The Scottish Government is seeking views on proposals for its new Land Reform Bill, which will be introduced by the end of next year.
The bill aims to address long-standing concerns about the highly concentrated pattern of land ownership in rural areas of Scotland.
Proposed measures in the Land Reform Bill include:
- The introduction of a public interest test for transfers of large-scale landholding;
- 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.
In addition, the consultation asks questions about how to ensure communities benefit from future investment in Scotland’s natural capital, and that there is greater transparency around land and asset ownership.
To assist in the public's understanding of the bill, a consultation paper has been published on the government's website.
Furthermore, a series of public meetings, titled 'Land Reform in a Net Zero Nation', where Environment and Land Reform Minister Mairi McAllan, along with government officials, will present the proposals for the bill has been organised. The meetings will consist of one-hour talks and a 30-minute question and answer session.
The meetings will take place between 6:00p.m and 8:00p.m at the following dates and locations:
- The Buccleuch Centre, Langholm on July 20;
- Glenmoriston Millenium Hall, Invermoriston on July 25;
- Timespan, Helmsdale on July 26; and
- Stornoway Town Hall, Stornoway on July 27.
The Minister will also be holding an online event, between 6:30p.m and 8:00p.m on July 21. More details for all are available through Eventbrite.
Formally launching the consultation, Minister McAllan said:
“I recognise, and am fully committed to tackling, the adverse effects of scale and concentration of landownership - and empowering communities in the process.
“I am also clear that while investment in Scotland’s natural capital is vital to tackle the climate and nature emergencies, we must ensure that our people and communities are not disadvantaged and indeed can benefit.
“Finally, we must continue to improve transparency of ownership of land in Scotland.
"The new bill will be a significant step forward in ensuring our land is owned diversely and is used in the public interest and to the benefit of the people of Scotland," she added.
"This is the next step on Scotland’s land reform journey as we continue the work to pass more power to people and local communities, encourage and support responsible and diverse landownership and ensure communities have a say in how land in is used.”
The consultation will close on September 25, and views can be given via the Scottish Government website.