SLFlaunches a code of practice
SCOTTISH Landowners Federation officials launched a code of practice for responsible land management this week and pledged to expel any members who breached the code.
"We need to change our constitution to allow such action, but I believe it is the route we must follow," said SLF convenor Andrew Dingwall-Fordyce.
Speaking in Edinburgh, he said the code would be voluntary and there would be no formal inspections. "But that does not mean that we will not take action against a tiny minority who are not managing their estates properly."
Mr Dingwall-Fordyce renewed a promise that the SLF would be studying EU law and would be prepared to go to court to protect landowners from compulsory purchase powers contained in the governments proposals for land reform in Scotland (News, Jan 8). He suggested a test case would be needed to challenge the legality of government land purchase proposals
"It is patently unfair that the government can step in and say that a particular estate should be sold to some local community group at a price set by a government-appointed valuer," he said.
There was concern that such purchases would drive down land prices, and force bankers to call in overdrafts no longer secured by land values. "That could have a devastating effect on investment in rural areas. We cannot accept the whole concept of the open market," Mr Dingwall-Fordyce said.
The code aims to promote high standards of management and use of land. It urges landowners to accept that there are responsibilities associated with land ownership, to recognise community needs, and to have proper regard for nature and biodiversity. *