Compulsory Purchase Orders: guidance for landowners

An introduction to Compulsory Purchase Orders (CPOs) in Scotland for landowners.

Many public sector organisations (e.g. local authorities, Transport Scotland) and a range of infrastructure providers (e.g. energy transmission companies) have powers to purchase land without the owner's agreement if there is considered to be a strong enough case in the public interest in doing so.

For example, a local council may need to build a new road, assemble land to enable regeneration or build a new school, but cannot reach agreement to purchase the land needed. In these cases they may promote a Compulsory Purchase Order (CPO) and ask Ministers to confirm it. If confirmed by Ministers they may then take ownership of the land and pay compensation to the landowner and others with an interest in the land.

CPOs are therefore a useful tool to enable local authorities and other public sector bodies and infrastructure providers to acquire land to enable projects which are in the public interest to proceed, when they would otherwise not. However, the use of a CPO to take away someone's property rights is a significant step that must be carefully considered and the benefits of the underlying project balanced against the rights of landowners and others with an interest in the land.

When a CPO is used it should be done efficiently and fairly and uncertainty for landowners and those affected should be minimised wherever possible.

Advice for landowners who may be affected by a compulsory purchase project

We have published Compulsory purchase and compensation: A guide for owners, tenants and occupiers in Scotland who believe they may be affected by a Compulsory Purchase project.


We have created a list of CPO Lead Officers for each policy area. In addition if you have any general queries about our policy or the CPO process you can contact: 




Telephone: 0131 244 0667


Area 2-F (South)
Planning and Architecture Division
The Scottish Government
Victoria Quay



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