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27/05/2014

Ambitious land mapping project for Scotland announced

Words: Roger Milne
Scotland map

An ambitious project to map the ownership of every scrap of land in Scotland has been announced by environment minister Paul Wheelhouse.

The land registration project would be completed within ten years, the minister said. It comes hot on the heels of the publication of a progress update of Scotland’s land use strategy, first published in 2010. 
 
The Land Reform Review Group has also published a new report The Land of Scotland and the Common Good (pdf), in which it calls for a limit on the amount of land any individual can own in Scotland. 
 
The report contains 62 recommendations, which also include proposals to introduce a system of land value taxation as an alternative to council tax, and as giving posers to local authorities to force the sale of vacant plots.
 
Revealing plans for the mapping project, Wheelhosue noted that land reform could not take place without a clear idea of who owns the land in Scotland. This is a vital underpinning step in Scotland's land reform journey and will ensure that at last everyone will know who owns Scotland."
 
He argued that land transactions were "more difficult and expensive" if land was not already registered.
 
Registers of Scotland has been asked to finish the register in a decade, with all public land registered within five years. However, Scottish Land & Estates warned the timescale was "very ambitious".

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