More than half way to the target of 1 million acres in community ownership



The Scottish Government has set a target of 1 million acres in Community ownership by 2020. Currently we have 403 community groups in ownership of 492 land parcels totalling 562 230 acres. It’s looking like a bit of a push to make up the outstanding 437 770 acres in community ownership with only two or three years to go. I’m not sure if the target is for end-of or beginning-of 2020.

Only 94.23 acres came into community ownership in the first six months of 2017, so we need to see acceleration of the trend or one or two very big packages, if the target is to be met.

Most of the community ownership (93.7%) is in Highland and Na h‑Eileanan Siar council areas:

  • Na h-Eileanan Siar: 385,340 acres
  • Highland: 141,912 acres.

However, this is only 2.9% of Scotland’s 19,252,132 acres and just two rich individuals together have almost as much as the 403 community groups.  The Duke of Buccleugh has 240 000 acres to himself and Anders Povlsen has 170,000.


13 thoughts on “More than half way to the target of 1 million acres in community ownership

  1. Alasdair Macdonald December 12, 2017 / 12:38 pm

    The map omits the South Uist community control of a very large proportion of the island, including Eriskay and Benbecula.

    The Scottish Government has to press on with Land Reform. With SNP, Greens, Labour all in favour, to varying degrees, (and the LibDems…..? well, it probably depends on whether Wullie Rennie can get some shallow flimsy jibe.) there is a substantial majority at Holyrood and likely to be so for some time. So, there is the potential to press on, having the momentum and evidence of the previous community schemes. The Tories and the landowning groups will, of course, fight this with increasing viciousness as the action against Mr Andy Wightman MSP indicates.

    The rural buy-outs, undoubtedly have the potential to stop and even reverse rural depopulation. However, there can be pretty strong opposition in some areas from the so called ‘white settlers’, some of whom will fight tooth and nail to prevent developments which they see disturbing their rural idyll. However, it is wrong to classify all such incomers as reactionary. A large proportion of them have helped sustain communities and have been pretty creative in what they have been able to achieve, often because, in their previous lives they knew how the legal and economic system worked and could not be fobbed off.

    However, important is the rural community ownership is, we really need to begin to get into uncovering who actually owns Glasgow, Edinburgh, Aberdeen and Dundee and to start releasing the huge chunks of land that are left rutting to rig the bloated property market.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Ron Glaiser December 12, 2017 / 2:08 pm

    All the locations on the map appear to predate the current government. Is there something more up to date?


  3. johnrobertson834 December 12, 2017 / 2:29 pm

    Sorry both; couldn’t find an up-to-date graphic. Thought of it as just examples


  4. Ludo Thierry December 12, 2017 / 3:20 pm

    Hi John and Co. – quick swig of coffee and noted the landholding fig for Chookie Buccleuch – I realise the odd 40,000 acres is nought between aristo pals but the Herald reported Chookie’s landholding as 280,000 acres in 2013 : From Wicki: In 2013, The Herald reported that the Duke was Scotland’s largest private landowner, with some 280,000 acres (110,000 ha).


      • gavin December 12, 2017 / 5:05 pm

        Could be my back garden—feels like 240,000 acres when I turn it over in the spring.


  5. gavin December 12, 2017 / 5:11 pm

    A solution–taa dah!
    A Land tax. A Wealth tax. An Inheritance tax. Residency in the country(Scotland) as a prerequisite to land holding. Nothing unreasonable there, I would have thought?

    How can a rich guy who lives in Denmark accumulate so big a land holding in Scotland?
    I understood it to be difficult for a non resident to even buy a property in Denmark?

    Liked by 1 person

    • johnrobertson834 December 12, 2017 / 7:13 pm

      Yes gavin, all of those. It is a bit rich (;-)) when he wouldn’t be allowed to do it in Denmark.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. jeang1 December 12, 2017 / 6:02 pm

    What can ordinary people do ?


    • johnrobertson834 December 12, 2017 / 7:12 pm

      Join a group who want to buy land and do something with it? Not sure I know myself


  7. Ludo Thierry December 12, 2017 / 7:34 pm

    Hi John et al. This discussion paper (published this week – the first of a series) is a quick easy read – Nothing startling in it but a useful jump off point for Scottish Land Commission discussions (see below):

    The Scottish Land Commission has commissioned a series
    of independent discussion papers on key land reform issues.
    These papers are intended to stimulate public debate and
    to inform the Commission’s longer term research priorities.
    The opinions expressed in the papers are those of the author
    and do not necessarily reflect those of the Commission.
    This, the first paper in the series, is looking at how the public
    sector could intervene to improve the operation of the land
    market and increase the supply of land for new housing.

    Click to access Land-Lines-Discussion-Paper-Housing-Land-Market-Dec-2017.pdf

    Liked by 2 people

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