Land Reform Minister Aileen McLeod will today move 49 amendments to "further strengthen" the Land Reform Bill, as it reaches the second committee stage of the bill process.
The SNP Government said that its amendments will ensure the bill is "the most radical and ambitious land reform legislation possible". Many amendments are in response to suggestions from the Parliament's Rural Affairs Environment and Climate Change Committee and other stakeholders.
This week, the committee will consider amendments on parts one to five of the bill. The government's amendments include strengthening:
• The government's Land Rights and Responsibilities Statement to make clear its purpose is to set out overarching principles on land rights and responsibilities in Scotland;
• How the bill expresses government commitments to human rights in the context of land reform;
• How the bill expresses government commitments to public engagement on the Land Rights and Responsibilities Statement;
• Governments accountability to the public by requiring a ministerial report on public consultation on the Land Rights and Responsibilities Statement; and
• How the bill expresses governments commitments to Gaelic language in the new Land Commission.
• The importance of experience in land management and community empowerment when appointing members of the Land Commission;
These amendments come in addition to the Minister's announcement last week that the SNP Government will amend the Land Reform Bill at Stage 3 to make provision for the creation of a public register of persons who have control of land in Scotland – thus substantially improving transparency of Scottish land ownership.
Dr McLeod said:
"We are strengthening an already radical Land Reform Bill – resulting in fundamental improvements in how land in Scotland is owned, used and managed. These amendments will help ensure the provisions in the bill are far reaching and best deliver for the people of Scotland. This strengthened bill will change the relationship between the people of Scotland and the land that we live, work and depend on.
"I am open to ideas and suggestions relating to Scotland's land reform journey and will continue to listen to all the evidence and will consider any further suggestions. I will also continue to work with all those with an interest to ensure that our land benefits the people of Scotland for generations to come.”