The Scottish Tenant Farmers Association has welcomed the increasing interest in Land Reform following the BBC’s screening of “The men who own Scotland: land reform on radical journey.”  

Commenting on the programme STFA chairman Christopher Nicholson said: “We are pleased that questions on landownership and land use are rising to the fore as the debate about Scotland’s future progresses.   

“Land tenure has been cast into the long grass for too long and we look forward to some radical proposals from the Land Reform Review Group whose interim report dramatically shied away from any consideration of Scotland’s land tenure structure and tenant farming.   

“We also welcome Environment Minister Paul Wheelhouse’s commitment to a fairer distribution of land and hope that the Scottish Government will now look towards creating a fresh vision for rural Scotland and press forward with a programme of land and tenancy reform. 

“There is, however, a danger of presenting land reform as a Highland issue involving sporting estates, but there are also many large lowland estates where communities and the rural economy would benefit from a greater diversity of landownership.   

“The current concentrated pattern of landownership in Scotland is placing the interests of a tiny minority above the wider public interest.  Despite assertions of high levels of capital investment by estates, enterprise and investment in rural Scotland is being inhibited, especially in the tenanted sector.   

The difference in investment between tenanted farms and owner-occupier farms is plain to see, particularly where estates have been split up with some farms sold off to tenants and some retained.  New owners use their new found freedom to invest, diversify and prosper.  Feelings of frustration will only continue to grow in rural communities of Scotland if the government does not take a more radical approach to land reform in rural Scotland and help create a fairer society.