Highlands & Islands

Scottish private landowners unveil charter

Tractor and silage bales Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Scottish Land and Estates' members are involved in businesses such as farming and sporting estates

An organisation representing Scottish landowners has unveiled a set of commitments to good land ownership.

Scottish Land and Estates said its new charter included a "need for all landowners to be open, inclusive, enabling and responsible".

The body said the move sought to answer critics of private landownership.

Earlier this year, a study recommended that there should be an upper limit on the amount of land held by private landowners in Scotland.

The new charter is in addition to a long-standing code of good practice Scottish Land and Estates encourages its members to adhere to.

Members include landowners involved in running farms, forestry and sporting estates.

Best practice

Chairman David Johnstone said: "This commitment sends a clear message of what constitutes good practice in land ownership and provides a framework within which landowners can continue to deliver a range of benefits while demonstrating best practice at all times.

"There are those who take great delight in stigmatising private landownership regardless of the overwhelming evidence of the positive contribution we make.

"Time and again we are reminded that the admirable efforts of the majority of landowners are undermined by a minority who make little or no effort to engage with their communities or the people they work with and live alongside."

In May, the Scottish government-commissioned Land Reform Review Group recommended that there should be an upper limit on the amount of land held by private owners.

The group also called for a large increase in community land ownership.

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