Category: News

Scottish Land Commission – Conference

We held our first land reform conference on Thursday 28 September 2017 at the Carnegie Conference Centre, Dunfermline.

140 attendees joined us to look at the ‘The Vision of Land Reform 2022 and beyond’ and guest speakers included:

  • Cabinet Secretary for Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform, Roseanna Cunningham
  • Laurie Macfarlane, Economics Editor at openDemocracy and co-author of the critically acclaimed book Rethinking the Economics of Land and Housing 
  • Sarah Skerratt, Professor of Rural Society & policy, Director of the Rural Policy Centre, SRUC

Workshop notes are available here.

Conference presentations: Sarah Skerratt, Laurie Macfarlane, Andrew Thin & Hamish Trench

Tenant Farming Commissioner invites landlords & tenants to take part in survey of views on agents’ conduct

Scotland’s Tenant Farming Commissioner, Bob McIntosh, is encouraging landlords and tenants to take part in a survey of views and experiences of the conduct of agents engaged to act on their behalf in matters relating to agricultural holdings.

The survey is part of the review of agents which the Tenant Farming Commissioner is tasked to complete under the Land Reform (Scotland) Act 2016.  The Tenant Farming Commissioner must complete the review and make recommendations to Ministers to improve the operation of agents of landlords and tenants by March 2018.

The Scottish Land Commission has commissioned Research Resource, a social and economic research agency based in Glasgow, to carry out telephone interviews with a representative sample of tenant farmers and landlords to find out about their views and experiences with regard to the operation of agents.

Bob McIntosh said: “In order for the researchers to deliver a robust factual report it is important that we have a representative sample of both landlords and tenant farmers.

“Participating in the survey is entirely voluntary, but I would encourage both landlords and tenants to take part so that we can get a true understanding of the current situation with regard to the operation of agents and the impact it has on relations in the sector.

“Information provided will be completely confidential.  Research Resource will only report back results of the survey from tenant farmers and landlords overall and individual responses will not be traceable.

”The information will be collected and collated in an independent, open and fair manner and the findings will be discussed with key representative bodies before I make recommendations to Scottish Ministers.”

A representative sample of tenant farmers will also be interviewed and these will be selected from the Scottish Government’s agricultural census database.

If you are a landlord, who would like to be considered to take part in the survey, please note your interest here www.researchresource.co.uk/surveyofagents.html  or contact Lorna Shaw at Research Resource on 0141 641 6410  lorna.shaw@researchresource.co.uk.  The telephone interviews will take place from the end of October and throughout November and will take approximately 15 minutes.

 

Have a look at our FAQs about the survey to find out more.

Scottish Land Commission publishes first Strategic Plan

The newly formed Scottish Land Commission has published its first three year Strategic Plan.

The Land Commission published its first Strategic Plan at its conference held today, Thursday 28 September 2017, in Dunfermline.

The Strategic Plan ‘Making More of Scotland’s Land’ sets out the priorities for the Land Commission focusing on four key areas covering both urban and rural land:

  • Land for housing and development  – We want to reduce constraints to redeveloping vacant and derelict land for housing and other productive uses, improve land supply for housing and stimulate a more active approach to developing land in the public interest.
  • Land ownership – The Land Commission will examine the impacts of scale and concentration of land ownership and tax policy, as well as reviewing the effectiveness of the Community Right to Buy mechanisms.
  • Land Use Decision-making – The Land Commission will seek to improve the quality and accountability of decision making, providing guidance where necessary.
  • Agricultural Holdings – We want to increase access to land for those who want to farm, improve the relationships between landowners and tenant farmers and stimulate the tenant farming sector.

The Scottish Land Commission, established under the Land Reform (Scotland) Act 2016, has a statutory function to review and advise on legislative and policy change, but it is the leadership role the organisation can play which is as equally important as Chair of the Scottish Land Commission, Andrew Thin, explains:

“The establishment of the Scottish Land Commission has provided the Scottish people with a mechanism to drive forward land reform and this ambitious Strategic Plan shows that we are committed to accelerating the process and tackling the most important matters.

“We want to change and shape best practice for the ownership, management and use of Scotland’s land, working with all sectors to achieve changes on the ground as well as recommending changes to legislation and policy where necessary.

“Our goal is to improve the productivity, diversity and accountability of the way we use land, making more of Scotland’s land for Scotland’s people.”

Cabinet Secretary for Land Reform Roseanna Cunningham said:

“Scotland’s land is one of our most valuable assets, and it is only right that everyone benefits from it. I am therefore delighted with the focus of the Commission’s Strategic Plan, which alongside the Land Rights and Responsibilities Statement published today, will set the pace and direction for land reform over the years to come.”

Read our Strategic Plan

Tenant Farming Commissioner issues Limited Partnerships Code of Practice

Scotland’s Tenant Farming Commissioner, Bob McIntosh, has issued a Code of Practice to be followed by landowners, tenant farmers and land agents.

The Code of Practice for Planning the Future of Limited Partnerships is the second to be published by the Commissioner under the authority of the Land Reform (Scotland) Act 2016.

The Tenant Farming Commissioner (TFC) is responsible for issuing a suite of codes to guide and shape the behaviours and processes which accompany the interactions and negotiations between landlords and tenants, including agents and intermediaries acting for either party.

