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Land Commission advocates public interest test to challenge monopoly ownership

February 4 2021

Land Commission advocates public interest test to challenge monopoly ownership

The Scottish Land Commission has proposed a trio of legislative measures designed to address the adverse impact of an over-concentration of land ownership.

A newly published discussion paper advocates a new requirement for a management plan to be put in place for any significant land holding as well as a review of land rights and responsibilities as well as the formation of a public interest test to ascertain whether large-scale acquisitions risk further consolidating ownership.

Together the measures seek to stimulate a more productive rural economy while acknowledging that large estates do carry economies of scale.

Hamish Trench, chief executive of the Scottish Land Commission, said: “History has given us a pattern of land ownership in which localised ‘monopoly’ power can and does exist. This creates risks that run counter to the needs of a modern, dynamic economy.

“These proposals are part of an ongoing programme of reform. They will not transform the patterns of land ownership on their own.

That will require wider reforms, for example on taxation, as well as non-statutory action, all of which the Land Commission is addressing in our current work."

The measures follow a 2019 report which concluded that a near-monopoly of land ownership was hindering economic development and a source of long-term harm to rural communities.

1 Comment

Billy the Biscuit
#1 Posted by Billy the Biscuit on 4 Feb 2021 at 13:44 PM
Scotland has a large concentration of land ownership because vast swathes of the country are 'wet desert lunarscapes' that are useless beyond grazing sheep or planting trees. If you only included useful land the ownership concentration probably isn't that high.

I don't see why they would want to develop all the useless land anyway as a lot of it is very scenic, people are so concerned about the environment these days, why would the want to pave over it?

Small scale rural crofting is a very inefficient form of farming requiring massive government subsidy, a lot of people who get crofts eventually de-croft them and sell them off as housing plots to retirees who have sold an expensive house in an urban area.

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