What are the SNP plans for land reform?
In the last Parliament we took forward a Land Reform Act, which was passed by the Scottish Parliament in 2016 and will introduce major changes to how Scotland’s land is owned and managed. The aim of this legislation is to ensure that Scotland's land must be an asset that benefits the many, not the few, and that our system of land rights promotes fairness, social justice, environmental sustainability and economic prosperity for all in our rural and urban communities.
Measures already taken forward under the Land Reform Act 2016, include:
- ending the business rates exemption for shooting and deerstalking;
- undertaking a consultation on ending the practice of anonymous ownership of major tracts of Scotland’s land;
- undertaking a consultation on a world-leading Land Rights and Responsibilities statement setting out our long term vision for the ownership, management and use of land; and
- establishing a Scottish Land Commission based in Inverness to provide direction and leadership on land reform.
The Scottish Government has now published a consultation on draft regulations that will, if passed, create a public register of people who ultimately make decisions about how land is used and managed. This will reveal, for the first time, the controlling interests of land owned by trusts and overseas companies.
We are committed to a target of one million acres of land being in community ownership by 2020. In order to meet this ambitious target, the Scottish Land Fund was increased from £3 million to £10 million in 2016. Figures published in August 2017 show that almost 500 communities now own their own land.