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Government Seeking Views on Proposed Changes to Land Ownership

Farmers and landowners to bid for funds to ‘rewild’ countryside

Major changes are being proposed to the way Scotland’s rural lands are used and managed.

The Scottish Government is seeking views on its new Land Reform Bill, which will be introduced by the end of 2023.

It is hoped the Bill can address long-standing concerns about the highly concentrated pattern of land ownership in rural areas of Scotland. 

Environment and Land Reform Minister Mairi McAllan said: “Land reform is a pervasive issue in Scotland. 

“We must continue to develop and implement land reform that addresses historical inequalities and at the same time, we must rise to changing social, environmental and economic issues in contemporary Scotland. 

“I recognise, and am fully committed to tackling, the adverse effects of scale and concentration of land ownership – and empowering communities in the process.”

Proposes measures in the Bill include: 

  • The introduction of a public interest test for transfers of large-scale landholdings
  • A requirement on owners of large-scale holdings to give prior notice to community bodies of their intention to sell
  • A requirement on those seeking land-based subsidies to have the land registered in the Land Register, to ensure transparency around who benefits from public funding

Central to the consultation is questions about how to ensure that communities benefit from future investment into Scotland’s natural capital. 

Chair of Community Land Scotland Alisa Raeburn said: “Community Land Scotland warmly welcome the launch of the Consultation on the forthcoming Land Reform Bill. 

“The ways land is owned and used is central to tackling the climate emergency, contributing to a successful economy and supporting communities. 

“It is great to see the Government launch the consultation of the upcoming measures to ensure that the benefit of land is shared by all.”

A link to the consultation on the Bill can be found here.

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