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MSPs say land reform legislation needs strengthening

Words: Laura Edgar

The Scottish Government’s flagship Land Reform Bill requires significant strengthening in key areas to deliver on its radical ambitions, according to a report by the Scottish Parliament.

That’s the conclusion of the Rural Affairs, Climate Change and Environment Committee (RACCE), which has highlighted a range of issues.

The MSPs said the bill needed to state clearly that land was a national asset for the benefit of all the people of Scotland.

The committee has called for changes in the draft legislation to secure improved transparency about who owns controls and benefits from land.

The MSPs have welcomed the proposed new right to buy for communities to further sustainable development, but question whether the test thresholds are too high and whether communities will be able to make full use of the provisions.

Committee convener Rob Gibson MSP said: “The committee shares the government's stated aim of delivering radical land reform and supports many of the measures contained within and general principles of the bill. But in our view, some parts, as drafted, require more work to deliver their ambitions.”

He added: “Key issues - such as improving transparency on who owns, controls and benefits from land, making the rent review process fairer and more transparent; and creating a better environment for investment in holdings by both tenants and landlords - require either further consideration or more detailed explanation.”

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