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Good Practice Protocol launched on transparency of land ownership in Scotland

9 April 2020

Good Practice Protocol Launched on Transparency of Land Ownership in Scotland

THE Scottish Land Commission has published its latest Good Practice Protocol that encourages land owners and managers to provide simple information to help improve people’s understanding of who owns land in Scotland and what it is used for.

The protocol on ‘Transparency of Ownership and Land Use Decision-Making’ is the second in the good practice series issued by the Commission to support the practical implementation of the Scottish Government’s land rights and responsibilities statement (LRRS).

The land rights and responsibilities statement is working to create a Scotland with a strong and dynamic relationship between its land and people and where all land contributes to a modern and successful country, but a lack of transparency about land ownership and land use decision-making still remains as a barrier to progress.

The protocol focuses particularly on Principle 5 of the statement: “There should be improved transparency of information about the ownership, use and management of land, and this should be publicly available, clear and contain relevant detail” and supports the upcoming Register of Persons Holding a Controlled Interest in Land.

The protocol asks that:

  • Up-to-date information about who owns land or buildings and the extent of the landholding should always be publicly available
  • If there are people or bodies with significant influence and control over land and buildings, information about who they are and the extent of their control should be made publicly available along with information about ownership
  • Contact information for the landowner or for someone with local decision-making authority over the land (such as a land manager or agent) should be available
  • Contact information for the relevant community council and/or community organisations in the area should be available.

Sally Reynolds, Scottish Land Commissioner, said: “Improved information about who controls land in Scotland will help to empower people, including community groups, and give them the opportunity to understand who is in control of land.

In the next few years, landowners and managers will be obliged to contribute to both the Land Register and a new Register of Persons Holding a Controlled Interest in Land.

It seems only right that information about the ownership, use and management of land should be available to those who could be impacted by the decisions made about that land.”

The protocol is most relevant for:

  • A Community Council representing the area within which the land and/or a related community sits
  • Owners of land – including individuals, companies, trusts, public bodies, non-governmental organisations, charities and community landowners – but excluding individual home owners
  • Land Managers (such as a tenant or agent)
  • Any other person with significant influence or control over land
  • A relevant constituted community organisation, having an openly elected membership, and representing the area within which the land and/or a related community sits

Download the Good Practice Protocol: Transparency of Ownership and Land Use Decision-Making

Further reading:

Contact: Posy Macrae at the Scottish Land Commission