The Scottish Outdoor Access Code provides detailed guidance on the exercise of the ancient tradition of universal access to land in Scotland, which was formally codified by the Land Reform (Scotland) Act 2003. Under Scots law everyone has the right to be on most land and inland water for recreation, education and going from place to place providing they act responsibly. The basis of access rights in Scotland is one of shared responsibilities, in that those exercising such rights have to act responsibly, whilst landowners and managers have a reciprocal responsibility to respect the interests of those who exercise their rights. The code provides detailed guidance on these responsibilities.
Principles and responsibilities
The code is based on three key principles which apply equally to the public and to land managers:
- Respect the interests of other people.
- Care for the environment.
- Take responsibility for your own actions.
Responsibilities are separated into those that apply to access users, and those that apply to land managers. The code provides further guidance with examples under each point. The responsibilities of access users are:
- Take personal responsibility for your own actions.
- Respect people’s privacy and peace of mind.
- Help land managers and others to work safely and effectively.
- Care for your environment.
- Keep your dog under proper control.
- Take extra care if you are organising an event or running a business.
The responsibilities of land managers are:
- Respect access rights in managing your land or water.
- Act reasonably when asking people to avoid land management operations.
- Work with your local authority and other bodies to help integrate access and land management.
- Take account of access rights if you manage contiguous land or water.