Ten years to find out who owns Scotland

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The Scottish Government has committed to mapping the ownership of all of Scotland within 10 years following a call from the Land Reform Review Group

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26th May 2014 by Susan Smith 0 Comments

The chair of the biggest review of land ownership for over a decade has welcomed a Scottish Government commitment to map out the ownership of all land in Scotland within 10 years.

Following the publication of a report from the Land Reform Review Group, which was chaired by Dr Alison Elliot, the Scottish Government has committed to creating the first complete land register in Scottish history.

We hope that this momentum is maintained as the Scottish Government gives consideration to our other recommendations - Alison Elliot

Only 26% of the land mass of Scotland is on the current register.

The Scottish Government said on Sunday that it had asked the Registers of Scotland to complete Scotland’s land register within 10 years and committed to registering all public land within five years. 

Environment and climate change minister Paul Wheelhouse said: “We are committed to addressing land reform that will help build a flourishing modern Scotland."

He added that a complete register “will benefit everyone as land transactions are more difficult and expensive if it’s not already on the land register.

“This is a vital underpinning step in Scotland’s land reform journey and will ensure that at last everyone will know who owns Scotland.”

The review group considered the limited progress to date in the coverage of Scotland’s land register to be a major issue.

Given the economic and wider public benefits a complete register would deliver, the group recommended that the Scottish Government should be doing more to increase the rate of registrations, including a government target date for completion of the register, a planned programme to register public lands and additional triggers to induce the first registration of other lands.

Elliot said: “We are pleased that the Scottish Government has been so prompt in deciding to implement one of the recommendations made by the Land Reform Review Group. Setting a target for completing the register of land ownership will bring closer the day when there is a definitive answer to the question who owns Scotland?.

“We hope that this momentum is maintained as the Scottish Government gives consideration to our other recommendations.”

The review group’s 260 page report included 62 recommendations, including measures that would boost community land ownership in rural and urban areas.