Our land is one of our key resources in Scotland, and we should harness and work with it in a way that is green, fair and sustainable.
That’s why the Scottish Government is committed to bringing forward a new Land Reform Bill in this parliamentary session.
Here’s all you need to know.
Why is land reform important?
Private ownership of land – particularly at scale – has historically afforded significant privilege to those who own it – hereditary titles, wealth, and the ability to influence policy and law.
Land is a vital resource that underpins the wealth and the wellbeing of Scotland as a whole, so in our mission to tackle inequality, land reform really matters.
The Land Reform Bill is an important step forward in ensuring our land is owned and used in the public interest, and to the benefit of the people of Scotland.
A wide-ranging consultation on a Land Reform Bill
Over the summer, the Scottish Government is undertaking a wide-ranging consultation on an ambitious new Land Reform Bill – seeking to address concerns about the highly concentrated pattern of land ownership in Scotland’s rural areas.
We believe that those with the broadest shoulders should bear the greatest burden in reaching our goals of Net Zero and nature restoration.
At the same time, we have a longstanding commitment to ensure that smaller family farms, and tenant farmers in particular, are not disadvantaged by our efforts to bring about these changes.
What will the Bill include?
To help drive forward land reform, and help achieve our aspirations for a fairer, more equal Scotland, the Land Reform Bill will aim to:
- Encourage and support responsible and diverse land ownership.
- Increase transparency of land ownership in Scotland.
- Strengthen requirements for engagement with communities over how land in their area is used.
- Address issues of fairness, equality and social justice connected to the ownership of, access to and use of land in Scotland.
Ensuring communities can benefit from investment
Scotland’s land is a precious natural resource that will help us reach net zero, but it also represents a real opportunity for our rural communities – for investment and for creating good, green jobs.
To ensure communities can make the most of these opportunities, we need to have a framework of law and policy, and the Land Reform Bill seeks to deliver it.
This means that apart from addressing questions of who owns land, who uses it, and how it is managed, we must also consider the issue of who benefits from land and investment in it.
Supporting community ownership of land
We have already launched the Scottish Land Fund and implemented legislation to extend and improve community rights to buy, including a right to buy land to further sustainable development.
The Scottish Land Fund – which we’re doubling over the course of this parliament – offers grants of up to £1 million to help communities take ownership of the land and buildings that matter to them.
The Land Reform Bill will support the work to pass more power to people and local communities, and ensure that they have more say in how land in their area is used.