The Scottish Government's consultation – Land Reform in a Net Zero Nation - commenced on 4 July 2022.
The consultation is the next stage towards the Scottish Government meeting its commitment to take forward a Land Reform Bill, as set out in its Programme for Government 2021-2022.
The opening statement made by Mairi McAllan MSP, Minister for Environment and Land Reform sets out the Scottish Government's aims:
- To increase diversity of landownership;
- To bring about changes in land use; and
- To create more opportunities for communities to engage in decision making about the land around them and share in the benefits it brings.
The consultation contains a number of proposals for inclusion in a Land Reform Bill.
The headline issue is, as expected, the perceived issues associated with the scale and concentration of landownership in Scotland. The proposals in the consultation are consistent with those measures put forward by the Scottish Land Commission in February 2021.
In addition, the consultation contains proposals relating to public funding for land based activity and the introduction of a new type of Land Use Tenancy. It also poses questions relating to the role of taxation in supporting land reform and the use of investment from natural capital to maximise community benefit and national benefit (which follow on from recommendations made by the Scottish Land Commission in relation to land and natural capital markets). A separate consultation is to be undertaken in connection with small landholdings legislation.
As part of our commitment to keeping our clients informed of developments in land reform as and when they happen, we will be providing further thought and analysis on the detail of the proposals on our Land Reform Hub. We will also be contributing to our firm's formal response to the consultation by the deadline of 25 September 2022.