Public to get a say on Scots Government’s land ownership reform

Roseanna Cunningham opened the consultation exercise. Picture: Ian Georgeson
Roseanna Cunningham opened the consultation exercise. Picture: Ian Georgeson
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People are to be given the chance to comment on the Scottish Government’s land reform plans, it has announced.

Cabinet Secretary for Land Reform Roseanna Cunningham yesterday opened a consultation on a government initiative which is looking at the future of land and buildings ownership, management and use.

Redistribution of land has been a long-term goal for the Scottish Government, which has been keen to promote community ownership and shake up the system which has seen vast tracts of Scotland owned by relatively few people.

The public are to be asked to comment on the Scottish Government’s Land Rights and Responsibilities Statement, which will underpin a range of Scottish Government strategies related to land rights and responsibilities.

According to Ms Cunningham, the legislation will support a commitment to build a fairer society in Scotland and promote environmental sustainability.

The statement is also likely to have an impact on the work of the new Scottish Land Commission, which becomes operational in April and has been given the task of reviewing law and policy.

Ms Cunningham said: “Land reform is concerned with both urban and rural communities and impacts on every single person in Scotland. This consultation will give everyone the opportunity to shape the future of our land to create a fairer and more prosperous nation.

“Our vision is that the ownership, management and use of land and buildings in Scotland should contribute to the collective benefit of the people of Scotland. A fair, inclusive and productive system of land rights and responsibilities should deliver greater public benefits and promote economic, social and cultural rights.

“Moreover, the statement will be the basis for a strong and consistent vision running through government policy and the work of the new Scottish Land Commission.”

Since devolution, a series of land reform measures have been passed, most recently the 2016 Land Reform Act.

Sarah Jane Laing of landowners’ group Scottish Land & Estates said members would “happily” take part in the exercise, adding that they were dedicated to ensuring rural areas were “as prosperous and vibrant as possible”.