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21/01/2016

Scottish ministers strengthen flagship land reform legislation

Words: Roger Milne

Land reform minister Aileen McLeod has moved a slew of amendments designed to strengthen the administration’s landmark Land Reform Bill, currently at committee stage in the Scottish Parliament.

Many of these amendments are in response to suggestions from the Parliament’s Rural Affairs Environment and Climate Change Committee and other stakeholders.

The government’s amendments include strengthening:

  • The government’s land rights and responsibilities statement to make clear its purpose is to set out overarching principles on land rights and responsibilities in Scotland;

  • How the bill expresses the government’s commitment to human rights in the context of land reform;

  • How the bill expresses the government’s commitment to public engagement on the land rights and responsibilities statement; and

  • The government’s accountability to the public by requiring a ministerial report on public consultation on the land rights and responsibilities statement.

These amendments come in addition to the minister’s confirmation that the government will amend the bill to provide for a public register of persons who have control of land in Scotland. This should substantially improve transparency over Scottish land ownership.

Image credit | iStock

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