Response 1023869961

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Land Rights in 21st Century Scotland

1. Do you agree that the Scottish Government should have a stated Land Rights and Responsibilities Policy?

Please select one item
Ticked Yes
No

2. Do you have any comments on the draft Land Rights and Responsibilities Policy?

Enter comments here.
It looks good. Everybody should have the right, and when I say right I mean ability, to own their own land. I also agree that the large estates should be broken up, or at the very least required to make land available to interested parties. I am trying to start a croft but there is little choice available as most of the land in the Highland is simply unavailable and unused.

3. Considering your long term aspirations for land reform in Scotland, what are the top three actions that you think the Scottish Government should take?

Action One:
Crofting. This should not just be a Highland thing, it should be country-wide. The way we produce food is completely unsustainable and I think that we need to go back to small-scale localised production. There should be more leeway given to crofts, including relaxed planning permission. I agree with the financial setup currently in place - tenants/owners should be tied into running the farm if they want the money.
Action Two:
Caravans and temporary structures: I am 21, have worked a minimum of 50 hours a week, every week since I was 14. I've got a decent job and I'm by no means living in poverty. I've managed to save back around £20k which I hope to spend on a croft or plot of land in the near future. However, I can't afford to build a conventional house. I want to build and live in a high-spec wooden cabin and work the land, which, if within certain sizes, is classed as a caravan due to its mobility. In investigating this, I have found a serious issue with planning law in Scotland - it is almost impossible to get permission to live in a caravan unless on a caravan park. For the thousands of people who are on low incomes, struggling to make ends meet, and forced to rent privately due to the lack of social housing or get a mortgage, relaxation of the regulation of caravan law could prove really useful. If I cannot do this, I will be in debt for the next 30 years at least. If I am allowed to do it, it will be more like 5 years. I strongly believe that landowners should be allowed to live in whatever structure they want to. We should take a leaf from the books of other countries, and be more reasonable when it comes to planning permission.
Action Three:
Tighten the amount of 'interpretative powers' given to local councils. In my search for a plot, I have been in contact with 4 local authorities, all of whom interpret the law on caravans, for example, completely differently, depending on what they want it to be. Councils should have to stick firmly to less vague rules and regulations. At the moment, everything is very vague and inaccessible.

A Scottish Land Reform Commission

4. Do you agree that a Scottish Land Reform Commission would help ensure Scotland continues to make progress on land reform and has the ability to respond to emergent issues?

Please select one item
Ticked Yes
No

6. Do you have any thoughts on the structure, type or remit of any Scottish Land Reform Commission?

Enter comments here.
There should be members/representatives for every local area in Scotland, as well as dialogue with charities and groups such as Shelter, community groups etc.

Limiting the legal entities that can own land in Scotland

7. Do you agree that restricting the type of legal entities that can, in future, take ownership or a long lease over land in Scotland would help improve the transparency and accountability of land ownership in Scotland?

Please select one item
Ticked Yes
No

8. Do you agree that in future land should only be owned (or a long lease taken over land) by individuals or by a legal entity formed in accordance with the law of a Member State of the EU?

Please select one item
Ticked Yes
No

9. What do you think the advantages or disadvantages of such a restriction would be?

Advantages:
Lots of large swathes of land made available for public use
Disadvantages:
This could, if misinterpreted, make it difficult for immigrants to buy houses or land in Scotland, which could pose a serious issue.

10. How should any restriction operate and be enforced, and what consequences might follow if the restriction is breached?

Enter comments here
This should tie into the land ownership records - when a piece of land is bought, mandatory registration should be a part of the process, perhaps even online. However, identification should be required and the sale of land should not be completed until the land ownership record has been updated.

Information on land, its value and ownership

11. Do you agree that better co-ordination of information on land, its value and ownership would lead to better decision making for both the private and public sectors?

Please select one item
Ticked Yes
No

12. Do you hold data you could share or is there any data you would wish to access?

Do you hold data you could share or is there any data you would wish to access?
There should be (I think you're working on it) an interactive map with a zoom function that shows the entirity of Scotland broken down into individual plots/estates/houses/flats. For flats etc, this may require a secondary system to break it up further. The information should be readily available to the public through a standard web browser, and if not free, reasonably priced (I think the map should be free, but maybe getting names etc should have a cost). Landowners or those with information on unmapped land should be able to submit data for verification, and be paid a nominal fee (£5 per plot or something) for correct information on ownership, plot borders etc. This map should detail, where possible, pieces of land who do not have an owner (whether the current system stands or it is changed to make this land affordable and avauilable to people in council accomodation only or something is another matter), residential land, agricultural land, unused land, land that could be eligible for grant schemes (crofting, etc), protected land (national parks, AONBs etc).

13. What do you think the advantages of disadvantages of wider and more flexible sharing of land information would be and do you have any recommendations about how this can best be achieved?

Advantages:
Acessibility for first-time buyers - being able to go online and find out who owns the bit of land you drove past, possibly get their address and phone number from it. This could, to an extent, cut out the estate agent, the marketing of land, and obliterate the housing market in Scotland, bringing prices back down to a reasonable level. It will give peopel the freedom to search specifically for ownerless land in Scotland, which should of course be the first priority, derelict listed buildings, areas where there is a drive for re-population etc.
Disadvantages:
Loss of privacy for land owners (maybe) The same abilities given to first-time buyers will also be available to large companies etc.

Sustainable development test for land governance

14. Do you agree that there should be powers given to Scottish Ministers or another public body to direct private landowners to take action to overcome barriers to sustainable development in an area?

Please select one item
Ticked Yes
No

15. What do you think the benefits would be and do you have any recommendations about how these can best be achieved?

What do you think the benefits would be and do you have any recommendations about how these can best be achieved?
As mentioned in an earlier section, there is a real gap when it comes to anything even remotely 'out-of-the-box'. People are increasingly looking to live more simple lives, be that in a wooden cabin, a straw-bale house, or even a yurt, and work the land. This is not a Scottish phenomenon, it is happening around the world. We should get ahead of the curve and legislate and promote eco-building and sustainable lifestyles, as they are extremely difficult to do within the exisiting planning framework.

A more proactive role for public sector land management

17. Do you agree that public sector bodies, such as Forestry Commission Scotland, should be able to engage in a wider range of management activities in order to promote a more integrated range of social, economic and environmental outcomes?

Please select one item
Ticked Yes
No

18. What do you think the benefits would be and do you have any recommendations about how this can best be achieved?

What do you think the benefits would be and do you have any recommendations about how this can best be achieved?
Woodland crofting was brought in a while back, but doesn't seem to have taken off. This should be a reality, but because of the complexity - having to show a need, setting up a charitable trust etc, people don;t bother. It should be promoted, and the (more-or-less) ban on building and living in woodland should be lifted. Woodland is an asset, and should not be destroyed by the building of houses, but if clearings can be made and the acreage removed replaced elsewhere, there is no problem with this. Wood is a source of fuel, a windbreak, and a great place to live.

Duty of community engagement on land management decisions to be placed on charitable trustees

20. Do you think a trustee of a charity should be required to engage with the local community before taking a decision on the management, use or transfer of land under the charity’s control?

Please select one item
Yes
Ticked No

21. What do you think the advantages or disadvantages would be?

Advantages:
Clarity and transparency
Disadvantages:
Added layers of complexity which i really don;t think are required. Unless this question is about common good land, which I don;t think it is.

22. How should “community” be defined?

How should “community” be defined?
The area between the 'welcome to' and 'thanks for visiting' signs on the roads, or a 2 mile radius in rural areas.

Removal of the exemption to business rates for shooting and deerstalking

24. Should the current business rate exemptions for shootings and deer forests be ended?

Please select one item
Ticked Yes
No

25. What do you think the advantages would be?

What do you think the advantages would be?
The estates will be forced to act like any other business and make available land that it cannot afford to keep running. This will end the stranglehold that the large estate holders have on the Scottish housing market.

26. What do you think the disadvantages would be?

What do you think the disadvantages would be?
Possible loss of tourism revenue, however I think it is unlikely as the estates are nto going to vanish overnight, they will streamline and adapt.

Common Good

27. Do you agree that the need for court approval for disposals or changes of use of common good property, where this currently exists, should be removed?

