NFUS President calls for production focus to land reform debate

Management of land – rather than physical ownership – should be an important focus in the ongoing land reform debate according to NFU Scotland President Allan Bowie.
Mr Bowie was speaking at a conference on land reform, held by Holyrood magazine in the AK Bell Library, Perth today (26 May). 
The event was held ahead of the Scottish Government’s official response to its recent consultation on a Land Reform Bill.  The consultation closed in February and an announcement on the bill is expected in the coming weeks.
Mr Bowie said:
“At the core of any debate on land reform must be recognition that agriculture – on many different scales - is the primary land use over much of Scotland, underpinning the rural economy, the landscape and the social infrastructure. 
“That means management of land, rather than who physically owns the land, should be a key element of discussions on reform, particularly if we are to take forward our ambition to grow our food and drink sectors.  
“Good land managers – and there are many of them around Scotland - should have nothing to fear from any legislative changes.
“Sadly, the good work of the majority of land managers is regularly overshadowed by the attention paid to the bad example set by a minority.  In our response to the consultation on the proposed Bill, we believe an apolitical Land Reform commission linked into regional aspirations is fundamental to it being a positive. 
“Many land managers are already part of vibrant, local communities, and many of them work in partnership on established or new projects. We are happy to support community engagement where a partnership approach is likely to deliver greatest benefit.
“On land tenancy, there is considerable support within the Union to build on the recommendations from the Agricultural Holdings Legislation Review. This process is all about creating a more balanced and collaborative tenanted sector with new opportunities.  That vision must be carried forward to the legislative phase.”  
For more information contact Gemma Thomson on 0131 472 4018 or email: 

Date Published:

News Article No.: 96/15

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