Response 232986986

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Andrew John Rattray
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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.
Do not confuse a political hatred of landowning (essentially, the socialist/communist belief that the private ownership of land is an evil that must be eradicated) with good land management. Private landowners have a long history of excellent land management (and indeed there is much evidence that state-owned land has, historically, been badly managed - e.g. forestry commission plantations). Be wary of removing the incentives for private landowners to look after their land.

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:
1. Encourage the private ownership of land, rather than state ownership or state intervention via "community right to buy" schemes.
Action Two:
2. Be honest and explain to the Scottish people the benefits of private land ownership in Scotland, rather than endlessly portraying landowners as nasty/rapacious,
Action Three:
3. Do not use people's property as political football - successful societies are those that recognise and support the private ownership of property.

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
Yes
Ticked No

5. What do you think the advantages or disadvantages of having a Scottish Land Reform Commission would be?

Advantages:
Unlikely to have any benefits (see below).
Disadvantages:
It would become a front for promoting political gain rather than representing genuine private landownership benefits.

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

Enter comments here.
Abandon it.

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
Yes
Ticked No

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

Advantages:
None, other than being able to contact the owner of the land although that can already be achieved via the Land Registry.
Disadvantages:
Good landowners can come from outside the EU - to discriminate against non-EU landowners prevents economic opportunities in the highlands, an area that needs as much outside investments as it can get.

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

Enter comments here
No restrictions.

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?
No.

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:
There are limited advantages - much can already be addressed through the land register and other agencies (i.e single farm payment details, forestry grants).
Disadvantages:
Intrusive for the owners of property - people should be entitled to quiet enjoyment of their properties. The data could be used for political purposes. The data could be abused for security reasons.
Recommendations for achieving better co-ordination of information on land
Leave existing arrangements in place.

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
Yes
Ticked 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?
None.

16. Do you have any concerns or alternative ways to achieve the same aim?

Do you have any concerns or alternative ways to achieve the same aim?
This will inevitably be used to forcibly remove people's property from them. And it will be used for political gain. Landowners must have the right to say "no" to things like wind-turbines, fish farms and housing developments on their land. It is, after all, their land and it is a basic tenet of a civilised society that property rights should be protected.

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
Yes
Ticked 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?
None.

19. Do you have any concerns or alternative ways to achieve the same aim?

Do you have any concerns or alternative ways to achieve the same aim?
Their is no evidence to suggest that state involvement in land management will lead to any such improvements - in fact, the evidence to date (especially the forestry commission) is quite the opposite. It is only because of the private ownership of land that it remains remarkably unmolested.

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:
None.
Disadvantages:
The Trustees would not be able to carry out their responsibilities in accordance with the terms of their trusts/charities.

22. How should “community” be defined?

How should “community” be defined?
It is already widely open to abuse, depending on who is trying to win whose vote.

23. What remedies should be available should a trustee of a charity fail to engage appropriately with the local community?

What remedies should be available should a trustee of a charity fail to engage appropriately with the local community?
None.

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
Yes
Ticked No

25. What do you think the advantages would be?

What do you think the advantages would be?
Some tax revenue.

26. What do you think the disadvantages would be?

What do you think the disadvantages would be?
Costs would go up, leading to redundancies for stalkers/keepers - and also potentially making Scotland a less attractive place for visiting sportsmen and women to come and spend their money. It would be used for political advantage - rates will be raised to unsustainable levels on purpose, to force landowners to sell their property (to the state).

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?
n/a

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

Please select one item
Yes
Ticked No

30. What might any new legal definition of common good look like?

Do you have any other comments on this issue?
Avoid the temptation to ensnare privately owned land in a "Common Good " definition. This becomes state ownership by the back door.

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

What might any new legal definition of common good look like?
Any "Common Good" application should not be a front for engineering state ownership of privately owned land (and a community right-to-buy, if it has been imposed on a private landowner, is state ownership).

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
Yes
Ticked No

33. What do you think the advantages would be?

What do you think the advantages would be?
None - the uncertainty and creeping forced removal of land via actual or threatened tenant reforms, have led, inevitably, to a drying-up of land being made available for rent.

34. What do you think the disadvantages would be?

What do you think the disadvantages would be?
Talk - let alone legislation - about landowner/tenant reform (implying forcibly giving longer term possession of land to tenants that was originally agreed/intended or outright purchase) has been a spectacular own-goal by both Government and Scottish tenant farmers' spokesmen. Why would any landowner rent anything to a farmer if lurking in the background was the possibility that their land could be forcibly removed from them?

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

36. What do you think the advantages would be?

What do you think the advantages would be?
None.

37. What do you think the disadvantages would be?

What do you think the disadvantages would be?
Additional layers of bureaucracy and no benefit to estates or deer.

Clarifying Public Access: core paths planning process

38. At present, section 18 of the 2003 Act is silent on the issue of resolving objections to a core path plan consultation. Do you agree that access authorities should be required, in the interests of transparency, to conduct a further limited consultation about proposed changes arising from objections?

Please select one item
Yes
Ticked No

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
Yes
Ticked 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.
Good intentions will be lost under a wave of anti-landowner sentiment, fueled by current Government policy/approach. There seems to a political ambition to present the private ownership of property as a "bad thing" in Scotland. This is patently untrue and undermines the importance, as experienced in advanced societies, of protecting and encouraging the private ownership of property. The ability to own private property, without onerous state intervention, ensures prosperity and opportunity for all of society.

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?
See 41 above. The current proposals look very much as if they are targeted at a small segment of society, for purely political gain. This seems like oppressive bullying of a group of people who cannot protect themselves. This does not paint Scotland, or the Scottish government in a good light - indeed, observers will wonder what other assets/segments of society might be targeted next - and whether Scotland is heading for a North Korean/ Russian style communist backwater.
How can we make sure that all individuals and communities can access the benefits of these proposals?
It is unclear what the benefits will be.

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.
There are unlikely to be any costs or savings.

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 forced removal of property rights, or the ability of others to interfere in an individual's property, breaches the fundamental right, in a civilised society, to the quiet possession of one's property. Equally, given that the vast majority of society has ambitions, through hard work or good fortune, to own property and thereby strengthen the rest of society along the way, why would any government seek to undermine the attractions of private ownership of property?

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.
The proposals will lead to increasing numbers of wind farms, fish farms and poor quality housing - all having a negative impact on the environment.