Call for Views on the Land Reform (Scotland) Bill

Closed 21 May 2024

Opened 4 Apr 2024

Overview

The Scottish Parliament’s Net Zero, Energy and Transport Committee is seeking your views on the Land Reform (Scotland) Bill.

About the Land Reform (Scotland) Bill

The Bill was introduced by the Scottish Government on 13 March. It covers:

  • land reform – there are various provisions imposing requirements in relation to owners of larger estates and the transfer of larger estates;
  • lease for environmental purposes – the Bill requires the Scottish Government to publish a model lease for environmental purposes; and
  • small landholdings and agricultural tenancies – there are various provisions in the Bill which the Scottish Government says are to modernise the law.

Find out more about the Bill and read its accompanying documents

Our questions

This consultation contains 31 questions relating to the Bill. You do not need to answer all questions. When answering Yes/No questions, we would welcome you giving reasons for your answer.

See the questions in this Call for Views

Part 1 of the Bill

General Purpose in Relation to Large Landholdings

  1. Do you agree that there is a need for further land reform to address issues around large landholdings in Scotland? 

  1. Will the proposals in this Bill fulfil the Scottish Government’s objectives in relation to land reform?

  2. Do you support the proposal that the Scottish Ministers may, by regulations, impose obligations on landowners to promote community engagement in relation to large landholdings?

  3. In principle, do you agree that owners of large landholdings should have a legal duty to consult on and publish land management plans?

  4. Do you support the process for investigating alleged breaches of community engagement requirements for large landowners set out in the Bill? Do you support the proposed level of penalty for contravention?

Section 2

  1. Do you support in principle strengthening community bodies’ opportunity to buy large landholdings?

  • If you answered “yes”, does Section 2 of the Bill go about this in the right way to address the Government’s aims?

  • Do you think that 1,000 hectares is an appropriate threshold?

Section 4

  1. Do you, in principle, approve of allowing the Scottish Ministers to make a lotting decision in relation to sales of large landholdings?

  • If so, do you agree that 1000 hectares is an appropriate threshold?

  1. Is the proposed process for making a lotting decision appropriate and workable? 

  1. Do the Scottish Government’s proposals for a “transfer test” adequately take the public interest into account? 

Section 6

  1. Do you support the creation of the new role of Land and Communities Commissioner?

  • If so, are their responsibilities under the Bill adequate/appropriate?

Part 2 of the Bill

Section 7

  1. Are you satisfied with the broad duty Section 7 of the Bill places on the Scottish Ministers to develop a model lease for environmental purposes, including the definition of “environmental purposes" set out in Section 7?

Sections 8 and 9

  1. Do you agree with the provisions in the Bill extending certain rights to small landholders?

  2. Do you agree that the Tenant Farming Commissioner’s functions should be extended to include small landholders? 

Section 10

  1. Do you agree with repealing Section 99 of the Land Reform (Scotland) Act 2016, and with giving the Scottish Ministers the power to make regulations which modify the requirement for tenants to register their interest in exercising their pre-emptive right to buy?

Sections 11 to 13

  1. Do you agree with the changes to resumption proposed in the Bill?

Section 14

  1. Do you agree with the proposed changes to compensation for improvements for tenant farmers?

  2. Do you believe that the provisions will better enable tenant farmers to engage in sustainable and regenerative agriculture? 

Sections 15 to 19

  1. Do you agree with the proposed changes in relation to diversification on tenant farms?

  2. Do you believe these provisions will better enable tenant farmers to engage in sustainable and regenerative agriculture?

Section 20

  1. Do you agree with the proposed changes to compensation for game damage for agricultural tenants?

Section 21

  1. Do you agree with the proposed standard claim procedure for compensation at the end of a tenancy?

  2. Do you agree with granting the Scottish Ministers power to apply the standard claim procedure to any relevant type of compensation?

Section 22

  1. Do you agree that interest should be payable on outstanding compensation claims?

  2. Do you agree with the rate of interest set out in the Bill?

Sections 23 to 25

  1. Do you agree with the changes to rent reviews proposed in the Bill?

  2. Do you agree with the Scottish Ministers being given powers to make provision in relation to matters that are to be taken into account by the Land Court when determining the rent for a holding?

Sections 26 and 27

  1. Do you agree with the proposed changes to the rules of good estate management?

  2. Do you agree with the proposed changes to the rules of good husbandry?

General questions

Links to the Agriculture and Rural Communities (Scotland) Bill

  1. Are the changes proposed in the Land Reform (Scotland) Bill sufficient to enable tenant farmers to engage in sustainable and regenerative agriculture, and to allow them to take part in schemes and programmes under any new agricultural policy?

Fairness and checks and balances

  1. Do you consider the Bill strikes a balance between the competing interests and rights of landowners, local communities, landlords and tenants, alongside the wider public interest?

Tackling the Climate and Biodiversity Crises

  1. In your view, does the Bill make adequate provision for the role that land might play in delivering a just transition to net zero and tackling the biodiversity crisis?

How to submit your views

Please submit your views using the online submission form, linked to below.

We welcome written views in English, Gaelic, Scots or any other language. 

The call for views closes on 21 May 2024.

Interests

  • NZET