Rural Law

Hydro - river in fieldThe community right to buy is making headlines again this week.

The Community Empowerment Bill moves closer to being passed into law with stage 3 amendments being considered in the Scottish Parliament this afternoon, followed by a final debate and vote on the Bill.

Some of the more controversial changes to the community right to buy included in the proposed amendments are:

  • The extension of the duration of a community body’s registered interest to 7 years (currently 5 years).
  • The widening of the definition of land which will be vulnerable to a community right to buy from “abandoned or neglected” land to “abandoned, neglected or detrimental” land. This right will apply even where the landowner is not willing to sell the land.   Land will be considered “detrimental” if it is used or managed in a way that it causes harm to the environmental wellbeing of the community.

The amendments do not contain further information on the definition of “abandoned or neglected”. This is likely to be of disappointment to some critics who hoped for more certainty on what type of land will meet the definition.

Media attention has also focused on the community right to buy as a result of the Scottish Land Fund’s decision to award over £950,000 to 3 island communities in its latest round of funding. Communities on Great Bernera, Lewis and Tiree will receive funding which will allow them to purchase areas of land, ranging from crofts to a former shop.

If you have any queries about the community right to buy and how it might affect your rights, please contact a member of the Land and Rural Business team.

Alternatively please arrange to meet us  at the Royal Highland Show. Members of our team will be there on Friday.

Kate McLeish