Response 476526325

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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.
No, I think it reasonable.

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:
Accelerate the registration of all land (i.e. both public and private) in the Land Register of Scotland.
Action Two:
Provide public funding as needed to achieve the above.
Action Three:
Where the land registration process reveals the existence of common land or commonties illegally enclosed or appropriated, take steps to recover the property and return it to the community from whom it was taken. Where subsequent 'owners' have acquired the land in good faith, compensation should be payable out of the land fund.

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

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

Advantages:
A statutory body to advise government on Land reform issues will ensure that land reform remains on the political radar.
Disadvantages:
There is a risk that inappropriate constitution of the Land Reform Commission could prevent necessary reforms or make reforms that are not in the wider public interest.

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

Enter comments here.
Its remit should include a requirement to consider reforms that would improve the efficiency and enhance economic and social returns from all forms of land use. It should not be too large but should endeavour to incorporate representatives of all legitimately interested parties.

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
Yes
Ticked 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:
The advantages are stated in the consultation document.
Disadvantages:
It will still be possible for the true beneficial owners to conceal their identity within the permissible categories of ownership, e.g. shares in a UK/Scottish registered company can be held by nominees or residents of a jurisdiction in which Scottish law is unenforceable.

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

Enter comments here
I don't believe this is a realistic option which can be enforced.

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:
Knowledge is power!
Disadvantages:
Don't know
Recommendations for achieving better co-ordination of information on land
The Land Register of Scotland should hold the data and the public should have a statutory right of access to all information held in the Land Register of Scotland.

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?
The power of private owners to block development that is contrary to their interest but beneficial to the public would be done away with.

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?
Current Compulsory Purchase powers can achieve the same end and a hint that they might be used would persuade most reluctant/obstructive owners to change their minds. These powers are not used very often so I doubt new powers would be used. I think this would be a dead letter.

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?
Much public land is under used and empowering the public bodies to use it more flexibly would be beneficial.

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?
No

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:
This proposal would be desirable where the main purpose of the charity is to manage land, either for conservation (of wildlife or historic resources) or for economic purposes such as a charity set up to own and manage crofting land, small-holdings or allotments.
Disadvantages:
It would restrict the ability of charitable trustees to manage their land in the most effective way. It should only be imposed on those charities whose main purpose of the charity is to manage land.

22. How should “community” be defined?

How should “community” be defined?
Good question - I don't know the answer!

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?
The trustees should be taken to court and legal aid should be available to any person or group of persons with locus standii (i.e. a legitimate interest) in the matter.

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 proposal would be more equitable. Imposition of business rates would put pressure on sporting estates to manage their resources more efficiently and generate more economic activity. I believe it is possible to manage the wildlife resources of most sporting estates as a profit making enterprise and this would have long term benefits as it would enhance returns and encourage owners to market their product properly.

26. What do you think the disadvantages would be?

What do you think the disadvantages would be?
The owners will moan like hell! In a limited number of instances important resources (e.g. certain rare habitats) for conservation might be threatened but these could be dealt with by using rate rebates which should be permissable to protect such resources.

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?
Too many common good assets have been disposed of without court approval. It should be an offence for any public body to dispose of common good property without court approval and all members of that body should be liable. A specialist court to deal with common good matters might need to be established.

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

Do you have any other comments on this issue?
Don't know.

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

What might any new legal definition of common good look like?
Where possible, common good assets wrongfully sold or transferred should be retrieved.

Agricultural Holdings

33. What do you think the advantages would be?

What do you think the advantages would be?
Don't know

34. What do you think the disadvantages would be?

What do you think the disadvantages would be?
Don't know

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. SNH already have powers to enter land where deer are not being well managed and are harming neighbours. They are almost never used and SNH should use the powers they already have before they ask for more.j

37. What do you think the disadvantages would be?

What do you think the disadvantages would be?
This represents a further layer of bureaucracy and regulation in an area where it is not needed. The public interest lies in ensuring that we have a sustainable deer herd which generates economic benefits rather than costs and is managed in as humane a manner as practical. We presently have an over - population of deer which needs to be reduced by increasing the off-take and liberalising some current constraints. A major change of attitude away from looking at deer as a 'resource for sporting gentlemen' and towards looking at deer objectively as a resource that needs managing in the most economically efficient way is required. Restrictions on night-shooting and minimum permissible velocity of rifle bullets need to be relaxed.

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
Ticked Yes
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
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.
I don't think the Equality Act of 2010 is particularly relevant here. Support with public resources (funding and expertise) will be needed to ensure that poorer people and those subjected to historical disadvantage are able to benefit.

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?
Don't know
How can we make sure that all individuals and communities can access the benefits of these proposals?
Support with public resources (funding and expertise) will be needed to ensure that poorer people and those subjected to historical disadvantage are able to benefit.

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.
The proposal to increase powers over the management of deer will lead to increased costs for landowners when what is needed is reduced regulation to lower costs and encourage higher off-take. For example, a liberalised night-shooting regime would make hind-culling profitable in many areas and then estates and other land-owners would have a much stronger incentive to cull hinds which would lead to reduced deer numbers. We do it in southern Africa and it could be done in Scotland too. The problem is a combination of attitude and inappropriate legislation (which is informed by the attitude!)

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.
I can't think of any.

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.
A rethink of the proposals on deer could lead to higher off-take rates and lowered populations which would be good for the environment.