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Forestry and Land Scotland's (FLS) has appointed a new Chair and Members for the Community Asset Transfer Scheme (CATS) Evaluation Panel.

The move comes as the three longest serving Panel members – Sir Patrick Hunter Blair, Professor Anna Lawrence and Chair, Judith Webb - complete their second terms and stand down (February 2023). They have all been Panel members since CATS establishment in 2017.

Providing independent and impartial advice, the Panel supports the evaluation of requests and also provides feedback and advice to communities making a request, strengthening many community proposals.

Since opening in 2017, FLS has received 31 requests for community asset transfers, with 22 requests completed and a further 4 approved to date.

Professor Bill Slee, Honorary Fellow of the James Hutton Institute and a Panel member since 2021, has now taken up the role of Chair.

The most recent appointees are:

Joined February 2023

  • Lucile Black (retired) - Lucile is a Chartered Surveyor with 30 years of public and private sector experience. Prior to retirement she was Principal Property Adviser to the Scottish Government contributing to the Community Empowerment legislation. She is a volunteer Director of Drummond Arms Regeneration Ltd (community restoration project), member of Muthill Village Trust and Chair of Strathearn and Strathallan Local Action Partnership which brings services and the community together to tackle local issues and inequalities.
  • Ed Pybus - Ed is a woodland crofter at Kilfinan Community Forest. He was previously a director of Kilfinan Community Forest, a board member of Glenan Community Woodland, and spent 10 years running an independent record label. He sits on the Scottish Government’s Minimum Income Guarantee steering group, co-chairs the Scottish Campaign on Rights to Social Security and was a member of the Disability and Carers Benefits Expert Advisory Group. He is currently a committee member of the Kyles Allotment Group and works as a policy officer for a UK wide anti-poverty charity.
  • Eilidh Todd - Eilidh has worked across Scotland in the third, public and private sectors from supporting community organisations to acquire assets, to distributing community benefit funds and developing the rural economy. She is currently a Community Development Specialist with South of Scotland Enterprise

Joined August 2022

  • Gemma Campbell - Gemma is Land Rights and Responsibilities Manager at the Scottish Land Commission, managing a programme that supports key stakeholders across all sectors to strengthen adoption of the Land Rights and Responsibilities Principles. Her background is in finance, community led development and community ownership, with experience of community wealth building, governance, and funding for acquisition and development. Previously at HIE, she supported delivery of the Scottish Land Fund, helping communities to take ownership of land for community benefit.
  • Pete Crane - Pete started out with a forestry degree, leading to work in forest management in Inverness. Turning a hobby into work, he retrained in outdoor learning, working with youth at risk in Edinburgh, then managing Lochore Meadows Country Park in Fife. This overlapped with terms on the Board of Scottish Canoe Association and Sustrans Scotland Advisory Board. Until retirement in 2022, he was Head of Visitor Services for Cairngorms National Park Authority. Pete now wants to share those experiences to support others caring for the Scottish countryside.

February 2021

  • Bill Slee - Bill is a rural development specialist with 40 years of experience in teaching, researching and consultancy relating to rural land use and the rural economy. He led the Countryside and Community Research Unit at the University of Gloucestershire and the Social Economics and Geographical Sciences Group at the James Hutton Institute before semi-retirement and active third sector involvement in community food growing, community woodlands, and an area partnership in West Aberdeenshire.
  • Courtney Hyde Peyton - A senior sustainability engagement professional with 20 years’ experience, Courtney specialises in strategic and technical responses to climate change, and it impacts on built environment and infrastructure, planning and land use, enabling blue-chip companies, government bodies and NGOs. She has a strong track record in delivering sustainable assets which underpin client CSR targets, achieving commercial recognition, community buy-in and national visibility. She enjoys public speaking and engagement across sectoral lines, taking a systems-based approach to sustainable change.


CATS Evaluation Panel members are appointed for a three-year term, with the option to extend for a second term. Panel members are recruited with a wide range of expertise including land management, rural development and forestry; community development, land reform and conservation; and business planning, financial management and sustainable development.

FLS has a rolling recruitment process to ensure the Panel retains continuity of knowledge and experience. This is promoted through a range of outlets, including forest industry portals and GoodMoves, SCVO’s jobs portal for careers in civil society, charity and voluntary sector. FLS also promotes via social media, and directly to key stakeholders including the Community Woodland Association, Community Land Scotland and Scottish Environment LINK.

Notes to editors

  1. Forestry and Land Scotland (FLS) manages forests and land owned by Scottish Ministers in a way that supports and enables economically sustainable forestry; conserves and enhances the environment; delivers benefits for people and nature; and supports Scottish Ministers in their stewardship of Scotland's national forests and land.

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  3. Media enquiries to Paul Munro, Media Manager, Forestry and Land Scotland Media Office 07785 527590 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.