MSPs express concern over proposed land register loopholes

The Scottish Government is being urged to reconsider its approach to make land ownership more transparent after a report found that there could be gaps or loopholes in the proposed new land register.

MSPs on the Scottish Parliament’s environment, climate change and land reform committee found that much of Scotland’s land will remain outside the proposed Register of Controlled Interests in Land and that the reliance on multiple registers could exclude information that is in the public domain.

According to the committee, if the Register is to meet the aspirations of a transparent and accessible system all of the information should be accessible in a simple and straightforward way. The committee is looking for assurance that all the information will be accessed via a single point and free to use.

The MSPs have been looking at draft regulations that will establish a Register of Persons Holding a Controlled Interest in Land. The Land Reform Act 2016 gave the Scottish Government power to legislate to create a Register and the draft regulations that the committee is considering provide the detail on how that will happen.

Convener of the environment, climate change and land reform committee, Gillian Martin MSP, said: “The committee was very clear in its conclusions. There should be transparency over who owns Scotland’s land, who takes decisions over its management and who benefits from its ownership.

“However, in looking at the proposed Register there are a number of areas of concern. We need to ensure the information on those who have control over land is transparent, easy to use and the information is available in one place.

“We are therefore calling on the Scottish Government to address these issues when they finalise the detail of their proposals.”

Read the report in full here.