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Radical land legislation consultation launched

Words: Roger Milne

Companies would not be allowed to own land in Scotland unless they are registered within the European Union, under government proposals now out for consultation.

Scottish ministers are also considering extending such a restriction to trusts and partnerships, as part of proposed land reforms that are central to the administration’s current legislative programme.

The restrictions would not apply to individuals from other parts of the world who want to buy Scottish land.

The government said restricting ownership to EU companies, trusts and partnerships would end the current situation where communities and others find it difficult to trace their local landowners.

Environment minister Aileen McLeod said: “I am keen to see a fairer and more equitable, distribution of land in Scotland where communities and individuals can own and use land to realise their potential. Scotland's land must be an asset that benefits the many, not the few.

“At present information on who owns land is held by many different bodies including, Registers of Scotland, SEPA, local authorities as well as the government.

“This consultation will look at finding ways to bring this information together, which will not only inform debate and public decision making but also help private decision making and drive opportunity.”