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Understanding the benefit of Scotland's Register of Persons Holding a Controlled Interest in Land (RCI)

Gemma Campbell

The Register of Persons Holding a Controlled Interest in Land (RCI) has been designed to provide transparency around who influences and controls decisions made about land and buildings in Scotland. Accurate and up-to-date information about land provides the foundation for open and transparent decision-making and can enable greater collaboration and participation.

Some communities know who owns and make decisions about land in their area because landowners live locally and are a part of the community, or because landowners are transparent about their landholdings and people know how to contact them or their representatives. However, in some cases, those ultimately responsible for making decisions are not the registered landowner and it can be difficult for communities to find information about them. The register will help people and communities to know more about, and engage with, the individuals who control the decision-making of landowners and tenants of land in Scotland.

The RCI came into force on 1st April 2022 and there has been an initial transition period for submitting details to the register. The transition period comes to an end on 1st April 2024. After that, it will be an offence for those who are in scope for the register to not submit the required information. Therefore, it is important for anyone who thinks they could be required to register to confirm whether they need to take action. Registers of Scotland (RoS), who manage the register, have created an online tool to help people self-determine whether they have a responsibility to register. The regulations are not intended to capture those who own their own home, where there is no one who has significant influence or control over them.

Transparency of land ownership and land use decision-making is important, even for those who do not have responsibilities in relation to RCI. We have some tools that can help all landowners and communities with sharing and finding information about land in their local areas. As well as our protocol on transparency, our template for sharing information and our guidance on sharing information about land ownership and management can help those who own land and buildings. We have also published an information map for landowners, which can support those who are looking for more information about their local community. For community members who want to know more about land and buildings where they live, our information map for communities is a helpful starting point.

Transparency around land ownership and decision-making can benefit everyone. Our case studies on land management planning show some of the benefits to landowners and communities across Scotland.