Scottish Government faces Committee questions in Dumfries

The future of Scotland’s land will come into focus when a Scottish Parliamentary Committee questions two Government Ministers at a public meeting at Easterbrook Hall.

Local people are invited to be part of the audience as the Scottish Parliament’s Rural Affairs, Climate Change and Environment (RACCE) Committee questions the Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs, Food and Environment, Richard Lochhead, and the Minister for Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform, Dr. Aileen McLeod, on the Land Reform (Scotland) Bill in Dumfries on Monday 2 November.

The Ministers will come under scrutiny on a wide range of land reform issues, including how the Scottish Government will produce a clear statement of land rights and responsibilities; and how a Scottish Land Commission could guide future policy.

The Committee also expects to hear more detail on wide-ranging planned changes to agricultural holdings and how new rules around leases and rent review processes will impact on working relationships between tenant farmers and landlords.

The Government’s planned changes to deer management and shooting rates, community right-to-buy for the benefit of local people, and gathering and accessing information on people and organisations who control land will also be under discussion.

Rural Affairs, Climate Change and Environment Committee Convener Rob Gibson MSP commented:

“The Committee is keen for local people to come along to Easterbrook Hall, be part of the public gallery and hear the Ministers’ evidence as we scrutinise the Scottish Government’s land reform plans. We hope to hear clear answers from the Ministers on the fundamental and important issue of how Scotland’s land should be owned and managed to benefit us all.”

Mr Gibson continued:

“We also hope as many people as possible will come to the Cairndale Hotel and take part in our Q&A session on land reform, where they can find out more from the Committee on any land reform issue that is important to them, and give us a vital opportunity to hear local views.

“It’s crucial that the valuable knowledge, experience and expertise of everyone in Scotland with a vested interest in our land’s future feed into our work where possible.”

In September the Committee scrutinised the Land Reform Bill by visiting Islay, Jura, Fife and the Scottish Borders. They heard views and opinions from a range of organisations and people, including estate owners, gamekeepers, policy makers, tenant farmers, environmental experts and community groups.

Dumfries will be the Committee’s final land reform meeting outside Holyrood before it produces a report on its scrutiny of the Scottish Government’s Land Reform Bill by the end of the year.

The Rural Affairs, Climate Change and Environment Committee (RACCE) scrutinises Scottish Government policy proposals relating to rural affairs, climate change and the environment.

Monday 2 November 2015

Public Q and A with the Committee, 14:00 – 15:30
Empire Suite, Parkhouse Conference Centre at the Cairndale Hotel

Committee Meeting, 17:00 – 21:00
Easterbrook Hall, The Crichton, Dumfries, DG1 4TA

The Rural Affairs, Climate Change and Environment Committee has been listening to opinions from people across Scotland on the Scottish Government’s plans for land reform.

The Committee is coming to Dumfries to question the Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs, Food and Environment, Richard Lochhead, and the Minister for Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform Dr. Aileen McLeod, on the Land Reform (Scotland) Bill.

The proposals, including in the Land Reform (Scotland) Bill, include:

• A Land Rights and Responsibilities Statement setting out the Government’s objectives
• Establishment of a Scottish Land Commission
• The appointment of a Tenant Farming Commissioner
• Providing further information on who controls land
• Engaging with communities on decisions relating to land
• Establishing a new community right-to-buy to further sustainable development
• The re-introduction of non-domestic rates for shootings and deer forests
• Minor changes to common good land and core paths legislation
• Interim deer management measures for potential use after a review in 2016; and
• A number of significant changes to agricultural holdings legislation (such as creating a new type of lease; improving the rent review process; changing the rules around assignation of and succession to leases; and changing the process whereby improvements by landlords and tenants are notified).

Come along and participate – it’s your chance to find out more about land ownership and management in Scotland and discuss your views with members of the RACCE Committee.

For a free ticket
Visit the website: https://www.scottish.parliament.uk/visitandlearn/28754.aspx
Call: 0131 348 5200
Email: [email protected]

Unable to attend the meeting?
• Follow live tweets of the meeting at @SP_RuralClimate
• Tweet your comments and questions using #landreformbill

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