Holyrood committee calls for land reform evidence

Rob Gibson MSP
Rob Gibson MSP

The Scottish Parliament’s Rural Affairs, Climate Change and Environment Committee has called for views on the Land Reform (Scotland) Bill.

The committee is beginning its scrutiny of the Scottish government bill, which aims to widen ownership and control of land in Scotland, and will produce a report by the end of the year.

The government said the bill contains “radical reforms to promote sustainability, fairness and transparency” and will ensure the issues of fairness, equality and social justice connected to the ownership of, access to and use of land in Scotland are given a permanent footing through the creation of a Scottish Land Commission.

The Scottish government will also be required to issue guidance to landowners on rights and responsibilities as well as responsible community engagement.

Rob Gibson, convenor of the committee, said: “The committee’s call for views is an opportunity for people to influence the future of land ownership and use by voicing their views and opinions on the issues that matter to them.

“The government’s bill covers significant issues, such as land reform, tenant farming and deer management. Its ambitious aim is to ensure land ownership and use in Scotland benefits all. It is crucial we get this right.

“We hope to hear views and opinions from across the country on the fundamental and important issue of how Scotland’s land should be owned and managed to benefit us all.

“It’s crucial that the valuable knowledge, experience and expertise of everyone in Scotland with a vested interest in our land’s future feed into our work where possible.”

Mr Gibson also accused “some” people of characterising the land reform debate as “polarising”, saying that the government had “attracted support from all sectors”.

He continued: “We want to hear the full range of views on all aspects of the bill, but as we take forward the process it is important that the debate is conducted from all sides in a measured, constructive and respectful way.

“That is what the committee expects and wants.”

Interested parties can submit evidence on the bill through the Scottish Parliament website ahead of the deadline on 14 August 2015.


Share icon
Share this article: