The land of Scotland and the common good: report

The final report of the Land Reform Review Group.

Part Three Public Land Ownership

1 Scotland's territorial land area is covered by a pattern of land ownership, composed of the individuals and organisations that own the surface of the land and the minerals beneath it. Knowledge of this pattern of land ownership is a key aspect in understanding the relationship between the land and people of Scotland, because the rights that ownership gives to the owner are central to how land is used.

2 The ownership of land by the public is an important component of this pattern of land ownership, as part of securing the public interest in Scotland's land. In Scotland, the three main types of public land owners are the Crown, the Scottish Government and Scotland's 32 local authorities.

3 In the first two sections of this Part of the Report, ( Sections 9 and 10), the Review Group considers the extent of public land ownership in Scotland in terms of both the land surface and minerals beneath it. In the following sections of the Part, the Group considers a number of issues related to each of the three main types of public ownership.

4 The Review Group pays particular attention in Section 11 to Crown property rights and their management. This is because of the importance of the Crown as a part of Scotland's pattern of land ownership, the archaic nature of some Crown property rights and the prominent issues over the management of many of Scotland's Crown property rights by the Crown Estate Commissioners.

5 There is more limited consideration in this Part of the Report of land ownership by the Scottish Government and local authorities, as a number of aspects of each of these topics occur later in this Report. In this Part, the Review Group considers two particular types of property owned by the Scottish Government in Sections 12 and 13. Then, in Section 14, the Group considers Common Good Lands as a very distinctive form of local authority land ownership.

6 The two types of Scottish Government property discussed in Sections 12 and 13 might be considered in their respective ways, as amongst the most important held by the Scottish Government. The first is the Scottish Government's ownership of many of Scotland's most important and iconic national properties, such as Edinburgh and Stirling Castles, Holyrood and Linlithgow Palaces, and others. The second is Scotland's National Forest Estate, which is the Scottish Government's largest land holding.


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