The National Farmers’ Union of Scotland (NFUS) has called for the Land Reform (Scotland) Bill to deliver balance between the rights of tenants and landlords in Scotland.

The bill is currently at Stage 1 in the parliamentary process, and the union joined other stakeholders today (Tuesday, June 25) to give evidence to the Net Zero, Energy and Transport (NZET) committee on Part 2 of the bill.

Part 2 of the bill relates to the leasing of land and the provision of agricultural tenancies.

NFUS will give separate evidence at a later date on Part 1 of the Land Reform (Scotland) Bill, which relates to large land holdings: management and transfer of ownership.

In her evidence, NFUS head of policy Gemma Cooper stressed the need for balance between the rights of landlords and tenants and urged Scottish government not to implement provisions that could introduce more complexity to the issue.

NFUS also highlighted the need to consider the availability of land for future letting by the next generation of Scottish farmers.

Scottish tenanted sector

Speaking after the evidence session, Cooper said NFUS believes in a “healthy and vibrant” tenanted sector in Scotland.

“A key point for NFU Scotland is that let land is a vital entry point for the next generation of farmers but the amount of it available to those who want to get a start in our industry continues to decline. That must be tackled.

“Much of the bill is focussed on addressing issues around secure tenancies and this is an important step forward for tenants and landlords involved in these types of agreement.

“We also took the opportunity to express concern that some of the proposals, as drafted, do not have the correct balance or clarity.”

Cooper said the union believes that workable solutions can be achieved if the Scottish government works with stakeholders such as NFUS through the Tenant Farming Advisory Forum (TFAF).

“The right balance on provisions such as this will be critical to ensure that let land is available in the future.”