Response 625815099

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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.
I agree with the draft

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:
Annual land and property taxation should introduced and raised in preference to income-based taxation. Income taxes reduce the incentive for work and enterprise. If land became more affordable as a result of the taxation, that would reduce the barrier to entry for expansion of current businesses and new starts.
Action Two:
Agricultural subsidies should be reformed. Instead of subsidies being paid to landowners simply because they own land, subsidies should only be paid for public benefits, such as wildlife and environmental enhancement schemes, public access improvements, etc. There are some situations where subsidies are justified, such as upland hill units. But much of the current subsidies are paid to landowners irrespective of their agricultural activities. The payment of (unearned) welfare benefits to some of Scotland's richest people is truly unjust and perverse.
Action Three:
End inheritance tax exemptions for land and property assets above a certain threshold. Agricultural land already escapes liability for business rates, so why should it also benefit from exemption from IHT? The current situation encourages wealthy individuals to buy land to evade IHT. This drives prices well beyond that which is justified by agricultural returns, thus increasing the barriers to entry for start-ups or existing commercial farmers to expand. Smaller farmers could be protected by using a progressive threshold approach.

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:
Assuming the Commission is made up of individuals who will reflect Scotland's progressive ideals then I believe it would be of benefit.
Disadvantages:
The Commission might be made up of figures who reflect the current landed and establishment interests and would therefore present a drag to much needed and substantial change.

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

Enter comments here.
The remit should be to suggest changes which will effect a fairer and more enterprising land economy for Scotland. This could also include a remit to suggest changes to Scottish planning law, which is currently in dire need of fresh thinking. Councils operate the current planning system in a high handed manner, restricting and slowing innovation and enterprise. There are no restraints on Council's poor performance and no redress for applicants. Councils act as judge and jury without outside oversight. The situation would not be acceptable in any other walk of life. It has to change if Scotland is to encourage enterprise and a Scottish Land reform Commission may be able to assist.

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:
Transparency
Disadvantages:
None

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

Enter comments here
If the restriction is breached, the title to the land is invalid. The land would be subject to fall to the Scottish Government in trust for the community.

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?
It would assist numerous public uses if land ownership was transparent and open.

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?
The Scottish Government should legislate against private land owners creating 'ransom' areas, preventing local and national developments by standing in the way of utility companies. Many of the recent renewable energy developments were hindered by the ability of private landowner to extract ransoms from the developers for access to utility connections. This diverts useful capital to rentier landowners. The utilities do not currently have all the powers needed to stamp out this profiteering.

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?
Whilst public sector bodies can be a force for good, they can also be extremely bureaucratic and reactionary to change. Redacted text has prevented many useful wind energy projects and their perverse advice has often meant that good projects are badly restricted. As an example, they appear to be obsessed with turbine tip height, without considering rotation speed. As a result, small inefficient turbines have proliferated, with rapid turbine rotation (which is extremely distracting) rather than larger, more efficient turbines with slower, more graceful rotations. As small turbines need to be more heavily subsidised, Scotland will be paying the price for this incompetence for many years. In addition, some of the Redacted textare vey badly managed. Their stewardship of Redacted text is an example.

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?
Public sector bodies have a poor record of innovation and entrepreneurial risk taking.I think they should be tasked with facilitating private innovation, business and enterprises on their holdings.

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
Ticked Yes
No

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

Advantages:
Community involvement
Disadvantages:
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
Ticked Yes
No

25. What do you think the advantages would be?

What do you think the advantages would be?
Its a good start to removing the exemption for agricultural estates.

26. What do you think the disadvantages would be?

What do you think the disadvantages would be?
None. But why just shooting estates? Why are agricultural estates exempt?

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

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

Please select one item
Ticked Yes
No

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

What might any new legal definition of common good look like?
Councils already act without proper oversight. If the jurisdiction of the court is removed, this would be another step in the wrong direction.

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

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
Ticked Yes
No

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