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Union Builds Workplan Around Land Reform Bill

MSPs invited to visit Scottish farms during recess

NFU Scotland will use the next 90 days to engage with its members and MSPs on the Land Reform (Scotland) Bill published today (23 June).

The landmark Bill contains wide-ranging land reform proposals.  A significant element of the proposed Bill incorporates many of the recommendations generated by the review of Agricultural Holdings legislation, published in January 2015.

The publication of the Bill comes ahead of the Scottish Parliament’s summer recess (27 June to 30 August).  On return, the Bill will move to its first stage and evidence sessions will commence.

NFU Scotland will use the intervening days to engage with members, holding 10 regional meetings during July and August.  The Union’s Legal and Technical Committee and its Tenants’ Working Group will also meet during this time.  In addition, the Union will meet with a number of its large land-owning members in August and a meeting with its New Generation group will be arranged. Union staff are already condensing the draft Bill into discussion papers to inform the debate.

The Union met in private with Scottish Land Reform Minister Aileen McLeod at the recent Highland Show and will take up the offer to meet with her in the next few weeks to discuss key aspects of the Bill.

The Union also wants to use the summer recess to engage with all MSPs on the issue of land reform.  An invite will be extended to visit a farm or an agricultural show during the summer where land reform proposals and Scottish farming in general can be discussed.

NFU Scotland’s President Allan Bowie said:
“A successful Land Reform Bill will see more investment into rural Scotland, greater transparency around those who own and manage our land and more accountability – whether a landowner, manager or tenant.

“At the centre of any debate on land reform must be recognition that farming – on many different scales - is the primary land use over much of Scotland, underpinning the rural economy, the landscape and the social infrastructure.

“If we are to drive forward our food and drink industries, then land reform and changes to our tenanted sector must have a positive impact on our ability to produce food and drink from the land and enhance the positive contribution already being made. Good land managers – and there are many of them around Scotland - should have nothing to fear from any legislative changes.

“In the past 18 months, we have met many, many members on the subject of agricultural tenancies and wider land reform issues and our clear programme of work this summer builds on that.

“In the coming 90 days we will meet with members to discuss the proposals so that come August we are in a place to propose any necessary changes when the Bill receives its first reading.

“Our members have been most keenly engaged on matters around agricultural tenancies but the clear message to them is that wider land reform proposals will make a difference and that changes to land reform will now be considered on a rolling five-year basis.  The time for them to engage is at the very start of that process.

“We also want our MSPs to have a full appreciation of what is on the table.  We want to make full use of the summer recess and invite our politicians to visit a farm or a local show during the summer where land reform alongside other food and farming topics can be discussed.”

Notes to Editors


Ends

Contact Bob Carruth on 0131 472 4006
 

Date Published:

News Article No.: 120/15


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