Land reform bill announced

Community land ownership eigg web

Government minister says Scotland needs a fairer distribution of land

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9th June 2014 by Paul Cardwell 0 Comments

Changes to land ownership will be legislated on before the end of the government’s term in office.

Environment and climate change minister Paul Wheelhouse said the land reform bill for Scotland will be brought forward before the next Scottish Parliament elections.

My vision, and that of my colleagues, for Scotland is for a fairer, wider and more equitable, distribution of land across our nation - Paul Wheelhouse

The bill’s announcement follows last month’s Land Reform Review Group report.

 Among its 62 recommendations was a call for measures to boost community land ownership in rural and urban areas.

This would address the long standing criticism that there are just 432 owners of 50% of the private land in Scotland

Wheelhouse said Scotland’s land should be shared out further and more fairly.

He said: “The review group’s report was a major milestone in taking forward Scotland’s land reform journey and I welcome its vision and the significant contribution the report makes to the debate in Scotland.

“My vision, and that of my colleagues, for Scotland is for a fairer, wider and more equitable, distribution of land across our nation, where communities and individuals have access to land and the land reform bill will enable much of this to happen.”

The planned legislation, Wheelhouse added, will build on measures already being brought forward in the forthcoming community empowerment (Scotland) bill, which will include improving communities ability to buy land.

Registers of Scotland has also been asked to complete a register of all land ownership in the country within ten years with a target to register public land in the first five years.

Meanwhile, the Scottish Land Fund will be extended until at least 2020.

Wheelhouse added: “This will give greater confidence to communities to consider community land ownership and time to work up their plan.

“This is an especially important consideration as plans do not just happen: projects need time to develop, and this can sometimes be a year or two or more.

“It would allow for a growing interest and confidence in the sector which is important in underpinning the growth in community ownership of land.”