Land Reform Update

Ken Thomson

On 16 March, the Land Reform Bill was passed by the Scottish Parliament. Much of the new legislation alters the terms of agricultural tenancies - generally in favour of tenants, thus encouraging estates to take farms in hand where possible, in order to operate them directly or in partnership, as has been the trend for many years - but there are some other measures of more direct interest to mountaineers, and/or of more general interest. These measures include:

The Bill as passed has not gone as far as some have wanted, e.g. to require landowners (people or companies etc.) to be registered in the European Union; the Minister (Aileen McLeod) has said that this is not within the competence of the Scottish Parliament. There is only limited change to access legislation, mainly relat8ing to core path amendments.

Much detail remains to be settled (with some to be further argued in the Parliament - with a new set of MSPs - as secondary legislation), and there may even be legal challenges ahead. Progress on enhancing the land register, on improving deer management, and even on achieving community land purchases, is unlikely to be quick. But things have moved: watch out for further updates!

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