The Scottish Government introduced the Land Reform (Scotland) Bill to parliament on Thursday 14 March 2024.

The Bill contains measures relating to large landholdings in Scotland. In addition to obligations relating to community engagement and requirements to produce land management plans, the Bill seeks to impose requirements for pre-notification in advance of a sale and introduces a prohibition on sales until the Scottish Ministers have had the opportunity to make a lotting decision. A lotting decision will determine whether or not the land is to be sub-divided into lots.

The definition of large landholdings will be key to determining the potential impact of the Bill and there are different threshold tests depending on the measure in question. It is notable that the scale threshold has been set at 1,000 hectares for pre-notification requirements and prohibitions on transfers without a lotting decision. This is a substantial reduction from the 3,000 hectares contained in the Scottish Government's Consultation "Land Reform in a Net Zero Nation". The Scottish Government's communications accompanying the Bill state that large landholdings of over 1,000 hectares represent more than 50% of Scotland's land.

The Bill also contains reforms in relation to agricultural holdings, including on landlord's powers of resumption, tenant's improvements and diversification. An obligation has also been placed on the Scottish Ministers to make a model lease available for letting land wholly or partly for an environmental purpose.

We are reviewing the Bill in detail and will provide further updates in due course. In the meantime, a copy of the Bill can be found here and, if you have any immediate queries or concerns, please get in touch with your usual Brodies contact.

To read more insights on Land Reform in Scotland, as well as listen to conversations with some of the key stakeholders, please click here.


Kate McLeish