Please send me SCA's fortnightly briefing:

< Back to '13th Dec 2023' briefing

December 12, 2023

Land for the People

When Andy Wightman fell out with the Green Party and subsequently failed to get elected as an independent MSP, it was widely acknowledged that the Scottish Parliament was much the poorer for it. In typical fashion, and anticipating a Land Reform Bill that will fail to hit the mark when it comes before the Scottish Parliament, Andy has signalled his intention to publish a Land Reform Bill that will go far beyond the existing proposals by proposing how to democratise land governance. It’s an ambitious counterpoint to the expected underwhelming content of the Scottish Government’s Bill

Andy Wightman, Land Matters

Land for the People (Scotland) Bill

This blog introduces my proposals for a comprehensive Land Reform Bill – one that goes far further than existing proposals in reforming Scotland’s land governance.

I plan to publish further blogs outlining in more detail the background rationale and details of each section of the proposed Bill. In Spring 2024, I will publish a draft bill (or as close to it as I can reasonably achieve) together with explanatory notes. Meanwhile, this blog sets out the key sections of the Bill together with a brief explanation and context for each.

The overall purpose of the Bill is to democratise land governance. In particular, it is designed to strengthen the role of local communities and local government, to secure more widespread ownership of land, to increase accountability in landownership, to protect and restore commons regimes and to fairly allocate the wealth accrued from land rights.

The Bill includes measures relating to land tenure, administrative law, fiscal policy and land markets.

The underlying philosophy of the Bill is that land is a common resource and Parliament has the responsibility to create the framework for a socially responsible, accountable, democratic and transparent system of land tenure, and associated rights of occupation and use.

Within such a system, owners and others should have the freedom to use their land in whatever way they wish. In other words we seek to correct deficiencies in the balance between private and public interests not by cracking down on individuals owners but by reforming the system within which they exercise their rights. By default this will involve greater local democratic governance.

See more