Farming: Land Reform Bill planned for next year

Anyone seeking land-based subsidies will have to sign up with the Land Register under the Scottish Government’s proposed new Land Reform Bill set to be introduced by the end of 2023.

Aimed at ensuring transparency around who benefits from public funding, this move is one of several planned new requirements revealed as the Scottish Government opened the consultation on its third major Land Reform bill since devolution.

Environment and Land Reform Minister Mairi McAllan said many of the measure in the bill were aimed at addressing long-standing concerns about the highly concentrated pattern of land ownership in rural areas of Scotland. These included proposals to introduce a public interest test for transfers of large-scale landholdings alongside a requirement for owners of such holdings to give prior notice to community bodies of their intention to sell.

McAllan said the Scottish Government had a strong record of progressive and innovative land reform - but stated the journey was not complete:

“We must continue to develop and implement land reform that addresses historical inequalities and at the same time, we must rise to changing social, environmental and economic issues in contemporary Scotland.”

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Commenting on the plans, Stephen Young, head of policy at, Scottish Land & Estates, called for a recognition of the role already played by landowners, adding:

“The most important aspect of land is how well it is used - regardless of who owns it - and this is going to be more crucial than ever as we rebuild economic activity and ensure that rural communities thrive again in the wake of the pandemic.”

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