Amendments to the provisions of the Land Reform Bill dealing with agricultural holdings have been agreed by the Holyrood committee dealing with the bill at stage 2.

Rural Affairs Secretary Richard Lochhead moved the changes at yesterday's sitting of the Rural Affairs, Climate Change & Environment Committee in response to feedback from the committee and interest groups.

The amendments include:

  • a new process for tenants to sell or assign their tenancy, to create a secure route out of farming for tenants with no successor, described by the Cabinet Secretary as "targeted assignation", which also gives the landlord the option to acquire the tenancy;
  • extending the amnesty period from two to three years, giving tenants longer to register improvements they have carried out but for which they have no records, in order to be eligible for compensation at waygo;
  • adding a code on land agents to the list of Tenant Farming Commissioner’s codes.

Mr Lochhead said the amendments would "deliver a fairer balance of rights between those that own the land and those that work and depend on the land". He added: "I will continue to listen to any further suggestions and take action where needed across our wider package of land reform measures to deliver the most ambitious package of changes possible over the longer term.”