Claudia Beamish MSP, the discussion was framed by a presentation of recent research on community empowerment and landscape in Scotland (

Following the presentation, a panel-led discussion featured Megan MacInnes, Scottish Land Commissioner, Vicki Swales from Scottish Environment LINK, Dr Calum MacLeod, Policy Director for Community Land Scotland, and Jack Norquoy, Member of the Scottish Youth Parliament for Orkney.

Listen to a podcast of the event here:

A written report and video highlights will appear here in due course.