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Public interest test in proposed Land Reform Bill 'extremely complex'


By Gavin Musgrove

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SLE head of policy Stephen Young.
SLE head of policy Stephen Young.

A prominent land based business group has had its first say on 'transformative' land reform plans being proposed by the Scottish Government

Ministers launched the public consultation earlier this week on new proposals to be included in a forthcoming Land Reform Bill.

Scottish Land & Estates represents land-based businesses across rural Scotland and said it hopes the current roles being fulfilled by its members and other landowners are not overlooked.

SLE head of policy Stephen Young said: “Land-based businesses on estates and farms across Scotland play a key role in the rural economy.

"We hope that government recognises private land businesses are playing a huge part in delivering first class land use in terms of agriculture, renewable energy, leisure, tourism, heritage and conservation as well as meeting the challenges of the climate change and biodiversity crisis.

“The most important aspect of land is how well it is used – regardless of who owns it – and this is going to be more crucial than ever as we rebuild economic activity and ensure that rural communities thrive again in the wake of the pandemic.

“This new land reform bill will be the third bill of its type since the establishment of the Scottish Parliament.

"We support all different types of land ownership models and we already have legislation which helps communities acquire land where there is demand.

"We have also been long-standing supporters of transparency of ownership.

"As regards a public interest test on large-scale transfers of ownership, this is an issue that government itself has said is extremely complex and will need to be considered in great detail.”

WATCH: Scottish Government announced ambitious proposals for land reform


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