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Concern raised over Scotland's proposed land register

Thursday 08 November 2018

Much of Scotland’s land will remain outside the proposed Register of Controlled Interests in Land, according to a draft report by the Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform Committee.

The report, which was published today, considers recent Government land reform proposals and has provided further detail on how they could be implemented.

The purpose of the new regulations is to make the land ownership system more accessible, and increase public transparency in relation to individuals who have control over decision-making when it comes to land. But Member's of the Scottish Parliament (MSPs) have found there could be gaps or loopholes in the new Register.

The proposals currently rely on multiple registers and exclude information that is in the public domain, therefore the Committee is urging the Scottish Government to reconsider its approach. If the Register is to meet the aspirations of a transparent and accessible system, all of the information should be accessible in a simple and straightforward way and the Committee is looking for assurance that all the information will be accessed via a single point and free to use.

The Land Reform Act 2016 gave the Scottish Government the legislative power to create a register and the draft regulations, which MSPs have been scrutinising, but concerns have been expressed that the Bill does not go far enough to deliver on the ambitions and intentions of the review and consultation which informed the Bill in the first place.

Convener of the Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform Committee, Gillian Martin MSP said: “The Committee was very clear in its conclusions. There should be transparency over who owns Scotland’s land, who takes decisions over its management and who benefits from its ownership.

“However, in looking at the proposed Register there are a number of areas of concern. We need to ensure the information on those who have control over land is transparent, easy to use and the information is available in one place. We are therefore calling on the Scottish Government to address these issues when they finalise the detail of their proposals.”