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The Land Reform Review Group's Call for Evidence: Analysis of Responses

This report provides an analysis to the Call for Evidence by the Scottish Government’s Land Reform Review Group (LRRG). The Call for Evidence was launched on 4 October 2012 and closed on 11 January 2013.


1. INTRODUCTION

About this report

1.1 This report provides an analysis to the Call for Evidence by the independent Land Reform Review Group (LRRG).

1.2 This report identifies and presents the issues and views raised by those who responded to the Call for Evidence, and shows how the views of different groups vary. It is important to note that:

  • This is a summary of views and opinions expressed by the individuals and organisations which submitted a response. It is not a summary of all evidence relevant to land reform in Scotland, and it will not highlight every proposal or way forward that could be considered in the land reform debate.
  • Respondents were not provided with a prescribed format for submitting their responses to the Call for Evidence. This has the potential advantage of encouraging individuals to put forward their views without worrying about whether they are relevant, but it does mean that key questions may not get the attention that policy makers would have preferred.
  • The authors of this report were asked to provide an independent summary of opinion and evidence presented. They were not asked to make any judgement about whether the views or evidence was valid. The report therefore presents all issues equally. Any judgement will be undertaken by the independent Land Reform Review Group.

1.3 It is important that the above issues are taken into account when reading this report, and considering its contribution as evidence for the Land Reform Review Group to consider.

Background to the consultation

1.4 The Land Reform (Scotland) Act 2003 was introduced as a significant policy initiative to reshape land access and ownership in Scotland. It has three components:

  • The Act established statutory public rights of access to land and inland water for recreational and other purposes.
  • The Act provides opportunities for communities with a population of less than 10,000 in Scotland to apply to register an interest in land and the opportunity to buy that land when it comes up for sale (Community Right to Buy).
  • The Act gives crofting communities the right at any time to acquire and control the croft land where they live and work and to acquire the interest of the tenant in tenanted land (Crofting Community Right to Buy).

1.5 The Act was introduced as part of a raft of measures within the wider Land Reform Programme, which included the set up of the Community Land Unit in Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE), and the Scottish Land Fund (superseded by Growing Community Assets).

1.6 In July 2012 the Scottish Government announced the establishment of a Land Reform Review Group (LRRG) to assess the workings of the Act and identify how land reform could:

  • enable more people in Scotland to have a stake in the ownership, governance, management and use of land;
  • assist with the acquisition and management of land by communities, to make stronger, more resilient, and independent communities; and
  • generate, support, promote, and deliver new relationships between land, people, economy and environment in Scotland.

About the Call for Evidence

1.7 The Call for Evidence provided the opportunity for any interested party to make a written submission to the LRRG. There was no prescribed format for submissions. Instead, the Group sought respondents' visions of how and why land reform could be strengthened, the potential barriers, and how these could be addressed.

1.8 Following an initial review of the responses, we structured our analysis of them around 12 themes which were raised by respondents as follows:

Theme 1 Land ownership and management - Does the current pattern of land ownership and management need to be addressed?

Theme 2 Community land ownership - Should the Community Right to Buy be amended or extended?

Theme 3 Other models - Models other than ownership which would give communities and individuals a greater stake in land management?

Theme 4 Taxation - Should a land value or similar tax be introduced?

Theme 5 Succession rights - Should succession rights be amended?

Theme 6 Tenant farmers and encouraging new entrants - Should a Right to Buy be introduced for tenant farmers?

Theme 7 Crofting - Is there a need to amend crofting rights or extend crofting areas?

Theme 8 Access rights - Should access rights be extended or restricted?

Theme 9 Forestry ownership and management - Is there a need to diversify the ownership or management of existing forests?

Theme 10 Water resources ownership and management - Is there a need to change the way in which fresh water resources are owned and managed?

Theme 11 Affordable housing - Proposals to improve the supply of affordable housing

Theme 12 Other relevant themes raised by respondents

1.9 The analysis was undertaken using a response matrix. Respondents' comments were matched to the corresponding theme. Any additional comments that did not directly relate to any of the themes were fed into a separate section of the matrix and analysed separately.

Contact

Email: Liz Hawkins

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