Land Reform And Community Engagement Update

Land reform and community engagement have been key policies for the Scottish Parliament since its inception, with significant early reform being introduced by the Land Reform (Scotland) Act 2003. The most recent incarnations of these policies, the Land Reform (Scotland) Act 2016 and the Community Empowerment (Scotland) Act 2015 have continued the land reform agenda regarding land ownership and further empowerment of communities. These include proposals for regulations to create a Register of Controlling Interests in Land, and extending the community right to buy to include a right to purchase abandoned, neglected or detrimental land.

Register of Controlling Interest in Land

There is to be a public register of persons who have controlling interests in ownership or tenants of land. The Register, intended to improve transparency in ownership, and provide individuals and community groups with a better understanding of who makes decisions about the land, was introduced by the 2016 Act, but the detail of who will be affected, and what information must appear in the Register is to be set out in Regulations. These are now expected to be put before Parliament in Spring 2018.

Community right to buy abandoned, neglected or detrimental land

The existing right to buy, introduced under the 2003 Act, and extended to the whole of Scotland by the 2015 Act allows communities to register an interest in land giving them the opportunity to purchase that land if it comes up for sale within five years of registration. Both the 2015 Act and the 2016 Act introduce new community rights to buy: for acquiring abandoned, neglected...

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