Land Reform (Scotland) Bill

 

Land Reform (Scotland) Bill

The Land Reform (Scotland) Bill was introduced to the Scottish Parliament on 22 June 2015. The Bill and its associated documents can be found here -  

What does the Bill do?

Land reform

  • publishing a statement of the Scottish Government’s objectives for land reform;
  • establishing a Scottish Land Reform Commission;
  • seeking to improve information on land, its value and ownership;
  • publishing guidance to landowners on engaging with communities on decisions which may affect them;
  • introducing a right to buy to further sustainable development; and
  • local authorities being able to seek court approval to put common good land to a different use.

 Sporting rates

  • removing the exemption from business rates for shootings and deer forests;

 Deer management

  • expanding the functions of existing deer panels to include engagement with local communities;
  • introducing a power for SNH to require the production of a deer management plans; and
  • increasing the penalties for failure to comply with a deer control scheme.

Core paths

  • clarifying the core paths planning process in relation to public access.

Agricultural holdings

  • setting up a new form of agricultural tenancy (the Modern Limited Duration Tenancy);
  • removing the requirement for a tenant to register a right to buy interest;
  • introducing a new power for the Land Court to order the sale of the holding to the tenant or on the open market where the landlord repeatedly breaches their obligations;
  • changing the procedure for rent reviews and the test to be applied in determining the rent of an agricultural holding so it is based on the productive capacity of a holding;
  • expanding the class of persons to whom leases of agricultural holdings can be assigned or bequeathed or transferred to on intestacy (where no valid will is present), as well as streamlining the processes around the landlord’s objection to a new successor tenant;
  • providing for a 2 year amnesty period for tenants to seek approval of improvements to agricultural holdings so that compensation can be claimed at the end of the tenancy; and,
  • introducing a new procedure for tenants to object to any improvement proposed by the landlords if the tenant feels it is not reasonable for the productivity of the holding.

SPICe Briefings

The Scottish Parliament Information Centre (SPICe) has produced the following briefings on the Bill:

Timetable

Timetable for consideration of the Bill (updated Thursday 18 February 2016) 

Stage 3 

The RACCE Committee completed Stage 2 consideration of the Land Reform (Scotland) Bill on Wednesday 10 February 2016. Amendments considered and disposed of by the Committee are recorded in the minutes of the meetings of 20 January, 27 January, 3 February and 10 February.  

An As Amended version of the Bill, showing all of the amendments made at Stage 2 is now available.  

The Bill has now progressed to Stage 3 consideration. Parliament will consider Stage 3 amendments on 16 March 2016.  Details are published in the Parliamentary Business Bulletin. The Committee will publish further details on Stage 3 proceedings on its Twitter feed: @SP_RuralClimate 

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Stage 2 consideration  

The Committee considered the Bill at Stage 2 between 20 January and 10 February 2016. 

Read the Stage 2 evidence on the Bill 

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Stage 1 evidence 

Wednesday 2 September   

Scottish Government Bill Team 

Monday 7 September 

Land Reform (Meeting  held at the Aros Centre, Portree, Isle of Skye.

Wednesday 16 September 

Agricultural Holdings 

Wednesday 30 September

Deer and Sporting Rates

Wednesday 7 October

Human rights

Monday 2 November

Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs, Food and Environment and Minister for Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform (external meeting in Dumfries)

In addition the Committee has undertaken several fact finding visits around the country to learn more from people on local issues.  The Committee visited:

  • Fife - 14 September 2015
  • Islay and Jura - 20-21 September 2015
  • Borders - 28 September 2015
  • Registers of Scotland - 6 October 2015

Evidence

The Rural Affairs, Climate Change and Environment Committee wants to hear from you on the general principles of the Bill.

The Bill contains proposed legislative changes affecting land ownership and management; sporting rates; deer management; core path access and agricultural holdings, and the Committee is keen to hear views from as many people across Scotland as possible on these very important issues.

