Farming Has its Say on Land Reform Proposals

NFU Scotland has welcomed the opportunity to ensure farming interests are better represented before decisions are taken on wide-ranging land reform recommendations.

Following publication of the Land Reform Review Group’s (LLRG) final report last week, Union President Nigel Miller gave evidence to the Rural Affairs, Climate Change & Environment committee (RACCE) today, as MSPs considered the report’s recommendations.

A request from NFUS to meet with the LRRG ahead of its final report being published wasn’t taken up.  As a result, NFUS had concerns that farming interests did not have the desired level of input into the report.  Today’s evidence session started to address that.

NFUS believes that the solutions to some of the LLRG recommendations are based on collaborative and interactive working practices and that a Scottish Land Commission independent adjudicator could go some way to overseeing some of the areas of friction within the rural sector.

Speaking after the session, NFU Scotland President Nigel Miller said:
“We had concerns that farming interests did not have the desired level of consultation on this report.  Some of its recommendations, if taken up, will have trickle down impacts on farmers, whether they owner-occupiers or tenants – and some direct contact between LLRG and the Union before this stage might have been preferable.  

“Farms are integral to rural communities, should not be viewed in isolation and being able to provide written and verbal evidence to MSPs today on the LLRG report is most welcome.

“NFUS believes that the solutions to some of the recommendations are based on collaboration, particularly with regards to issues like increased community ownership.   We accept the benefits of wider community ownership but that needs to be in the public interest, properly funded and managed.  The report has suggested a whole plethora of measures to deliver community ownership that run all the way to compulsory purchase.

“Let’s try and simplify process.  Without resorting to compulsory purchase or focussing solely on ownership, a partnership approach to community projects is perfectly sensible and easier to progress and could deliver multiple land uses.

“There are other recommendations that relate to heritable property, removal of Agricultural Property Relief and land taxation - all have the potential to result in issues for family farming businesses.  

“Today’s session has only just started to scratch the surface on some of these complex areas and the committee commitment to start looking at workstreams and priorities will map out the way forward and how NFU Scotland can be involved in the debate.”   


Contact Bob Carruth on 0131 472 4006

Date Published:

News Article No.: 105/14

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