(98)  Land reform: access and the community right to buy

On 22 February 2001, Deputy First Minister Jim Wallace and Environment Minister Sam Galbraith published for public consultation a draft Land Reform Bill. The Bill contains: (1) a new right of access to land, including water, for recreation and passage, subject to compliance with the Scottish Outdoor Access Code; (2) provisions for the establishment of local access forums to manage access locally; (3) limitations on the right of access on grounds of health and safety, security, privacy and land management; (4) a community right to buy land, under which properly constituted and representative community bodies will be able to register an interest in land with which they can demonstrate a connection, so that if the landowner decides to sell or transfer, the community body will get a chance to buy the land, provided that it has majority community support for the purchase and plans for the land that are compatible with its sustainable development, to demonstrate that purchase would be in the public interest and pay a fair price.  There will also be (5) a crofting community right to buy, under which crofting communities can buy the land at any time, not just when it comes up for sale.  A source of support for communities wishing to buy and develop land will come from the Scottish Land Fund, established by the New Opportunities Fund on 26 February 2001. The text of the Bill (available at http://www.scotland.gov.uk/consultations/landreform/lrdb-11.asp) is noteworthy for its clear and straightforward drafting style.