Land Reform Act comes into force

Key milestone in Scotland’s land reform journey.

The first parts of the Land Reform (Scotland) Act begin today [Tuesday, June 28].

Changes on the use of common good land, business rates for shooting and deerstalking, and deer management have come into force.

Other parts of the act – including those on agricultural holdings and on landowners engaging with communities – will begin later in the parliamentary session.

The provisions will:

• End the exemption from business rates for shooting and deerstalking. This means these businesses will be subject to the same arrangements as others in Scotland from April 2017

• Give local authorities the power to change the use of some types of common good land if they apply for court consent

• Award new powers on the management of deer populations

Cabinet Secretary for Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform, Roseanna Cunningham said:

“I am pleased to note the first parts of this act come into force. The Land Reform Act builds on the foundations of this Government’s wider programme of reform across urban and rural Scotland. The act will enable communities and individuals to own and use land to realise their full potential.

“These first provisions mean that we will tax shooting and deer stalking businesses in the same way as other businesses in Scotland. They also modernise the law on common good land so councils can better use this resource. Finally, they create new powers to manage wild deer populations.

“Today marks a vital next step in a wider and on-going programme of reform across Scotland. A land rights and responsibilities statement and a Scottish Land Commission will follow. We will also support landowners to better engage with communities and will shortly begin to implement the act’s agricultural holdings provisions.

“Implementing the act is not the end of our land reform journey but an important step in ensuring that land in Scotland delivers benefit for everyone.”


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