04 September 1998
Lairds to lose their feudal powers

THE lairds, and public bodies that own vast tracts of land in Scotland, are to be served notice that they will have forsake their feudal powers in favour of ordinary people.

Donald Dewar, secretary of state for Scotland, is due to tell a meeting today (Friday, 4 September) at Aviemore that there needs to be more diversity in the way land is owned. He is to urge an end to a lairds power to block small community development initiatives.

Mr Dewar is releasing the second of two consultation papers on the Governments plans. The first, Identifying the Problems, was issued last February. The second will deal with possible solutions.

Land reform is expected to be high on the agenda when the Scottish parliament meets for the first time next year. Most of rural Scotland consists of fewer than 1500 private estates.

The Scottish Landowners Federation will resist giving tenants the right to buy and any restrictions on the size of estates or foreign ownership.

The Herald carries an in-depth feature on the issues surrounding land reform in Scotland.

  • The Independent 04/09/98 page 9
  • The Herald 04/09/98 page 15