Land Reform Minister Aileen McLeod will today move 49 amendments to the Scottish Government's Land Reform (Scotland) Bill, as the bill begins its detailed scrutiny at stage 2.

Many of the amendments come in response to suggestions from Holyrood's Rural Affairs, Environment & Climate Change Committee, which reported on the bill at stage 1, and other interested parties.

Amendments to be put to the committee include:

  • strengthening the Government's land rights and responsibilities statement to make clear its purpose is to set out overarching principles on land rights and responsibilities in Scotland, and the Government's commitment to public engagement;
  • strengthening how the bill expresses the Government’s commitment to human rights in the context of land reform;
  • recognising the importance of experience in land management and community empowerment when appointing members of the Land Commission;
  • further expressing the Government’s commitment to the Gaelic language in the new Land Commission.

Last week it was announded that amendments will be moved at stage 3 to make provision for the creation of a public register of persons who have control of land in Scotland, to increase transparency of landownership. However ministers have resisted calls to impose restrictions on ownership of land, in particular by those seeking to avoid liabiilty to tax.

Ministers are under a tight timetable to secure the passage of the bill before the end of the parliamentary session in March.

Dr McLeod commented: “As I have said before, I am open to ideas and suggestions relating to Scotland’s land reform journey and will continue to listen to all the evidence and will consider any further suggestions. I will also continue to work with all those with an interest to ensure that our land benefits the people of Scotland for generations to come.”