Land reform in a Net Zero Nation: consultation paper

The next Land Reform Bill will make important changes to the framework of law and policy that govern the system of ownership, management and use of land in Scotland. This consultation sets out the Scottish Government's proposals for the Bill and seeks views on a range of land-related issues.

Part 8: New conditions on those in receipt of public funding for land based activity

Public funding

The Scottish Government and related public bodies administer funding to parties for specific purposes to further the Scottish Government's policy objectives such as tree planting and peatland restoration. Each grant or subsidy have requirements to ensure that public money is spent on the activity that support the Scottish Government objective.

Over recent years, there has been an increased interest in who is in receipt of public funds. The recent invasion of Ukraine by Russia has seen this issue come into the spotlight again. In addition, we know that we need private inward investment to support public funding to achieve our climate change objectives.

A further concern related to transparency is the extent to which profit from land investment (which may have had the benefit of public subsidy) is finding its way out of the country. We seek views in this consultation on whether all those seeking to acquire land in Scotland, and all recipients of Scottish Government land-based subsidy, should be registered and liable to pay tax in the UK or EU. We set out some considerations in relation to this in Part 11, below.

What we propose

In this consultation, we have set out proposals to strengthen the LRRS and for Compulsory Land Management Plans. One of the possible penalties for not adhering to these requirements is the withdrawal of public funding. In addition, we would like to explore whether there are any additional requirements for land based public funds that could be placed on future awards, such as a requirement that the land related to the claim is registered in the Land Register of Scotland.

We also propose that all recipients of Scottish Government land-based subsidies should be registered and liable to pay tax in the UK or EU.

Why we are proposing this

The requirement for large-scale landowners to demonstrate they comply with the LRRS and have an up to date Management Plan coincides with the policies introduced in Parts 5 and 6 of this consultation and will be used as enforcement powers by the relevant bodies.

We recognise that many land-holdings in receipt of land based subsidy will already be registered in the Land Register of Scotland. We also recognise that there will be a cost for those who are not already on the Register. Placing this requirement to register on those who are not in the Land Register will increase registration, supporting the delivery of greater transparency of ownership information and a complete Land Register.


Q27. We propose the following eligibility requirements for landowners to receive public funding from the Scottish Government for land based activity:

i. All land, regardless of size, must be registered in the Land Register of Scotland.

ii. Large-scale landowners must demonstrate they comply with the Land Rights and Responsibility Statement and have an up to date Land Management Plan.

Do you agree or disagree with these requirements?

a) Requirement i. Agree / Disagree / Don't know

b) Requirement ii. Agree / Disagree / Don't know

Please give some reasons for your answers:

Q28. Do you have any other comments on the proposals outlined above?



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