The deadline for submission of written evidence on the Bill closed on Friday 14 August 2015. Committee clerks are currently working to process the large number of submissions received. These submissions will be posted on the Stage 1 evidence page [see link below] in the coming days. In the meantime, if you have any questions, please contact the Committee clerks. [updated Monday 17 August 2015]

Details of the call for evidence

Given the fact that the Bill has various distinct issues within it, responders were asked to consider whether to give views on the Bill as a whole, or to focus views on the areas of interest listed above. Responders were also invited to refer to any case studies which would highlight any of the issues featured in the bill.

Before responding, please read our policy:

Please also note the following—

  • please keep your written response as concise as possible;
  • please clearly indicate on your response what part(s) of the Bill you are responding to;
  • the written response should be provided electronically in MS Word format (please note, there is no need to provide a confirmatory hard copy) to landreformbill@scottish.parliament.uk
  • If you wish to make a hard copy submission, please address it to: Rural Affairs, Climate Change and Environment Committee, Room T3.40, The Scottish Parliament, Edinburgh, EH99 1SP

The deadline for responses was 17:00 on Friday 14 August 2015.

Correspondence

The Committee wrote to the Scottish Government Bill team following its meeting on the 2 September 2015 requesting further details on issues arising from the session:

The Scottish Government Bill team responded on the 10 September 2015:

The Scottish Government wrote to the Committee on 30 October 2015 with further information on rent reviews:

The Committee received an update from the Scottish Government on rent reviews on 12 November 2015:

The Cabinet Secretary wrote to the Committee on 17 November 2015 with information on the Bill following his evidence to Committee on 4 November 2015:

The Minister for Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform wrote to the Committee with further information relating to deer following her evidence to the Committee on the 2 November 2015: 

Shelter Scotland, Scottish Empty Homes Partnership, Scotland's Towns Partnership and Rural Housing Scotland wrote to the committee on compulsory sale orders for long term empty properties in relation to the Land Reform (Scotland) Bill:

The Delegated Powers and Law Reform Committee copied the RACCE Committee into correspondence to the Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs, Food and the Environment on the Scottish Government's response to the DPLR Committee's Stage 1 report on the Land Reform (Scotland) Bill:

The Committee received correspondence from the Scottish Government on plans for amendments to s79 (which confers a power on Scottish Ministers to provide for the conversion of 1991 Act agricultural tenancies into modern limited duration tenancies (MLDTs)).

The Committee was also copied into correspondence from the Scottish Government to the DPLR Committee on its Stage 1 report, which includes reference to the letter to RACCE on 4 December 2015 concerning amendments to s79.

The Committee received further correspondence from the Scottish Government on planned amendments to s79:

The Committee received correspondence from the Minister for Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform on proposed amendments to Part 3 of the Bill:

The Committee received correspondence from the Scottish Government on providing further information on Part 6 of the Bill:

The Committee received correspondence from the Scottish Government on proposed amendments at Stage 2 introducing repairing leases: 

The Committee was copied into correspondence from the Minister for Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform to the Delegated Powers and Law Reform Committee on Part 3 of the Bill: 

Letter from Minister for Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform to the Delegated Powers and Law Reform Committee on Part 3 of the Bill

The Committee received correspondence from the Scottish Government on small landholdings and housing:

The Committee received correspondence from the Scottish Government on seasonal workers wages on shooting estates:

The Committee was copied into correspondence from the Minister to the Delegated Powers and Law Reform Committee on Part 3 of the Bill:

The Committee received correspondence from the Minister for Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform on proposed amendments to Part 3 of the Bill at Stage 3:

The Committee was copied into correspondence from the Delegated Powers and Law Reform Committee on proposed amendments to Part 3 of the Bill at Stage 3:



Work By Other Committees

Delegated Powers and Law Reform Committee

Finance Committee

Report

On 4 December 2015, the Committee published its Stage 1 Report on the Land Reform (Scotland) Bill.  It also published a separate document containing the Executive Summary of the report and a copy of the Executive Summary in Gaelic. 

On 5 January 2016, the Scottish Government responded to the Committee Stage 1 report. Read the response here:

Debate

The Stage 1 Debate on the Land Reform (Scotland) Bill took place on 16 December 2015:

Official Report of Stage 1 Debate on Land Reform (Scotland) Bill