25 February 1999
Laird embraces land reform plans

THE owner of a Scottish estate appears to be keen on the governments plans for land reform, judging by his comments at an Edinburgh conference.

Michael Clarke, the chief executive of Buccleuch Estates, said land reform should hold no fears for forward-looking landowners provided it was well thought out.

Land reform was an opportunity for his company to gain recognition for its work in sustaining the rural economy, he added.

Mr Clarke was opposed to the suggestion that tenants should be given the right to grow timber on their farms.

At the same conference, Fergus Ewing, the Scottish National Partys rural affairs spokesperson, reiterated his partys proposal to abolish rates relief on sporting estates.

Mr Ewing also spoke in support of Locality Land Councils which will give local people a say in issues such as access, diversification and planning.