Please select one item
Yes
Ticked No

28. If removed, what should take the place of court approval?

If removed, what should take the place of court approval?
They should not be removed, as there have been numerous issues of cash-strapped local authorities trying to sell of common good land without the permission of the community. There is currently such a fiasco going on about 200m from my front door - Moray Council are trying to sell of the football fields to Redco Milne at a really low price as they see it as a burden.

29. Should there be a new legal definition of common good?

Please select one item
Yes
Ticked No

31. Do you have any other comments on common good?

What might any new legal definition of common good look like?
This is important and is something that should be protected, not thrown away. it should be promoted, and community groups should recieve grants for taking ownership of land (dependant on use)

Agricultural Holdings

32. Do you agree that the Scottish Government should take forward some of the recommendations of the Agricultural Holdings Legislation Review Group within the Land Reform Bill?

Please select one item
Ticked Yes
No

33. What do you think the advantages would be?

What do you think the advantages would be?
Getting people back on the land, being a more productive country, allowing exisiting farmers to work more freely with less strangleholds.

Wild Deer

35. Do you agree that further deer management regulation measures should be introduced to be available in the event that the present arrangements are assessed as not protecting the public interest?

Please select one item
Yes
Ticked No

37. What do you think the disadvantages would be?

What do you think the disadvantages would be?
They're wild animals, leave them to it.

Clarifying Public Access: core paths planning process

39. Do you agree that section 20 of the 2003 Act should be clarified so that Ministerial direction is not required when an access authority initiates a core path plan review?

Please select one item
Ticked Yes
No

40. Do you think that the process for a minor amendment to core path plan (as set out in section 20 of the 2003 Act) should be simplified to make it less onerous than that for a full review of a core path plan?

Please select one item
Ticked Yes
No

Assessing Impact

41. Please tell us about any potential impacts, either positive or negative, you feel the draft Land Rights and Responsibilities Policy or any of the proposals for the Bill may have on particular groups of people, with reference to the “protected characteristics” listed above. Please be as specific as possible.

Please tell us about any potential impacts, either positive or negative, you feel the draft land policy or any of the proposals for the Bill may have on particular groups of people, with reference to the “protected characteristics” listed above. Please be as specific as possible.
If this goes through and is actioned properly, without loads of absurd clauses and terms, this will help to restore the balance of power between the 'little people' and the large estate owners. It will empower those who may have gone their entire life thinking that owning their own home or farm was beyond them to take the first step. It will rpomote community initiatives, can be used as a tool to provide free growing space for people in more built-up areas. It will hopefully give more power to younger people who are currently severely disadvantaged in the housing market due to the rise in house prices and the limited work opportunities outside of the cities.

42. What differences might there be in the impact of the Bill on individuals and communities with different levels of advantage or deprivation?

What differences might there be in the impact of the Bill on individuals and communities with different levels of advantage or deprivation?
This should help to balance power slightly between the rich and the poor.

43. Please tell us about any potential costs or savings that may occur as a result of the proposals for the Bill, and any increase or reduction in the burden of regulation for any sector. Please be as specific as possible.

Please tell us about any potential costs or savings that may occur as a result of the proposals for the Bill, and any increase or reduction in the burden of regulation for any sector. Please be as specific as possible.
Regulation, particularly when it comes to planning permission for residences and farms, should be relaxed greatly and should promote green living, log cabins etc. This will save councils money as they will have less regulations to tick off for every application, and save individuals money as they may not have to build a house from stone or concrete, and save the environment. There will be cost if the interactive map is introduced, but I'm sure you know that.

44. Please tell us about any potential impacts upon the privacy of individuals that may arise as a result of any of the proposals contained in this consultation. Please be as specific as possible.

Please tell us about any potential impacts upon the privacy of individuals that may arise as a result of any of the proposals contained in this consultation. Please be as specific as possible.
The interactive map. But most of the information is available from the register already, no real change. And if people don;t want you to know they own a piece of land, it's most likely important that everybody does know.

45. Please tell us about any potential impacts, either positive or negative, you feel any of the proposals contained in this consultation may have on the environment. Please be as specific as possible.

Please tell us about any potential impacts, either positive or negative, you feel any of the proposals contained in this consultation may have on the environment.
caravans and eco living are the way forward. If promoted, this can make a real difference. Small turbines, solar panels etc should be exempt from planning permission too, which will save a lot of money in planning applications.