Bob McIntosh said:

‘’The aim of this code of practice is to minimise uncertainty for both parties in a Limited Partnership when it is approaching its dissolution date. The code describes what steps should be taken, by both the tenant farmer and the landlord, when discussing future arrangements for the partnership.

“Limited Partnerships have served the tenant farming sector well, but following the passing of the Agricultural Holdings (Scotland) Act 2003 they now have restricted use. There are over 500 limited partnerships still in existence and many are reaching their dissolution date.  It is important that discussions take place with plenty of time for both parties involved to discuss their aspirations before a final decision is agreed to the future of the partnership.

“I have worked closely with the Scottish Tenant Farmers Association, NFU Scotland, Scottish Land & Estates and the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors in developing this code so that, wherever possible, agreed positions are reasonable and fair to both landlords and tenant farmers.

“As with all codes issued by the Tenant Farming Commissioner, if a landlord or tenant feels that the other party, or an agent of that party, has acted in a way that breaches the code of practice they are able to make a complaint to the Commissioner.“

The Code of Practice for Planning for the Future of Limited Partnerships can be found on the Land Commission’s website www.landcommission.gov.scot/tenant-farming/codes-of-practice/.

New staff join growing Scottish Land Commission

Three new members of staff have joined the newly formed Scottish Land Commission.

 

Joining the growing organisation, which was officially established on the 1 April 2017, are Sarah Allen as Head of Policy & Research – Tenant Farming, Shona Glenn as Head of Policy & Research – Land and Sara Smith as Communications & Events Assistant.

 

Chair of the Scottish Land Commission, Andrew Thin, said:

 

“The Commissioners and I would like to welcome Sarah, Shona and Sara to the team. We are delighted to see the organisation growing and adding to the wealth of skills and knowledge the Commission has.

 

“Sarah and Shona have an extremely important role, working with the new Chief Executive, Hamish Trench, to develop the Commission’s programme of research and Codes of Practice. I look forward to working with Commissioners, staff and stakeholders to implement our three year Strategic Plan.

 

“This is an exciting time for the Land Commission and adding to our complement of staff will ensure we can successfully drive forward the land reform agenda.”

 

Sarah Allen, Head of Policy & Research – Tenant Farming

Sarah Allen has worked as a self-employed rural development consultant for several years including working on projects defining vulnerable areas in relation to less favoured area support, conducting a review of Argyll agricultural forum and developing a food and drink network. Sarah is also a retained agricultural consultant for the Highland Council providing input and advice on a range of farming and crofting issues.  Sarah was a member of the Crofters Commission Board for 7 years and subsequently chaired the Scottish Government’s review of the bull hire scheme.

 

Shona Glenn, Head of Policy & Research – Land

Shona is an economist with more than 10 years research experience spanning the public and private sectors. She joins the Scottish land Commission from Biggar Economics, an independent consultancy that works across the UK and Europe.  In the role she was responsible for carrying out socio-economic impact assessments for a wide range of developments ranging from wind farms to housing.  Prior to this Shona was part of the economic development team within the City of Edinburgh Council where she was responsible for monitoring the economic performance of the city centre and a programme of culture change to encourage greater collaboration between planners and developers.

Sara Smith, Communications & Events Assistant

Sara joins the Land Commission from a project support role at the Highland Council. Sara has extensive communications and events experience working in a number of different roles at the Cairngorms National Park Authority including Assistant Communications Officer and Project Management Support Officer.

Tenant Farming Commissioner issues first Code of Practice

Scotland’s Tenant Farming Commissioner, Bob McIntosh, has issued the first Code of Practice to be followed by landowners, tenant farmers and land agents.

 

The Code of Practice for the Amnesty on Tenants’ Improvements is the first to be published by the Commissioner under the authority of the Land Reform (Scotland) Act 2016 and comes ahead of the Scottish Government’s improvements amnesty which starts tomorrow.

 

The Tenant Farming Commissioner (TFC) is responsible for issuing a suite of codes to guide and shape the behaviours and processes which accompany the interactions and negotiations between landlords and tenants, including agents and intermediaries acting for either party.

 

Bob McIntosh said:

 

“The code is intended to help landlords and tenants work together in a fair and transparent manner to agree on a definitive list of tenants improvements which may be eligible for compensation at waygo.

 

“Those who follow the principles set out in the code, and who act reasonably, do not risk being the subject of a complaint that is upheld by the TFC.  In broad terms, disagreements should be resolved by dialogue, mediation or arbitration.  Failure to reach agreement or engage in mediation will not in itself necessarily constitute a breach of the code but the TFC may decide that an obstructive or unreasonable attitude by either party may constitute a breach.”

 

Cabinet Secretary for the Rural Economy, Fergus Ewing, said:

 

“A vibrant, robust tenant farming sector is a key component of a strong, sustainable rural economy, now and in the future. I welcome the publication of this Code of Practice, which has been developed through the Tenant Farming Commissioner working closely with stakeholder organisations, I hope that it will prove useful to both tenants and landlords.”

 

The Code of Practice for the Amnesty on Tenants’ Improvements can be found here.