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Sunday, April 14, 2024

Land Reform Bill Will Revolutionise Land Ownership in Scotland

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The SNP has said the Scottish Government’s Land Reform Bill represents a “huge leap forward in Scotland’s land reform journey that will transform the face of rural Scotland” by empowering rural and island communities and increasing transparency in the purchase and selling of large areas of land.

If passed by the Scottish Parliament, the bill will ensure local people are notified when large-scale landholdings are put up for sale.

There will also be an obligation on the seller to notify Scottish Ministers who may intervene and mandate that the land be sold in lots if, for example, it is shown that to do so would bring benefits to local communities and help them to thrive.

This will apply to all landholdings over 1,000 hectares – over 50% of Scotland’s land, but relevant to a minority of landowners – while those over 3,000 hectares will be required to engage with local communities and complete land management plans to show how it will contribute to net zero and nature restoration.

On inhabited islands, owners of landholdings of at least 1,000 hectares that make up more than a quarter of the island will have to publish and engage on the development of land management plans.

Commenting, Alasdair Allan MSP said:

“This bill is a huge leap forward in Scotland’s land reform journey that will transform the face of rural Scotland and bring our system of landownership into the 21st century.

“Landowners with estates larger than 1,000 hectares have rights, but responsibilities come with those rights; not least to show how they are stewarding that land to the benefit of their community and Scotland more broadly.

“This bill reflects that, and if passed by the Scottish Parliament it will empower rural and island communities by providing them with more opportunities to own and determine who can purchase significant parcels of land, as well as how the land is used.

“The SNP Scottish Government, within its limited powers, is empowering communities and implementing land reform which is vital to addressing the scale and concentration of ownership, depopulation and achieving a just transition to net zero.

“Though we could undoubtedly do so much more with the full powers of an independent country, this reform will be transformative for Scotland’s rural and island communities and bring to life the reform that these communities have long called for.”

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