19 June 1998
Scottish land ownership
debate gathers pace

FARMER Andrew Dingwall-Fordyce, chairman of the Scottish Landowners Federation, is preparing a voluntary code of practice by landowners that he hopes will obviate the need for new landownership legislation.

The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors, in Scotland, is also participating in the exercise.

There is increasing dissatisfaction in Scotland with the system of land ownership that enables large estates to change hands without reference to the wishes of tenants and residents who live on them.

Lord Sewel, Scottish environment minister, is chairing a policy group working towards early action on land reform by the forthcoming Edinburgh parliament.

About 600 owners account for half of Scotlands land area, much of it owned by the English and wealthy foreigners. This has long stirred emotions north of the border.

Scotlands leading private landowner, the Duke of Buccleuch, asked by The Scotsman if there was a demand among his tenant farmers for a right to buy their agricultural holdings, said in many cases people had given up being owner-occupiers to become tenants on his land.

He said they realised that by investing their available funds in the working equipment of the farm such as implements and livestock they could expect a 10-15% return. A similar investment in the farms fixed equipment would yield only 1% or 2% and a much lower standard of living, he said.

  • Financial Times 19/06/98 page 9
  • The Scotsman 19/06/98 page 9