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Scottish Land Commission responds to Land Reform Bill Call for Views

The Scottish Land Commission has today 29 May published its response to the Call for Views on the Land Reform Bill issued by the Scottish Parliament’s Net Zero, Energy and Transport Committee.

Michael Russell, Chair of the Scottish Land Commission, explains: “We welcome the Land Reform Bill, introduced by the Scottish Government to Parliament in March, and its aim to address longstanding issues associated with concentrated land ownership in Scotland.

“The Bill's proposed measures, including lotting – the dividing up of larger units of land for sale – are significant steps towards addressing the impacts of concentrated land ownership in Scotland. The Scottish Land Commission has published in-depth research on the need for reform and proposed measures and we are pleased to contribute to the consideration of this important legislation.

“Our research shows that the effects of concentrated land ownership are far-reaching, impacting how people can work, live and grow in communities. The proposal for large land holdings to work more closely with communities and publish plans outlining how they intend to use their land will help to increase transparency and disclosure.

“Although the proposed transfer test differs from the public interest test recommended by the Commission, we believe that the inclusion of lotting could make more land available and look forward to consideration of how this approach can have most impact .”

In its submission to the committee, the Scottish Land Commission draws on its extensive research, including an investigation into issues associated with the scale and concentration of land ownership and a review of international practices. As well as reflecting its practical experience over three years of our Good Practice Programme.

Michael Russell continued: “In our response we also say that systemic change in the pattern of land ownership will need these measures to be accompanied by a programme of further reforms. Our research and recommendations set out proposals for reforms to tax and fiscal policy, community rights to buy and the role of public land for example.

“Land reform cannot be done in isolation. This Bill is an important step and we welcome the opportunity to share the evidence and advice published by the Commission to support legislation that will have an impact in addressing the longstanding challenges of concentrated land ownership”.

Further details of our recommendations and findings are available here.