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July 12, 2022

Not done yet – not by a long way

There was a time when the official view from within the Scottish Government was that ‘land reform was done’ and that those agitating for more should be satisfied with what had already been achieved.  As we now know, that view didn’t persist for long and land reform has continued to be one of the most consistent and progressive features of the Scottish Government’s legislative programme. Further legislation is now being planned with a consultation launched last week. At first glance, this will make uncomfortable reading for those who had hoped land reform was ‘done and dusted’ all those years ago.

The Scottish Government

Scotland has a proud history of land reform going back to the early days of devolution. We are committed to bringing forward a new Land Reform Bill in this parliamentary session. Over the summer, we are undertaking a wide-ranging consultation on our proposals for the measures it should contain.

The Bill will be ambitious. It will address long-standing concerns about the highly concentrated pattern of land ownership in rural areas of Scotland.  At the same time, we want to ensure that our land is owned, managed, and used in ways that rise to the challenges of today: net zero, nature restoration, and a just transition.

To bring about a just transition we need to have a framework of law and policy that ensures communities can make the most of these opportunities. This means that not only must we address questions of who owns land, who uses it, and how it is managed, we must also consider the issue of who is benefitting from land, and from investment in it.

We are very fortunate to have great potential in Scotland’s natural world to sequester carbon and to support biodiversity, for example through woodland creation, peatland restoration, energy generation, blue carbon and many other initiatives. These initiatives will help us reach net zero but they also represent a real opportunity for our rural communities, for investment and for good green jobs and industries of the future.

Land is a vital resource that underpins the wealth, and the well-being, of the nation as a whole. We’ve come a long way on the ‘land question’ – but the journey continues.

You can hear from the Minister for Environment and Land Reform about whats in the consultation and why it is needed in this short video.


Read the consultation paper

A Gaelic translation of the consultation will be supplied here in due course.

As well as publishing this consultation paper, we have organised a series of public meetings where the Minister for Environment and Land Reform, along with government officials, will present the proposals for the Bill. All are welcome to come along to ask questions, raise issues, and contribute to the discussion. Please click on the link below for more details and to book your place.

Public meetings

The Minister for Environment and Land Reform will be holding four public meetings between 6:00pm and 8:00pm at the following venues:

  • The Buccleuch Centre, Langholm on Wednesday 20 July 2022 (EventBrite link)
  • Glenmoriston Millenium Hall, Invermoriston on Monday 25 July 2022 (EventBrite link)
  • Timespan, Helmsdale on Tuesday 26 July 2022 (EventBrite link)
  • Stornoway Town Hall, Stornoway on Wednesday 27 July 2022 (EventBrite link)
  • Victoria and Albert Halls, Ballater on Thursday 28 July 2022 (EventBrite link)

The Minister will also be holding an online event between 6:30pm and 8:00pm on Thursday 21 July 2022 (EventBrite link).