Land Reform Bill a huge step forward for communities and nature

The Scottish Government’s Land Reform Bill, introduced to parliament today, represents a huge step forward for our communities and nature, says the Scottish Greens rural affairs spokesperson, Ariane Burgess MSP.

The Bill means that, for the first time, large landowners will be legally required to produce land management plans, and engage with local communities over how land is used, including on vital issues like outdoor access, restoring nature, and reducing the impacts of climate change.

Ms Burgess said: “This Bill is a huge step forward in Scotland's land reform journey. It is a significant shift towards making sure that landowners are using their land in ways that benefit our communities, our nature and our environment.

“At its heart, land reform is about addressing inequality. From our cities to our countryside and from our hills to our rivers and our iconic coastlines, huge swathes of our country are owned by a very small number of wealthy people.

“Scotland has benefited from a community right to buy for over 20 years, but one of the biggest barriers to community ownership is the huge size of many of Scotland's estates.

“That’s why it’s so important that this Bill includes powers to break up big estates that come up for sale into smaller plots. This will make community ownership a far more viable option for many communities.

“By diversifying how we use our land we can tackle the impacts of climate change and ensure we are restoring nature and biodiversity in Scotland.

“This Bill will create a new land tenancy, which will allow tenant farmers to incorporate a range of activities such as farming, forestry,  wetland restoration, and rewilding on land that they rent.

“This is a crucial step towards a future where land is much more diverse, not just in terms of who owns it but also how it is used. I’m proud that the Scottish Greens are playing such a central role in driving this forward.”