Scottish executive's land reform legislation challenged

A legal challenge to the Scottish executive’s land reform legislation will be launched tomorrow by a farmer who claims that the policy is devaluing his land and threatening his children’s inheritance, according to the Herald.

The appeal is against Scottish ministers’ recent decision to allow the people of Kinghorn in Fife’s community-led land association to register an interest in 19 plots of land around Kinghorn, giving them first refusal on the right to purchase the land should the owners decide to sell.

Non-crofting communities cannot force a landowner to sell due to the Scottish Land Reform Act, but after registering an interest they have six months to raise the funds to purchase the land if it becomes available.

Since the community is only interested in purchasing three fields of their land, the Hazle family claim that their farm would become effectively worthless should they try and sell it.

They also assert that under the Act landowners’ wills cannot be altered after the community has registered an interest, which may mean that their children cannot inherit.

The Scottish Land Reform Act was passed by the Scottish executive in 2003.