RECLAIM SCOTLAND’S LAND FOR SCOTLAND’S PEOPLE
We will tackle the concentrated pattern of land ownership in Scotland and enhance the rights of people over the land around them. As well as bringing forward reforms that benefit all of Scotland’s people, we must recognise those groups in society whose voices are rarely heard. We will embrace the concept of restorative and reparative land justice, enabling marginalised communities to access the social and economic benefits of land.
- Bring forward a Land Reform Act to tackle monopolies, promote fairer management of land and regulate the sale of land.
- Commission a review of taxation and subsidies relating to land ownership.
- Regulate the sale of land of national or community significance.
- Require significant landholdings to produce a transparent land management plan and be subject to a public interest test.
- Introduce restrictions on overseas ownership of land.
- Give Scotland’s Land Rights and Responsibilities Statement a statutory footing, requiring large landowners - private, public and third sector - to act responsibly.
We will carry out a review of succession law to ensure the inheritance of landholdings does not contribute further to Scotland’s land problem. The Scottish Law Commission’s 2003 Report on the Law of the Foreshore and Seabed, designed to modernise public law rights, will be enacted, and we will call for a review of Ministry of Defence landholdings in Scotland and how that land is managed.
We will bring together the divergent land responsibilities across government by setting up a Land Directorate to assess and help meet demand for land to support housing development and local livelihoods. Land held by Scottish Ministers, public bodies, the Ministry of Defence, the Crown and large charities will be subject to a public interest test and greater public oversight.
Information about the ownership and use of Scotland’s land is often difficult to obtain. We will transform the land registers into a free and transparent national land information service, covering the ownership, use, and designations of land.
REFORM COMMUNITY LAND OWNERSHIP
The Scottish Greens believe that everyone should benefit from the land around them and have a say in how it is used. The need for this is clear. Fragile rural communities can be revitalised by new inhabitants and fairer land practices, but owners of large estates have the power to control the supply of rural housing, while urban communities still have too little support to have a say in how the land around them is used and managed. We will:
- Review take-up of existing Community Rights to Buy and the Community Asset Transfer scheme to ensure they are fit for purpose.
- Review the valuation of land so communities are not forced to pay market rates for land to already wealthy landowners.
- Increase support and reduce costs for communities wishing to take charge of land through existing community empowerment legislation.
- Increase the Scottish Land Fund.
UNLOCK ACCESS TO SCOTLAND’S LAND
During the pandemic, access to local and well-maintained outdoor spaces has become central to many people’s lives, yet there is a disparity between outdoor spaces in Scotland. Some are wildly popular and well serviced, while others are badly neglected.
In addition to our plans to restore Scotland’s landscape, we will do more to make outdoor recreation inexpensive, sustainable and accessible to all.
Reaching outdoor spaces by foot, wheelchair or bike should be made as hassle free as possible. We will establish a network of Slow Ways - walking paths between towns and cities - to open up Scotland for many more people, and extend statutory public access rights to the foreshore, inland water and seabed. We recognise that much more needs to be done to provide equal access to land, including supporting access for disabled and BAME people, and will ensure that all those involved in the management of recreational outdoor space consider how to make spaces accessible to all.
THE SCOTTISH GREENS WILL ALSO
Open up crofting for a new generation of rural Scots
- Reinvigorate crofting by introducing greater incentives, enabling local authorities to identify land for crofting, and encouraging the establishment of new crofting townships on estates or farms.
- Establish a community right to buy for the purpose of new croft holdings and crofting townships with common resources.
- Grant coastal crofting communities the authority to responsibly manage their inshore waters.
Restore the status of common lands
- Modernise and extend common good law, and ensure that common good funds are properly managed for the benefit of all.
- Reactivate common good law to allow local authorities to designate common land.
- Establish a national common good register based on local authority data.
Bring abandoned land back into use
- Reform the national register of vacant and derelict land to increase its usefulness.
- Ensure land that has been derelict for a long time is a top priority for development.
- Increase funding to local authorities to tackle vacant and derelict land.
- Ensure public bodies that own vacant or derelict land have plans to bring sites back into use, and put plans in place to prevent sites from falling into disuse.
- Introduce Compulsory Sale Orders so local authorities can bring chronically disused sites back into public use.
Address rural depopulation
- Bring forward a 21st century version of the Land Settlement Act 1919 to promote repopulation and resettlement in rural areas of Scotland.
- Place a duty on local authorities with a rural development remit to introduce measures to further sustainable rural repopulation.
Continue to improve the rights of tenant farmers
- Extend the powers and role of the tenant farming commissioner, including the power to impose penalties for breaches of the code of practice.
- Introduce a new rent test for agricultural holdings to ensure a fair rent is paid.
- Ensure tenant farmers are able to participate in tree planting and natural regeneration and receive fair benefit from such schemes.