Group to review land reform legislation in Scotland

Group to review land reform legislation in Scotland



A review of land reform in Scotland is to be carried out, First Minister Alex Salmond has announced.


Speaking on Skye, ahead of a summer cabinet meeting, Mr Salmond said he had set-up a group of experts to look at the legislation, consider potential reform, and report back to ministers.


He wants the group "to deliver radical change" for both rural and urban areas.


It will be chaired by former Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, Dr Alison Elliot.


Land reform campaigner Prof James Hunter and Dr Sarah Skerratt, who have experience of the Highlands and Islands and rural development, will be vice-chair people.


A further 10 advisers – with expertise in areas such as property and land issues, economics, legal issues, community-led organisations, land ownership, forestry and access – are to be appointed to the group shortly.


The review team will report to ministers in a series of stages and will consider what the outcomes of land reform should be and what reforms are required.


It will engage with and seek opinions from land users, landowners, access providers, community bodies, crofting bodies, planning authorities and other public sector bodies.


Mr Salmond said: "We cannot underestimate the crucial part land reform will play in contributing to the future success of Scotland for the next generation.


"By improving the relationship between our land and people, we can create stronger communities and deliver the economic growth and fairer society that the people of Scotland quite rightly expect.


"I want this review to deliver radical change for both rural and urban areas, developing new ideas which will improve current legislation as well as generating even more innovative proposals."


‘Further reforms’
Community Land Scotland, which represents the country’s new generation of community landowners, welcomed the review.


Chairman, David Cameron, said: "The review can learn from the success of the land reform that has already taken place over recent decades and help plan how to accelerate that.


"Community Land Scotland will play an active part in presenting evidence for further reforms to promote an ever greater role for communities in the ownership and management of their land and look forward to contributing actively to the work now getting under way."


A report from the group on any legislative changes required is expected by the end of next year.


Members of the Scottish cabinet are in Skye as part of a series of summer meetings. They are also taking parts in a public Q&A in Portree.


They will meet in Orkney and Renfrew next month.