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Scot Gov to assess plans for increased community ownership

A document detailing controversial plans to increase the amount of land in community ownership has been published.
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The farming industry has raised its concerns about the proposals
The farming industry has raised its concerns about the proposals

The report by the one million acre short life working group recommends a number of proposals to deliver the 404,858-hectare (1m acre) target by 2020.

 

But the farming industry has raised concerns about what community ownership could mean for their businesses, including to what extent land can be taken from their control.

 

The legislative changes will have implications for all farmers – owner occupiers, tenants and estates – and could affect farm businesses regardless of whether they farm one acre or 1,000 acres, NFU Scotland said.

 

NFUS chief executive Scott Walker said the lack of detail around the proposals meant farmers were ‘understandably’ worried.

 

The report identified 194,000 hectares (480,000 acres) of land already in community ownership, which has recently been increased to more than 202,000ha (500,000 acre) by the acquisition of land by The Pairc Trust since the report was finalised.


Minister for Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform Aileen McLeod said: “This ambitious target has the potential to transform the fortunes of communities across the country.”

 

The Minister said she would consider the recommendations in the report alongside the Scottish Government’s current land reform legislation, ‘to help ensure we empower communities with practical powers as well as support sustainability’.

 

According to the report, the benefits of community ownership, include:

  • Stimulate demand for community-owned land through raising awareness
  • Build capacity of communities to take land ownership projects forward
  • Improve access to support services and develop a network of support providers
  • Address issues around the availability of land and barriers to the supply of land
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