Farming: Eco measures drive up land prices

The Scotsheep event also heard that while addressing greenhouse gas emissions and carbon sequestration offered opportunities for the industry, the growth of the carbon market presents challenges.

With many estates being snapped up for tree planting, peat bog restoration, re-wilding or other environmental projects by institutional investors and so-called green lairds, land prices had risen beyond the pockets of those wishing to farm it.

Ian Davidson, of the Scottish Land Matching Service - which aims to pair up farmers and landowners wanting to step back from the active running of their units with those keen to get the first foot on the farming ladder - admitted that with so much land being taken out of agricultural production finding opportunities for new arrangements was becoming more difficult.

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“However, it is often the case that when estates are bought up for trees there are areas which will not be planted out – and we hope to enter into discussions with both private and institutional purchasers with an aim to making some of these available for new entrants,” said Davidson.

Angus McColl, who recently stepped down from his leading role with the Scottish Tenant Farmers Association voiced fears for the way in which market developments were affecting the tenanted sector, revealing that it was increasingly common for tenanted land to be sold to such investors.

“And it is often the case that a tenant doesn’t even know who the land has been sold to – and if they are not on a secure tenancy they face an uncertain future.”



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